I showed Belmaya a half-hour taster of the film today. I wanted to make sure she was happy with the way her life and family were portrayed. There were scenes that made her laugh and scenes that made her cry. At one point she had to leave the room because of memories the film stirred up. But she said it was good, keep everything in, it was true to her life at that time – she just didn’t want to be reminded of painful feelings she’d left behind.
Most heartening of all, she said that both she and her husband have changed a lot since she started the filmmaking training in 2014, and their relationship is much better. I asked why she thought that was. She said that in filmmaking, she’s learnt that you have to be constantly aware of what’s happening all around you and not just focus on one point of view. So she started looking at her husband’s point of view instead of just her own, and exploring ways she could alter her behaviour to improve their relationship. She stopped doing things he didn’t like, which made him happier, and he likewise made changes that made her happier. I was struck by her maturity at just 24 years old, and her ability to learn from past mistakes and move forward.
The filmmaking training was never meant to be just a technical training leading to a job. Just like any further education, it was intended to have many benefits, including broadening the mind, building confidence and changing perspectives. I wasn’t sure to what extent it had succeeded until this trip. But I am now convinced that Belmaya is a stronger, more confident and happier individual than when we first re-met in 2014, and eager to learn and work hard to succeed.