2006 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards - Interview - Kamal Hamzah

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Kamal Hamzah
Sixth Place Winner
Kamal Hamzah
of Victoria,
Australia
Screenplay
KIN
Horror
Biography:

Kamal Hamzah is an unproduced screenwriting talent out of Melbourne, Australia. He graduated from RMIT University in Melbourne in 2002 in which he majored in Journalism and minored in Film and Television Production. To date, his writing/directing credits include two short films, "Child" (2002), "Deliverance" (2002), a corporate video, "Mission Possible" (2003) and two feature length screenplays, The Human Condition (2004) and Kin (2006). The Human Condition was short listed by the following Federal and State funding agencies and competitions in Australia in 2004/2005:

  • Australian Film Commission: Strand E: New Screenwriters Program, Final 12, May 2004.
  • Film Victoria: New Screenwriters Program, Final Round, October 2004.
  • ProjectGreenlightAustralia 2005: Top 100 Finalist - "KarmaComa"

Currently, he works as an Insurance Consultant for Australian Unity Pty Ltd in which he deals with day-to-day insurance inquiries and claims. Prior to his current position, he worked with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Media Division as a Second Assistant Director working on its corporate video shoot, in which he was involved in client research, script editing and breakdown and budget development. He was also employed by RMIT University as a Project Manager within its School of Applied Communication during the 2002 Melbourne Arts Festival, managing and editing live to air reports of several performances.

Interview

I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........

after watching Requiem For A Dream by Darren Aronofsky during my freshman year at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The impact of that film, and more importantly, Aronofsky's interpretation of Hubert Selby Jr's book by the same name, taught me the relevance and importance of sight and sound and how it translates in screenwriting.


I know I've succeeded........ 

in the virtue of perseverance, which is the greatest ally any upcoming writer like myself can have. It teaches you to be humble and to accept every success and pitfall. And move on.
 

My inspiration to write KIN.......

was to fulfill a personal desire to pen a first class horror/thriller in the vein of Seven and Silence of The Lambs. To be precise, Kin was written more of a tribute to those two films.

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Kamal Hamzah: I've always had this itch for writing that could never be appeased no matter how hard I scratched it. I guess you could say my inspiration is in the act of writing itself, the potential of blending creativity with determination to produce something magical that I can call all mine.

FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?

Kamal Hamzah: Research. More research. And then some more. And when I finally had a good storyline going in my head, I just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote…..

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Kamal Hamzah: This is my second script and it took me about four months to finish, from research and conceptualization to first draft.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Kamal Hamzah:
No. I just write when the bug hits, sometimes even skipping a main meal if I have to.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Kamal Hamzah: Yes, because it provides an avenue for exposure as well as a good gauge of one's writing abilities in a competitive environment. It helps one learn about the importance of not being afraid of letting others see the creativity that's in your head put to good use through the power of words. And, hopefully it brings joy to the person reading it.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards?

Kamal Hamzah: I got wind of FilmMakers through a couple of friends who highly recommended the website. I followed up on it and liked its approach, in that it supported emerging screenwriters, they even let them post their loglines on the website for free. I think that says a lot. So, when I found out about the competition, I decided to place Kin in it.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Kamal Hamzah: Darren Aronofsky and Hubert Selby Jr's Requiem for a Dream for the very same reason I've mentioned earlier under what inspired me to write screenplays.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Kamal Hamzah: Music. Because I can't go without it in my day-to-day life as well as when I write. There's nothing like discovering a new up and coming artist or putting on an oldie but goodie and getting inspired by their creativity.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Kamal Hamzah: I have no particular favorite; there were many that have influenced my writing through the years. But in more contemporary times, it is Paul Haggis and Quentin Tarantino. And, Sylvester Stallone for consistency.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Kamal Hamzah:
Quentin Tarantino, because he's progressive and to be honest, the guy looks like he's on full on party mode both on and off the set!

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Kamal Hamzah: Sidney Poitier. Just to watch him act.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Kamal Hamzah: If there's one thing I could pass on to others is that you've got to make each step you make count. Don't mull over something more than you need to because you run the risk of missing the opportunities that might pass by.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Kamal Hamzah: Hopefully, getting started on my third screenplay. My Magnum Opus.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Kamal Hamzah: Accepting the award for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards and delivering a speech thanking all the people and events like this particular one at FilmMakers.com that have helped play a part in shaping my writing career.

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