Farah Nabulsi (‘The Present’) reveals what she cut from her Oscar-nominated short [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“I feel like I’ve been welcomed,” smiles Farah Nabulsi in her exclusive interview with Gold Derby, two days after winning a BAFTA Award for “The Present” (watch the video above). “I’m absolutely thrilled,” continues the producer and screenwriter about the recognition that her directorial debut has received. This includes a nomination for Best Live Action Short at the 2021 Oscars, which Nabulsi will be attending in person, having recently landed in Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Primarily in Arabic, the Palestinian film follows a man on his wedding anniversary in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. “The idea being everything that happens to him in this film, in this day, other than the checkpoint, could happen to anyone,” explains Nabulsi, who fashioned a plot that she describes as “so simple” in order to make it “as relatable” as possible. She continues, “The landscape is what’s absurd. The landscape is what adds drama to the story. The story itself — there’s no drama: Man goes, buys gift, comes back.”

“It evolves,” says Nabulsi about how the film was revised from pre-production through post-production. She notes that the outcome and tone of the original ending that she devised starkly contrasts the ultimate one, as well as that she left a comedic interlude in the middle of the film on the cutting-room floor. “It was very cute, but it was out of genre,” explains Nabulsi.

She continues, “I’ll let you into a secret we had. The first opening scene — before you see him on the cardboard — was actually he’s in (what you’ll discover is) a dream, so at first, he’s in the most beautiful olive field with olive trees and it’s a beautiful day and he’s happy and he’s touching nature and then he wakes up and then we’re there and it was beautiful, but did I need it? Did it really add to the film? All it did was add length and I guess in many ways part of the beauty of the film and that people are enjoying is it’s only 24 minutes and yet, it flies by and it’s compact, but the first cut was 33 minutes.”

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

More News from GoldDerby