Scene 2 Seen Podcast: Director-Producer Dina Amer Discusses Journalism, Helming Her Debut Feature ‘You Resemble Me’, And Telling Human Stories

Hello and welcome back to the Scene 2 Seen Podcast, I am your host Valerie Complex. On today’s episode we’re chatting with director-producer Dina Amer.

Amer is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. She helped produce the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary The Square, in which the Egyptian Revolution was chronicled from the front lines. Growing up between the U.S. and Egypt, her work has focused on sharing nuanced, human stories with a global audience. 

From documentary, she’s moved over to features and has debuted her first film, You Resemble Me, which tells the true story of Hasna Ait Boulahcen, a woman falsely accused of being Europe’s first female suicide bomber. 

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At the time, police had confirmed the 26-year-old Boulahcen was the woman who died when she blew herself up during a police raid on an apartment in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis in the aftermath of the 2015 terror attacks in the city. The operation targeted the suspected ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

You Resemble Me‘s script was written after recording more than 300 hours of interviews with Boulahcen’s real family and inner circle and chronicles the effects of cultural and intergenerational trauma. The film follows two sisters on the outskirts of Paris. After the siblings are torn apart, the eldest, Hasna, struggles to find her identity, leading to a choice that shocks the world. Amer takes on one of the darkest issues of our time and deconstructs it in an intimate story about family, love, sisterhood, and belonging.

The film was nominated for the Giornate degli Autori Award at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, won the audience award at the 2021 Red Sea Film Festival, and was named best Middle Eastern/Israeli Film last year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

In addition to being a producer and director, Amer was an on-air correspondent for Vice, including on The Black Market, where she uncovered the human trafficking of Syrian refugees and explored the underground economy of illegal Egypt-Gaza tunnels. Her work has also been published in the New York Times and on CNN and the Huffington Post. 

On today’s episode, she talks about her relationship to Hasna’s family, her time as a journalist, and what it was like to produce a documentary about one of the most impactful revolutions of our time.

If you like what you hear, be sure to review, like, and subscribe to the Scene 2 Seen podcast on Apple and Spotify.

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