6 Questions to… Sara Ganem


After studying Cinema and Theatre, Sara Ganem couldnt find work. So, she set off with her camera on a series of unsuccessful self-produced road movies. After ten years of wandering and just as many images, she managed to complete her first short film, “Petit Spartacus.”

Tara Karajica sat down with Sara Ganem at this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival to discuss this very short film that screened in the National Competition program at the festival, as well as her views on the short form and women in film today.



How did you get into filmmaking and what inspires you?

Sara Ganem: I studied Filmmaking at University. But it wasn’t super practical; we wouldn’t have so many films to make, but I still made a little documentary at the end of my studies. And then, I did an internship in a production company, and I didn’t like that at all, so I went to acting school. And then, I just had a camera and started to shoot myself because I was confused and lost as to how to make films. Comedy inspires me.  Also, people, true problems of life, nonsense, realism…

Can you talk about your short film, Petit Spartacus?

S.G.: When I met my bicycle, I already had my camera. I was already shooting some stuff, and meeting my bicycle just inspired me to make a story about a speaking bicycle. I think it’s about loneliness. And then, the story is that I shot the whole trip; whatever I was doing, what other people were doing, wherever I was traveling, and when I came back home, it made no sense at all. I tried to write dialogues for my bicycle and it wouldn’t work. So, every year, for almost eight years, I went back on the road. Again, with different ways to go about it. So, I took the train, I did the bicycle trip again, I was with my friend who does the voiceover of the bicycle, I trekked…. I was stuck every year in the loop of my project. And, it was a way also to never land in my own life because I couldn’t face my life. It was a diversion.

How do you see the short form today?  

S.G.: Features are always seen through a glamour, festival and movie theater prism, but it’s super, super difficult to make a feature and it takes a lot of time. So, you start to lose faith and you forget a little bit. I didn’t make any feature film. I’m not into features. I could make one with some experience. That’s how I made my short film. It’s not like I was super productive. So, features are not my purpose. Short films are. And, the short form is very healthy today.

What is your opinion on women in film today? 

S.G.: It’s getting better. But it was hard for me to get funding. I think because I’m a woman; because we shyer and it’s subconscious. Guys always more confident. But it’s easier now because everyone is speaking about it. I think we will rise more. I realize today that it took me ten years to finish my film because I am a woman and I think it’s also a question of social class – to not feel allowed to create. So, it’s a complex mix. There are also a lot of aggressions in the film industry, just like in every work place. Let’s say it’s changing and let’s hope for the best.    

Do you have a favorite female filmmaker and what is your favorite film by a female filmmaker? 

S.G.: Justine Triet. She’s completely amazing and fantastic and she’s not afraid to change. I also love her shorts. It inspires me as an artist to be bold enough to change styles and in a completely different way. I reallya also love Sofia Coppola’s style of directing.

What are your next projects?  

S.G.: I have a couple of short film projects.



Photo credits: Courtesy of the Clermont International Short Film Festival.

This interview was conducted at the 2024 Clermont International Short Film Festival.

Tara Karajica

Tara Karajica is a Belgrade-based film critic and journalist. Her writings have appeared in "Indiewire," "Screen International," "Variety," "Little White Lies" and "Film New Europe," among many other media outlets, including the European Film Academy’s online magazine, "Close-up" and Eurimages. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists as well as the recipient of the 2014 Best Critic Award at the Altcine Action! Film Festival. In September 2016, she founded "Yellow Bread," a magazine dedicated entirely to short films, ranked among the 25 Top Short Film Blogs and Websites on the Planet in 2017. In February 2018, she launched "Fade to Her," a magazine about successful women working in Film and TV and in 2019, she was a member of the Jury of the European Shooting Stars (European Film Promotion). She is currently a programmer for live action shorts at PÖFF Shorts, Head of the Short Film Program and Live Action Shorts programmer at SEEFest and Narrative Features Programmer at the Durban International Film Festival. Tara is a regular at film festivals as a film critic, moderator and/or jury member.

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