The curtain is closing on Edinburgh’s Short Film Festival (ESFF) for another year, and it will be ending on a high note this weekend.

Alia Ghafar, who recently graduated from the Film and TV – BA (Hons) programme, will be showing her graduation film ‘Salt and Sauce’ at Summerhall. Alia’s film – which has also been nominated for this year’s Rising Star Award at the festival – had its premiere at BFI London Film Festival in October. Web intern Rachel Lee spoke with Alia about her success.

Of all the great films at this year’s festival, Alia Ghafar’s short film Salt and Sauce will probably be the most relatable. It follows teenager Tammy, who has been thrown from the safety net of high school into the confusing real world. As she struggles with the monotony of serving deep fried everything at the chip shop, Tammy asks herself what she is doing with her life. And who hasn’t asked themselves that?

Talented film-maker Alia is one of just four nominees for the 2017 Rising Star Award, which will be announced after the final film on Saturday 11th November.

Can you tell us about the process of creating Salt & Sauce?

Salt & Sauce was my graduation film at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), so I was able to dedicate a full year to making this film. Developing the script took a long time, as my ideas went on many different tangents! Through a lot of redrafting and input from my amazing collaborators, we ended up in a good place to shoot. As always happens with filmmaking, there were some hiccups along the way, but I think we ended up with a film that seems to resonate with people and that we can be proud of.

Salt & Sauce trailer

"With Salt & Sauce, I wanted to explore that feeling of not knowing what’s next in your life and how it can be tough. This film shows it’s so normal to feel that way."

Alia Ghafar, Film and TV – BA (Hons) graduate

We’ve all had a moment of panic about what we are going to do with our lives as young adults. Was there a particular moment for you that influenced the concept of Salt & Sauce?

The inspiration behind Salt & Sauce was thinking about the pressures put upon young people to have a life plan. At the end of high school and university, myself and my peers were all setting ourselves such high expectations to have our next steps figured out. With Salt & Sauce, I wanted to explore that feeling of not knowing what’s next in your life and how it can be tough. This film shows it’s so normal to feel that way and it’s ok - we’re young!

Alia Ghafar, "Salt & Sauce" Director
Image used with permission
Alia Ghafar, "Salt & Sauce" Director
Still from Salt & Sauce
Image used with permission
Still from Salt & Sauce

How do feel about the Short Film Festival and the creative scene in Edinburgh?

Having spent the last four years living and making films in Edinburgh, I think the creative scene is really exciting. I have friends who are involved across the arts and barely a week goes by without some interesting events happening in the city. ESFF is a fantastic platform for emerging filmmakers and I’m so glad to be part of it. It feels like a very welcoming festival and is the perfect place to screen Salt & Sauce, which is a bit of an homage to Edinburgh chippies!

How did you feel about your time at ECA?

I made many mistakes, but I learned from every experience. Collaborating on other student films was invaluable and when the time came to direct Salt & Sauce, I was so lucky to work with my talented friends on the Film & TV programme.

‘Salt and Sauce’ will be shown on Friday 10th November at Summerhall.


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