Interview with "Never Winter" Dir, Moe Charif

Posted on at

Though the 2011 ÉCU Independent Film Festival is over TNC has been lucky to continue to be able to bring you some pretty amazing interviews with some of this years participants. Moe Charif, director of Never Winter based on a true story, took the time out to talk with us about his film, and what he has planned for the future.

Never Winter WON Best Actress for Chiara Thielmann

You can check out their projects at

How did you get into filmmaking has this always been a passion?

I wouldn’t say filmmaking has always been my passion, but ever since I shot my first short film, about 7 years ago, I knew that I had found my true calling. It started when I took my first photography class at school. I really enjoyed capturing beautiful images, a moment in time that told a story. It helps that I’ve always been a visual person. I used to draw off comic books since I was a kid and that translated well to photography mainly because I understood composition and framing.

Once I was introduced to story telling through film, I was hooked. As much as I loved photography, film was the next step in story telling. It’s called “motion pictures” because film really is a sequence of 24 photographs that play every second. The concept fascinated me. I directed my first short film “Hunted” in 2005 and I’ve been telling stories ever since. I love what I do and I can’t imagine my life without it.

Tell us about your films, what is your approach, how do you come up with your projects?

Tough question. I’m not sure I know the answer. Lol. I wouldn’t say there’s a process. It’s really the craziest thing because the harder you try to come up with concepts the less interesting they are or you end up with nothing at all. I know it might work differently for other filmmakers, but I try to let ideas come to me. I’m a very observant person by nature and I do a great deal of traveling, so I’m constantly being exposed to new situations, characters, ideas, cultures that spark the process in my head. Sometimes it’s something you see that stands out, or a story that someone tells you or might be something that you’ve been exposed to your whole life you just never noticed it because to you it’s a normal thing.

The films I work on are normally stories that have a message. I’d like to think that I can make a difference, while entertaining the audience, even if it’s on a very basic level. I like movies that keeps my attention and allow me to explore other realities. So I try to pay attention to that in my scripts. You want to make a film that means something, but you also want people to be entertained watching them. At the end of the day most of us see films cause we want to escape the world we live in or want to explore other realities.

Your film is part of the ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, are you excited about this?

Yes, very much so! I LOVE that it will screen in Paris. One of my favorite cities. I’m bummed that my schedule did not allow me to attend but I have many friends that will hopefully make it.

What have been your the challengers you have faced?

I like that you use the word challenge here. There are many day to day challenges on film sets. Too many to mention but at the end of every day there are always solutions. It’s part of what we do as filmmakers. I guess the biggest challenge I face on a personal level is learning to disconnect from production and take some time for my self and people that care for me. It’s difficult because film is my passion but there are things equally as important and I need to learn to dedicate time to that as well. I’m not there yet but I’m working on it.

What was it about the story that attracted you to it, was tackling a true story difficult?

When I first met Chloe, she started to tell me her story. I was fascinated and shocked at the same time. Fascinated that a person can go through so much abuse and still have a smile on their face and be such a wonderful person. Shocked because I could not have imagined the awful things her mother put her through.

I wouldn’t say telling the story was difficult. The actors did such a wonderful job with their roles. Chiara Thielman, (actress that played Chloe) made it so much easier for everyone else. There were some moments during the production where our crew, not me of course haha, shed some tears. The challenging part had more to do with how we wanted to tell the story and whether or not it was going to do any justice to Chloe’s real life experience.

Things are going so well for you, you feeling the pressure?

Yes. It’s difficult at times because I put more pressure on myself than anyone else. There are no complaints here. I’m very thankful for everything that has led me to this point and all the wonderful people that have helped me get here. Without them, non of this would’ve been possible.

What do you want people to take away from your film?

I’d like people to look at their lives and be thankful for what they have. Many people are becoming more and more self centered and a bit selfish. We always want more and we’re never happy with what we have. Never Winter is not an easy movie to watch but life is not easy. There are people out there that have no where to go to escape their harsh reality. I believe that there is always a way as long as you have the strength and the right state of mind.

What advice would you give other filmmakers?

Keep at it. Don’t give up. Most people give up right before they make it. That last push is the most difficult but if you get through it amazing things could happen.

Finally, what are you working on now?

Aside from doing commercial work at my company dcode films we are developing three scripts in addition to a TV pilot “Empire”, and a feature film “Exile”.

About the author


The European Independent Film Festival discovers, promotes and projects only the BEST independent films from around the world every year in Paris, France.

The selected titles represent the pinnacle of contemporary filmmaking talent from around the world and compete for the title of "Europe's Best Independent Film".

Subscribe 0