Exclusive Interview: Patrick J. A. Knight / Director & producer of ‘ANKH’

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Hi, first of all, congratulations, you are one of the winners of the Europe Film Festival U.K. What do you feel?

Thank you so much! It is the very first time that I have been awarded for my creative and artistic work. I  am therefore extremely honored that my very first feature film has been judged and appreciated as one of the winners by a professional jury. ‘ANKH’ wins the Jury Diamond Award for Best Indie Feature and exceeds my wildest expectations. This award means so much to me. I’m ever so proud. Especially because with this prize my name will forever be linked to the film ‘ANKH’. And let’s hope that many more prizes are to follow. It’s not about fame and fortune for me, it’s about the footprints I’ll leave behind. That is my life purpose for me. Something tangible that I will leave behind for when I am no longer a part of this earthly existence. 

What gave you the inspiration to write and direct this story?

I have been fascinated by ancient Egypt all my life. The rituals, the spiritual, and the belief that life doesn’t stop at death. Maybe not in physical form, but that the name of the deceased will live on for eternity. The reason why I think this is so important is because my own life often and still hangs by a thread. At several points in my life, I narrowly escaped death. Moreover, I was born with Brugada syndrome, which is also popularly called the sudden death syndrome. Human life is already so short and in most cases, the memories of this life after death will quickly fade and usually disappear. And that’s exactly what I’m so afraid of. I am not afraid of death itself. I am afraid of being forgotten. And that is precisely the common thread in the story of ‘ANKH’. The best proof is the now world-famous pharaoh Tutankhamun. He died as a  teenager at a very young age and his name was immortalized from the moment his tomb containing his remains was discovered by Howard Carter in November 1922. And Ofra Haza, Madonna of the East, even got a part in ‘ANKH’, 22 years after her sad death. Her name and beautiful singing voice were also once more immortalized in my feature film. 

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?

Filmmaking is definitely not my life and livelihood. What originated from a hobby has developed over the years as a very nice experience. It has become a passion. Originally, everything started with creating and writing my own music for Gravity Noir. From which the creation of music videos originated. It resulted in gaining experience, with trial and error. In the process, one learns one’s own artistic talents. But I have always remained humble and tried to involve as many other people’s talents as possible during the process,  to offer a chance. When I honeymooned in Egypt with my husband Luc 15 years ago, I had no idea that all the footage I had filmed together would result in a full-length film. But I was convinced that all that filming would not have been in vain. The many hours of film material on the old mini video cassettes were largely even disintegrated. But I would and had to reunite all those beautiful images into one beautiful whole. The music I wrote especially for the film made everything complete. 

Do filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? Do you feel that being a creative person requires that you give back or tell a particular story or not do something else? Why or why not?

Filmmakers must always be able to maintain the freedom to guarantee their own vision in their work.  Making a film is and remains an art form. How the viewer looks at this art is a different experience for everyone. Art is culture and culture is infinite. It’s the way we want to fill it in ourselves. Tastes differ and that is no different for a filmmaker. But no filmmaker will deny that he or she does not like that his or her work is appreciated. Do I feel responsible for introducing Egyptian culture to a wide audience? Certainly not. It is up to each individual how they want to experience or relive this. The splendor of ancient Egypt is there for all to be discovered. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to make a Nile cruise yourself.  Hopefully, with ‘ANKH’ I will give the viewer an experience they will never forget. That’s culture.