Lebanon. Two young brothers. A household rifle. A perceived threat.
The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf And The Boy is a parable that considers the ethics of seemingly innocuous violence in a warning against the perils of telling lies, misjudging enemies and engaging in actions that perpetuate the cycle of violence.
Press & Reviews
INDIE SHORTS MAG
Interview with Oualid Mouaness.
Review & Interview: "... finely constructed political parable"
This film is a parable. It is a minimalist story set in a microcosm representative of contemporary middle-class rural Lebanon. I wanted to create a narrative that transcends across cultures and countries: one that addresses the personal and the political. It is inherently about the family, familial and fraternal trust, ethics, and upbringing in the context of a larger world that's existentially threatened by ISIS. My aim was to make something that takes its cue from classic children's stories and that conjures the dimensionality inherent in the construct of morality tales.
The idea of this film sprung from the need to express the unsettling uncertainty that we as Lebanese, and many people across the Middle East and the world have felt in recent years: The notion that the world can spiral into uncontrollable violence as a result of one rash decision. I wrote this film shortly after ISIS' attempted infiltrations into Lebanon. Their flagrant parading of violence had struck a palpable fear in our people unlike any we had felt before.
I chose to set the story in an idyllic part of Lebanon, not far from Beirut, that is rarely captured on film but represents the beauty and mountainous nature of the country that is very close to my heart. It is villages such as this that are most vulnerable to the unexpected and rarely make news. Lebanon is a country with a porous border almost constantly threatened by hostile infiltration. It is on a permanent precipice.
The family unit is at the heart of this short film. Within a family, no decision is too small or too big to be taken for granted. The story springs from an act of violence that is supposedly committed for the common good and the repercussions of such an act. I wanted to juxtapose the pervasive nature of violence, its seemingly harmless presence in many aspects of contemporary life (television, video games, literature...), and the fine line of how quickly things can go awry. This coming-of-age parable examines the fragility of fraternal trust and brings into focus the ethics of seemingly innocuous violence and its repercussions.
Oualid Mouaness is an independent Lebanese-American writer, director and producer. He completed his undergraduate studies in Lebanon and then received an MFA in film from Florida State University. He had his start as a script reader followed by a brief stint in the finance department at Fox Kids Network before leaving to edit and co-produce Mari Kornhauser's 'Kitchen Privileges' (SXSW 2000). Shortly after that, he headed Windmill Lane Productions, a commercial and music video production company. In 2004, he took on the critically acclaimed documentary 'Rize' (Sundance 2005) directed by David LaChapelle, and followed it by 'Paris Not France' (TIFF 2008).
Alongside producing documentaries and films, Mouaness produced seminal music videos for artists including Taylor Swift, Katie Perry, Justin Timberlake and Lana Del Rey, and David Bowie.
Mouaness' diverse work balances issue-driven material as well as entertainment. His projects cover a wide spectrum of media and visual experiences; namely Michael Jackson's posthumous live performance at the Billboard Music Award, 'Slave to the Rhythm' (2014); Annie Lennox's 'Nostalgia' (2015) for PBS which garnered an Emmy nomination for live stage direction by Natalie Johns and more recently, the socially aware Audience Award-Winning documentary 'I Am Thalente' at the Los Angeles Film Festival 2015, released in 2016.
Mouaness directed 'The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf and The Boy' (2016-Lebanon). He is currently preparing his debut feature as a director.
Director – Oualid Mouaness
Writers – Oualid Mouaness
Producers – Jinana Chaaya, Oualid Mouaness
Music – David Wingo
Editing – Jad Dani Ali Hassan
Sound – Shady Abi Chacra, Rawad Hobeika, Juan Campos
Director of photography – Elsy Hajjar
Production designer – Alexandra El Kahwagi
Visual effects – Robin Dougherty
Casting Director - Mike Ayvazian
Country of production: LEBANON
Year of completion: 2016
Running Time: 19’
Aspect Ratio: 1:85
DCP 2K / Color / 24 f.p.s.
Sound Mix: Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese
Imad - Fidel Badran
Naji - Ali Mneimneh
Sameh - Jad Badran
Theresa - Layal Ghanem