Q&A with Hussein Khoder, assistant director of MUFF


The Melbourne Underground Film Festival has announced its Call For Entries for 2015. It's the 16th year of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival and the theme this year is “It's Killer”. I threw a few questions at Hussein Khoder, the festival’s passionate young Assistant Director and shorts programmer.

Cult Projections: How long have you been involved with MUFF? How did you become involved?

Hussein: This year would mark four years working with MUFF. Back when I was in film school I was looking for stuff I could do outside of school and I saw MUFF were looking for volunteers. I already knew what MUFF was and since they played the kind of films I love I just had to be part of it. I sent an email and now I am here.

CP: What is it about MUFF that excites you? What is it about Festival Director Richard Wolstencroft that inspires you?

H: MUFF is all about supporting the underground film scene and is always supporting and screening the films that other festivals don’t and won’t screen. I remember hearing that Melbourne International Film Festival banned the film Bruce LaBruce’s L.A Zombie and Richard’s response was to play it at a protest screening.  That made me love him so much since he is as against censorship as I am.

CP: In five words describe the criteria that will probably guarantee a filmmaker’s inclusion within the MUFF programme.

H: Be controversial, different and unique.

CP: What are a few of the past features and shorts that have played at MUFF that have left a lasting impression on you?

H: I have thought really hard and can't think of any films that have screened at MUFF that left a lasting impression. There were some films that were really good and I really loved them and there were some that were not.

CP: Do you feel there are any taboos in cinema that remain to be broken? If so, should they be?

H: Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think there are any taboos in cinema that remain unbroken. Every single taboo I can think of has been broken and has been used in films I have seen. However if there are taboos that haven't been broken I do think they should be. Cinema should be about pushing the boundaries and making the viewer uncomfortable.

CP: What should underground cinema provide that mainstream cinema doesn’t? How much easier, or harder, is it to find suitable content?

H: The big thing that underground cinema should provide is films that are different, more unique, and to approach things in different ways. I had a short film last year where the director built his own camera just so he could shoot it the way he wanted. That to me is what underground films should be about. Finding suitable content has never been hard since there are always people out there that don't want to involved in the mainstream and continue to make underground films.

CP: Tell me a little about your own filmmaking experiences. What have you made, and what are you making?

H: I have made a few short films while I was at school. They were a massive learning experience for me. I learnt about what I should and shouldn't do. Since finishing I have been focusing on my writing and at the moment I am about 80% finished with writing one feature and another one I am collaborating on with a friend. I am hoping to, at least, begin shooting one of them by the end of the year.

To find about more about the Call For Entries visit muff.com.au