We took rejections as a badge of honor as we were rejected for many years with the script: Patricia Chica
#PatriciaChica; #MontrealGirls; #RobertDAlessio; #RobsInnerCircle; #JennyDuHaime; #KamalJohnIskander, #HakimBrahimi
Toronto/Canadian-Media: Patricia Chica, a Canadian film and television director, producer, writer, speaker, acting coach, and energy influencer, during her conversation, with Robert D’Alessio in Episode 20 of Rob’s Inner Circle Podcast, hosted by Robert -- produced by Jenny DuHaime, Robert D’Alessio Productions, and Pax Management in Bobby’s Short Shorts (YouTube/StreamYard/Facebook) -- describes the struggles she faced in her script and the casting during the production of her recent theatrical feature film, ‘Montreal Girls’ which would be out in 2021 after 9 years of development.
Patricia Chica in conversation with Robert D’Alessio: Screenshot
Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian-Media brings you the excerpts:
Robert to Patricia: Tell us about your upcoming movie, ‘Montreal Girls’.
Patricia: ‘Montreal Girls’ is the theatrical feature film dramatic coming of age story to be out in 2021 after 9 years of development. It has been a long journey for me and my writing co-partner Kamal John Iskander and the producers of ‘Objectif 9’. We have been around the block many many times and they say take rejections as a badge of honor because we were rejected for many years with the script. I always believed this story needed to be told and it is never a match until you get it right with the right partners. That is what I have learned in this process. 'Montreal Girls’ is a labor of love and has my full stamp on it. The film is coming out next year, and post-production has already started.
Patricia with the Cast and Crew of Montreal Girls on the set. Image credit: © Bernard Brault.
To Patricia: Tell us a little bit Patricia about the lead actor, there is something peculiar about him. He had no experience but he did something extremely courageous. Please share that with your audience.
For many years we had one of the top rising stars of Egypt, Ahmed Malek but once we were able to fund the film with all the regulations in Canada, we lost our Egyptian star. So within a week, we had to replace him with somebody local because my film production was at stake. We went on a wide search casting call including North America and the Middle East for a young middle eastern actor in his early 20s to play the lead. At last, when I found a young person Hakim Brahimi, who was actually not an actor, but an employee of CIBC bank, also studying at Concordia University to become an engineer.
I wrote to him that he should send a self-tape within 24 to 48 hours, and when he sent a tape, it was obvious that he was not a trained actor. The next day I called him in the audition room and asked for his commitment to work full time with me as he had to do the lead role. He not only committed but also quit his job before I announced the role. With his willingness to learn and be guided to educate himself at different levels, I found that Hakim had a very high teachability index.
Hakim Brahimi with Patricia Chica. Image credit: Sophia Benalouane
We worked together for a full year to get him ready for the role of Ramy in ‘Montreal Girls’ and he did all the coaching of chi energy possible to become that character. The profound performance he gave was so intuitive and so right for the role. “I was myself impressed to the point of being teary sometimes behind the monitor when I could observe all the journey he went through to become that character.”
Hakim being coached by Patricia on Chi Energy. Image credit: Sophia Benalouane
To Patricia: You said you have some actors cast from all over Canada. There you have quite a bit cast on Montreal Girls.
We have a large cast with over 20 actors, a lot of secondary roles extras, etc. For me, casting has to be right, to be the right energy, authentic, and the commitment of the actors. I spent 4 and a half years on my own looking for those actors. And then worked with the wonderful team at Bruno Rosato Casting who helped us complete the callbacks and things like that. But it was a long journey for me, a heartbreaking journey to discover so many talents, discover myself, as well as my characters throughout the process. I did not want to cast people from different cultures playing Arabs and middle eastern people etc. I wanted the Quebecois to be full of Quebecois with the accent and those who were Anglos to be Anglos from Montreal, Middle Easterns to be Middle Eastern Arab characters and this is what makes a movie real and authentic.
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