Q&A with Elham Ehsas, director of Yellow - Clermont-Ferrand 2024
Monday 22 January 2024, by
In Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a woman walks into a chadari store in Kabul to buy her first full-body veil and face an uncertain future.
OSCAR-shortlisted and BAFTA-longlisted film "Yellow" is a beautiful, sensitive and intimate glimpse into one Afghan woman’s experience of navigating rules that have such wide-ranging repercussions for her bodily autonomy. Elham Ehsas, an actor born in Kabul but living in London since the age of 10, has a real eye for aesthetics, and demonstrates an impressive attention to detail in his choices of materials, colours and music. The film will be showing at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival 2024.
Where did you get the idea for the story?
I was watching the actual press conference that is featured in the film when it made me realise that there are women who have never worn one before who now have to go out and buy a Chadari - and bingo! that was the seed.
Where did you shoot the film?
It was shot between Afghanistan and London.
What would you say were the biggest hurdles?
Chiefly it was casting an Afghan woman in the role of Laili as, even in London, there is a cultural blacklisting of women being in the arts, so it’s always difficult for me to get Afghan women in my films.
What’s your own background as a filmmaker?
I am an actor and started making films in 2018, which is when I fell in love with the craft and wanted to be able to represent my culture and stories on the big screen that don’t revolve around the stereotypical narratives.
What are your hopes for the Clermont FF?
I hope that the film gets seen by as many people as possible and the message is spread far and wide. I am also looking forward to seeing great films in the festival, and making new friends.
What are your top shorts recommendations from recent years?
My favourite shorts from last year have been A Dead Marriage by Michal Toczek, Big Bang by Carlos Segunda, Olla by Ariane Labed, Our Males And Females by Ahmad Alyaseer, and Falling Up by Maryam Bakhtiari.
If you can’t watch the short at the festival or at one of its next cinema screenings (London in Spring, more info coming up), you can watch it here.