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An Interview with Ziyad Saadi, Director of Hello, My Name is Death

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2015

Films directed by Ziyad Saadi on (re)Search my Trash


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Your movie Hello, My Name is Death - in a few words, what is it about?


It's about a man who wakes up in a nightmarish limbo where he is approached by Death. Death tells him he's just been shot, and the only way he can survive is by figuring out which woman in his life was the one to shoot him: his wife, whom he beats, or his daughter, whom he molests.


A perhaps philosophical question up front - your private thoughts about death and the afterlife?


Oh man, that's a tough question! I guess the one thing I can say with certainty about death and the afterlife is that we have no idea what it entails. And that's why it makes a great setting for a movie! It gives you the chance to be as creative as possible and take your story in any direction you want.


What were your sources of inspiration when writing Hello, My Name is Death?


I love Bunuel movies and the concept of surrealism, because in a surreal world you can get away with pretty much anything. Nothing needs to make sense so long as it implants a particular thought or feeling in you. The idea of personifying Death has also been something that I've been wanting to do, especially after having seen it done so effectively in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal.


To what extent can you identify with your lead character, the Man, actually? Or with any of the other characters for that matter?


Though the protagonist's acts are especially heinous, there is something disturbingly relatable in his plight. We all have this kind of dread that whatever wrongdoing we've committed in the past will inevitably come back to haunt us. Everyone has regrets and wishes they could undo things they've done to others or have had done unto them. And if everyone had an encounter with Death, suddenly a second chance at a clean slate sounds like nothing short of heaven!


Ziyad and DP Neal Todnem framing a shot

Hello, My Name is Death is mostly limited to one very featureless location - so how much of a challenge was it to keep things interesting nevertheless?


Given the stark black background, we had to find interesting ways of shooting it. Disorienting angles, terrifying close-ups and fast-paced editing to immerse the audience into the utterly twisted mind of the protagonist. My sound designer also did an amazing job of creating the most jarring sound design that will haunt the living daylights out of you. When you add that to the featureless location, it ends up creating a very unsettling atmosphere that feels almost inescapable.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


It's meant to be a psychological assault on the senses more than anything else. I just wanted to bring the audience into this world that may or may not exist. Nothing is overtly stated because nothing in the afterlife is certain. Everything in the film is implied through ominous images that lead the audience to draw their own conclusions rather than giving anything away. Ambiguity was the driving force of the movie.


Do talk about your cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?


Nileja James was my ideal choice to play Death. She isn't at all what you'd expect the character to be, and yet after watching her play it it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. All three women in the film have very unique physical features, which are wonderfully emphasized by the fact that each actress differs from one another in terms of hair, make-up and wardrobe. The character of the man was very difficult to cast, but my choice of Andre Herzegovtich came when I noticed how perfectly he was able to capture the vileness and frenzy of the character. Ultimately, the cast works as well as it does because each actor has such great on-screen presence.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


It was a pretty great shoot overall with a really small cast and crew that made the whole experience all the more fun and intimate. It definitely got a bit hectic at times with all the shots we were trying to get. That's kind of the trouble you come across with experimental movies. Because you're experimenting with something, you're not entirely certain of the best way to go about it. Despite that, however, I think we had a strong enough team to put everything together as needed.


The $64-question of course, when and where will your movie be released onto the general public?


Just started sending it out to festivals. Will keep you posted!


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Right now I think I'll take a break!


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Ziyad Saadi
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find Ziyad Saadi here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find Ziyad Saadi at

You can look up the feature film I produced here:

And my personal Facebook page:


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Can't think of anything right at the moment.


Thanks for the interview!


Thank you!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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