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Rolla Tahir

September 05, 2018

Rolla Tahir is a filmmaker and director of photography. She has lensed short, narrative, and experimental films that have screened across Canada and internationally, including the UK, the United States, and Guatemala. Obsessed with the durability, longevity, and spontaneity of the analog film medium, Rolla has worked with Super 8, 16mm and 35mm to explore the analog process and its possibilities. Her short film Sira is screening as part of the Wavelengths program at the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival.

1. The Unknown

Marveling at what we don’t know and not beating it to death is a favourite pastime of mine as of late. We think we are the higher beings, but we’re not. There is so much that we don’t know and cannot know, and there is comfort and humility to be had in that. Current obsession: Jinn. No, not that gin. Jinn are beings that exist parallel to us but remain unseen. We know exactly three facts about them; the rest is trusted narrations and anecdotes, mostly of possession and exorcism.

2. Bombino

A few years ago my husband Mikhail Galkin, who’s a musician, introduced me to this guy's Tuareg rock blues band and I have been hooked ever since. Bombino learned how to play guitar watching videos of Hendrix when he was a kid. He's been playing ever since – in exile, in the desert, then in the King of Morocco's private recording studio, and in sold out shows in Toronto.

3. Untranslatable words

Is there a word for “words that don’t translate between languages”? And if there is, does it exist in all languages? I speak two languages fluently, yet not fluently. I often find myself stuck not being able to express myself in one language or another. Maybe that’s why I love film: it’s a universal language, like music.

4. Elephant in the Attic

This is a happy place of mine. If I can cover every inch of my walls with prints found here, I would. I also just love upcycling, reinterpreting, and scavenging.

5. Digitizing home videos

My memory is almost non-existent, so when I happened upon a heap of dusty old family VHS tapes from the late 80s/early 90s, I couldn’t wait to transfer them. I decided to do it myself as opposed to pay for a service. I’m glad I did, even though the technology’s backward incompatibility drove me up the wall. But it was well worth it. Film your parents, your children, your partners, record their voices, because someone in the future will discover these recordings and it will mean the world to them.



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