More than three months have passed since I had the pleasure to interview acclaimed writer and director Lauand Omar about his upcoming projects and productions. In November he was looking for funds to continue the production of his highly anticipated horror movie Curse of Mesopotamia which is based on a terrifying legend from Kurdistan.
I am glad to announce that Lauand and his amazing team were able to continue filming, and they are adding the finishing touches to what I expect to be the biggest, scariest and creepiest horror tale of the year, if not even the past several years.
During this stressful time Lauand was able to squeeze in a few moments to do a quick follow up interview and tell us more about the movie:
Lauand, Please tell us again why you had to stop filming Curse of Mesopotamia last year?
We started production last summer in Erbil, Kurdistan Iraq. I shot my first movie there, back in 2005. Right
when we started filming Curse of Mesopotamia ISIS entered Iraq through Syria, we lasted 2 weeks before we had to stop, they got too close, some of our Kurdish Local crew went to fight them, flights got cancelled, massacres and real life horrors happening all around us.
Wow, that sounds terrifying. So when were you finally able to continue the production?
It took us almost 7 months to be able to continue with new Producers and Investors. Making independent films is not easy! But it will be all worth it, we are very happy with the footage of the new shoot.
How was it to see the entire crew back on set?
We decided to finish filming in the Kingdom of Jordan. We teamed up with Jordan Pioneers and MENA Films, the best in the Region, so it was a mixture of returning cast/crew and the new Jordanian/Palestinian Staff and Talents. It was surreal to see my actors back on set. Amazing feeling. We couldn’t believe we were about to finally finish the movie! I will never forget the smile on Stacy Thunes face (who plays Dr Barbara) when we hugged each other on her arrival in Jordan.
During the break did you make any changes as far as the script or storyline go? Were any characters added or erased?
I think the best thing in having to stop for that long, besides the amazing locations we found in Jordan, is the changes that I made to the story. Having time and looking at the footage from Erbil made me go back to previous ideas from former drafts of the script and also gave me a few new ideas that were added. Some characters were slightly changed. The Character of Ahmed was added, played by Palestinian Actor Ahmad Massaad, a tragic character driven by fear, he sees only one solution, joining ISIS. There was no ISIS a few years back when I wrote the script, now making a movie about 5 foreigners going for group therapy in Northern Iraq doesn’t work anymore, so you can say the Script went through an update, yes it is Horror and supernatural, based on a legend, but very current and real.
Also, Ana Carla Sinclair originally came on set to Erbil for a few days to do interviews for Mexican TV but ended up doing a scene, she did amazing, and I really wanted to see more of her in front of the camera. I wrote her a bigger part which works perfect for the overall storyline.
That sounds very exciting. I really can’t wait to see the result. How do you feel now since the release of the movie is getting closer and closer?
It’s been 9 month now since I first shouted Actioooooon. Imagine, like giving birth! Now I can’t wait to finish the edit, and then introduce our Baby to the world, our Demon Child (laughs diabolically). I’m excited, already missing some of our Mesopotamia family even though we just parted ways a few days back. I can’t wait to hit the festivals and theaters and watch the movie on the big screen with them and see how the audience will react to it.
Looking back what was the hardest and most exciting part about the production?
The unexpected halt of production and the wait to be able to finish was the hardest part for sure. Things take time, and I’m not the most patient person around. The most exciting part for me was seeing my actors BECOMING the characters that were in my head for so long. Watching it becoming real.
Meeting and working with so many different people from different country’s was nice too. International cast and crew, all giving their best to make it happen. Fuck borders, we are all the same.
Is there going to be a premiere party?
You bet! Once it’s all ready, it’s time to party! We suffered enough haha. We are planning 2 premieres before the actual release and the festivals, one in Kurdistan Iraq and one in Amman, Jordan, to show our gratitude for their support and hospitality.
In our previous interview you referred to yourself as “(…)a Kurd without a country,(…)” because you and your family had to leave Syria for political reasons, and have been constantly moving to different areas and countries when you were a child. Is there a place you can call “home” now?
Not yet, once the movie is out I’ll find myself a new home (smiles). Or go back to a previous place that made me feel like Home, maybe a quick stop in NY or Acapulco, recharge, and the journey continues.
Since you already revealed that Curse of Mesopotamia is getting a sequel can you tell us if you are planning on having the original cast in it, or is this still top secret?
I can’t tell you who is returning just yet, let’s see who survives the Curse first (giggles) No, seriously, the good thing is that we are playing with reincarnation, so nothing can stop me from bringing back a character from the death (laughs).
Smart move. Last but not least, please tell us when Curse of Mesopotamia will be released, and through which channels or media it will be available.
We will be announcing release dates soon, all I can say for now that this summer we will start spreading the curse, Festivals, then Theatrical Release and pay per view before DVD and ultimately TV. Follow our Facebook Page to stay updated, and thank you Simon and all readers for your interest and following up with us.
The pleasure was all mine, Lauand. :-)
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