Top 19 Quotes & Sayings by Cherien Dabis

Explore popular quotes and sayings by Cherien Dabis.
Cherien Dabis

Cherien Dabis is a Palestinian-American actress, director, producer, and screenwriter. She was named one of Variety magazine's 10 Directors to Watch in 2009.

Born: November 27, 1976

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I definitely did not play myself. As the writer of the script, I have traits of all the characters. I can relate to all of the characters.
An interesting thing that I've learned is that "no" doesn't always really mean "no," it just simply means "not now."
Keep doing what you're doing no matter what anyone says. Defy your own doubt. — © Cherien Dabis
Keep doing what you're doing no matter what anyone says. Defy your own doubt.
It's why I fell in love with movies. You can sit in a movie theater and be transported to a place that you never get to go and be a person who you never in your life would get to be and feel something and have empathy for people and see things from another point of view.
I discovered myself in the back-and-forth and in the hyphenated Arab-American way, and one of the things that I discovered was that I really didn't fit in anywhere. So in the US, I was considered an Arab - because I grew up in small-town Ohio - and in the Middle East, I was considered the American.
Jordan is many different things and there's many different parts of it. We don't ever really get to see a modern Arab city, a part of the Arab world where people are seemingly living their lives like everywhere else and also just a part of the Arab world that's surprisingly Americanized, with fast-food joints everywhere and shopping malls. Over the 30 years I've been traveling there, I really saw it grow and become modernized and much more Americanized in a way that surprised me as an Arab-American.
When it comes to identity, that was an issue that plagued me for a lot of my life. It's something that I wanted to tap into. Film can really take you to other places, and sometimes that's necessary to understand your own identity or someone else's identity or just the issue of identity, in general. It takes you. It's borderless. It's boundless. It's universal.
When you step in to act, you just zoom way in on the longest possible lens and you're just totally in the point of view of your character and you have to forget about everyone else. You don't care about what anybody else is, what they want or what they're trying to do. You're just concerned with your circumstances, what you're trying to get out of someone or some scene.
Some of my favorite all-time movies - Wong Kar-wai is just amazing. In the Mood for Love is probably my favorite film ever. Those lyrical montages are so stunning.
On the American side, some of the movies that I watched when I was a kid, like E.T. or The Wizard of Oz, those are films that changed my point of view of what film could be, of what you could do. Those are the ones that I remember were incredible when I was younger.
I watch everything from independent art-house cinema to foreign film. I don't watch as many Hollywood blockbusters but once in a while, I'm curious. I like to see what's out there.
I'm always looking for ways to explore the politics of the everyday. For me, the proverbs were a way of bringing in this ancient wisdom that in Arabic culture is often quoted. Those proverbs are such a huge part of the language and parts of people's every day. This is the wisdom that we use in our everyday life but we're not always listening to.
I knew that I wanted to live in a city, but had never really been to New York. But I was begging my parents as a kid to move to New York, so it was just something that I sort of knew from a young age.
From as early as I can remember, I wanted to have something to do with the acting business. I was a TV junkie as a kid and I think, because I grew up in a small town where I couldn't imagine myself staying there and couldn't see myself being any of the people that I was surrounded by in this town, I just knew that I wanted a different kind of a life, but I didn't know what that meant and I didn't know how.
I grew up watching a lot of Egyptian movies. My parents had this huge VHS collection of every Egyptian movie you can possibly imagine, and Egypt was kind of the Hollywood of the Middle East back in the '40s, '50s, and '60s. That was my first education in film.
I think that you have to have a really specific type of personality to be able to both direct and act, because it requires enormous shifts in perspective. I mean, when you're directing, you're looking at the world through a wide-angle lens, and you're seeing all of it. You know exactly what's happening in every corner of it. You know what people are going to say. You know what they're going to do. You're controlling everything.
I was really inspired by my own experience, and specifically my own identity crisis but larger than that, I also wanted to explore the trend of reverse immigration, of the immigrant returning home after being in a host country or an adopted home for 20 years, and finding themselves at various levels of discord with the home culture. I wanted to explore people building lives across multiple geographies. I think that's, something that we're experiencing more and more as travel becomes easier, as people are traveling more for work. People can work from anywhere.
I have to try to watch myself and give myself feedback. People would take for granted that I was ready to go right away. And I would say, "No, no, no, no, I actually have to go talk to myself." Because I need to just take a minute to think about what just happened and tell myself what to do in the next take, so just give me two minutes to go be a director.
When there's an actor involved, the actor's talking to the director or the director's talking to the actor. But when there are not those two people interacting, it's all one person in your own mind, you have to be so extra-clear about what you need.
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