Rolla Tahir is a filmmaker and director of photography based in Toronto. She’s lensed short, narrative and experimental films, which screened across Canada and internationally. Obsessed with the durability, longevity and spontaneity of the analog film medium, Rolla has worked with Super 8, 16mm and 35mm to explore the analog process and its possibilities. Subconsciously but perhaps not surprisingly, Rolla’s films take from her experiences to explore themes of transience and belonging.
Where were you born, where did you grow up, where do you live now?
Born in Kuwait, spent a few years in Sudan at a very young age, most of my formative years in Egypt. Been in Canada since 2006.
First film you made, and where and when?
Sira, Toronto/Egypt, 2018.
Latest film you made, and where and when?
Déraciné, Toronto, 2019.
Describe your current living space.
Second floor walk up apartment in Little Portugal, which given the state of real estate in Toronto is a haven. Sadly, we don’t have access to the backyard, we just longingly stare at it from our kitchen window.
What Canadian would you challenge to make an isolation movie?
In the history of cinema whose isolation move would you want to see?
Wong Kar Wai.
Worst thing about being in isolation?
Desperately feeling the void due to lack of gatherings with friends & family. I am extremely unproductive at home. I used to wake up and step outside whether or not I had errands to run or people to see. So the inability to do this has been taking a toll.
Best thing about being in isolation?
No pressure to keep up with the demands of everyday life.
Favourite book to read in isolation?
Arab Folktales by Inea Bushnaq.
Favourite music to listen to in isolation?
I haven’t been listening to music since the lockdown… music to me is a celebratory thing and there’s not much to celebrate. This sounds more grim than I intend it to be. I’ve been listening to a ton of podcasts, some hosts weirdly feel like friends.
Favourite movies to watch in isolation?
Old home videos and videos of my daughter I took the previous day.
Favourite meal in isolation?
What’s the last best thing you cooked?