6 Questions to… Fatima Kaci


Fatima Kaci is a French screenwriter and director who graduated in Directing from La Fémis. She wrote and directed the short documentary “The Cemetery” in 2021 and the short film “Spare Parts” in 2022. Her new short film, “The Voice of Others,” screened in the Cinef Competition at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where she received L’Oréal’s Lights on Women Award. She is currently working on her first feature film.

At this year’s Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Tara Karajica talked to Fatima Kaci about her short film “The Voice of Others” as well as her views on the short form today and the current situation of women in film.




How did you get into filmmaking and what inspires you?

Fatima Kaci: I started by studying Cinema at University, but in a rather theoretical manner. I also did a Master’s in the Promotion of Cinematic and Audiovisual Heritage. Then, I acquired a certain amount of experience on the set of a documentary feature as an AD and this made me want to retake La Fémis’ entrance exam. So, I go in this particular film school for the Bachelor’s degree in Directing that lasts for four years. For me, the idea was to experiment, search and better understand my universe. What inspires me is what moves me, what surrounds me, what makes me question things… I think that the recurring questions in my work currently revolve around finding one’s place in the French society when we come from a story of exile. And, for this particular film, The Voice of Others, that I am presenting in Clermont-Ferrand, it’s about the challenges of translation and the relation to the institutions that interests me.

Can you talk about your short film, The Voice of Others?

F.K.: I had heard people talking around me about the process of narration because a person close to me had to prepare it for an interview, their own story and I thought there was a film idea there – what do we have to tell in order to be recognized ? How do we make our own story fit into a box ? And then, I have a very documentarian approach in my work, so I won’t write a script right away; I will first conduct an extensive research from which I will then construct my narrative. The principal material is reality. So, I went to court hearings at the National Court of Asylum to understand the challenges of the process of narration, and the character of the interpreter appeared as the richest one in order to express what I wanted to say.

How do you see the short form today?

F.K.: In the short form, I think there is little bit of formatting. Sometimes, I find the same things over and over again. In Clermont-Ferrand and many other festivals, there is diversity, but I know that at a certain moment, I thought : «But we are doing a lot of the same things in short film, mainly films on adolescence, summer, the first time…» There are things like that that come up a lot and, in fact, I think that the short form can either be the place of complete formatting – really even in terms of narrative – or, on the contrary, of experimenting. It depends…

What is your opinion on women in film today? Can you talk about receiving L’Oréal’s Lights on Women Award?

F.K.: The award is indeed given by L’Oréal. Kate Winslet chooses every year a film in Competition or in the Cinef. Here, it’s a clear strategy, a political commitment, that is – how to invest in the film industry in order to support the emergence of certain female filmmakers. At the same time, I think I am not just a woman when I make films. But I am also conscious of the fact that the system is set up in a way that makes it more difficult for women to express themselves from their own point of view. The award obviously helps, because winning an award is always having access to a certain visibility. But in terms of changes, yes, I think there have been certain changes, meaning certain things that we can talk about now that we couldn’t talk about in the past. There are now regulations that make it more difficult to do anything, or say anything without having to justify ourselves. Then, I can’t speak about feminism without speaking about racism, classism. So, in fact, the problem of diversity is not only one where gender is concerned. I find that today, in France, in any case, we can count on one hand the people who come from popular classes, women who make films… So, I think that it’s always good to think about intersectionality.

Who is your favorite female filmmaker and what is your favorite film by a female filmmaker?

F.K.: In France, in terms of the films I make or the questions I ask myself, a in relation to my own story, my own trajectory, I’d say that Alice Diop is a very important filmmaker for me. There is something in her entire filmography, these films that have really accompanied me in my own personal questionings… Then, it’s a really vast subject, there are many other filmmakers that interest me.

What are your next projects?

F.K.: It’s a feature film project that I am currently writing, where I delve deeper into this meditation on the pain of exile.



Photo credits: Courtesy of Fatima Kaci.

This interview was conducted at the 2024 Clermont-Ferrand 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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