The film combines various cinematic approaches, including documentary, cinema verité, and archival footage. Can you talk about the cinematography of the film?
As I said earlier, this film was my film school, I learned everything by practice. Laura Bustillos joined the film as a cinematographer in Algeria and France but I also shot many sequences of the film myself. When I wrapped up the production I didn't know how to tell the story. I had years of footage and archival materials. I didn't know where to start and I didn't have the resources to hire an editor so I learnt how to edit by observing an editor as they were working. Then in 2019 I decided to travel to Algiers and shoot a film about the young generation fighting for their rights during the smile revolution. I edited and released it in a couple of weeks. The film won two awards so I felt more confident when I came back to The Desert Rocker and started editing again. When the producer of L’Équipage, Julie Lapointe, watched my rough cut, she decided to help me finish the project. She took care of the post production and music rights and together we finalised the film. I feel very fortunate to have met with her.
What were some of the challenges that you encountered during making the film? Was there anything that surprised you?
Making this film remains the biggest surprise; the desire to tell Hasna's story gave me the strength to pursue it despite all the struggles I encountered.
I started this film without any knowledge or background in cinema and I ended up being a self-made filmmaker, producer and editor. This is one of the greatest and hardest experiences but I don’t regret it at all. I found my passion by investing in myself. It takes craziness to go through the process and follow your gut and I'm definitely a crazy person.