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The b-side of a record often contains hidden treasures and secrets. When Leila, actress, singer, and director, decides to make her first feature, Berlin Telegram, a lot happens between the lines. She says she is auditioning for the film, while in fact she is its director and main protagonist. With a suitcase full of music, she travels between Berlin and Paris and meets musicians and actors on the way. Her story is told as a mysterious hybrid somewhere between autobiography and fiction – poetry, perhaps. Leila decides to steal her own images, to secretly pocket her b-sides to edit a new, even more ambiguous film. How often are you allowed to tell a story? How often can you reassemble your footage? There is no answer to that question. Instead, there is a new film. (Toby Ashraf)
Leila Albayaty is French of Iraqi origin. She is based between Belgium, Germany, Egypt, and France. Her first short film, VU, received a special mention at the Berlinale 2009. As well as directing the film, she played the starring role and composed the soundtrack. Building on the experience of this first directing adventure, she went on to make her first feature: Berlin Telegram is distributed in Germany by arsenal distribution.
Production: Annabella Nezri, Michel Balagué, Leila Albayaty
Director of photography: Michel Balagué
Editor: Violeta Tseli, Leila Albayaty
Sound mixing: Mikael Barre
Music: Leila Albayaty, Cristoforo Spoto, Ivan Imperiali, Alain Rylant, Jef Mercelis.
Running time: 39 min
Languages: English, French