BY: ANNA PRENTISS | PUBLISHED: | 12:06 PM
A heralded Florida State University film school alumnus will return to campus to present his latest celebrated film.
Oualid Mouaness is the award-winning director, writer and producer of “1982,” a life-affirming coming-of-age tale that has been recognized at multiple global film festivals, including Cannes.
The film encapsulates love and tragedy set against the 1982 Lebanon War, and it will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.
“It is such a reward to be able to return to Florida State and share this film with students and the Tallahassee community,” Mouaness said. “It’s like bringing the film where my story in the U.S. started — Tallahassee feels like home.”
Born in Liberia and raised in Beruit and Monrovia, Mouaness came to the U.S. as a student to further his education, eventually earning his MFA in film production at Florida State’s College of Motion Picture Arts (CMPA).
“We are honored that Oualid has brought this very personal film back to share with Tallahassee and the film school,” said Reb Braddock, dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts. “It never ceases to amaze me how generous our alumni are with their time. Oualid is a busy director and producer, but he has nonetheless taken time out of his schedule to come talk to students and share his hard-won experience.”
Following the screening, Braddock will moderate a Q&A with Mouaness. Tickets to the screening are $20 for the public and $10 for FSU students.
Mouaness splits his time between Los Angeles and Beirut. His work includes narrative and documentary features, music films, music videos and commercials. Musicians such as David Bowie, Rihanna and Taylor Swift are among the many artists that he has worked with as a producer.
His first feature film as a director, “1982” was motivated by Mouaness’ childhood memories of the Lebanon War in 1982 when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon.
“It is such a reward to be able to return to Florida State and share this film with students and the Tallahassee community. It’s like bringing the film where my story in the U.S. started — Tallahassee feels like home.”
— Oualid Mouaness
The movie emerges in an idyllic school in Lebanon’s mountains on the eve of a looming invasion. Within the microcosm of the school, the film draws a harrowing portrait of a nation muddled by its desire for love and peace and the ideological schisms unraveling its seams.
Like his other films, “1982” interweaves Mouaness’ desire to instill hope.
“The films I undertake reach for social awareness and faith in humanity — film is a medium that changes hearts and minds,” he said.
His visit to FSU allows Mouaness to reflect on the power of the FSU film school and on where his film career began.
“To present ‘1982’ to Florida State, not just in the classroom, but on the big screen for people to really experience the breadth of it, is coming full circle,” Mouaness said. “It reaffirms why I received my masters in cinema at the FSU film school, and I’m hoping that it will inspire the younger generation to realize that, in a world where streaming is taking over, cinema is its own thing.”
“We are thrilled to feature this beautiful film as part of our annual performing arts series,” said Jennifer Wright-Allen, director of Opening Nights at FSU. “Not only does it promote film as an art form, but it also demonstrates the talent and success of an FSU alumnus. It’s a natural fit for our series, and we know our patrons are going to love the film.”
“1982” premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, where it received the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema award. At the El-Gouna Film Festival in Egypt, it won the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique International Critics Prize. And it won the Cannes Écrans Juniors Award at the Cannes Film Festival, the world’s most prestigious celebration of cinema.