Lebanese director Pam Nasr discusses her debut film ‘Clams Casino’

A still from the short film 'Clams Casino'. (Supplied)
Updated 09 January 2019

Lebanese director Pam Nasr discusses her debut film ‘Clams Casino’

DUBAI: “When we see something strange, if we’ve never been exposed to anything like it, we tend to push it away. But I was really interested in this phenomenon. There was so much to discover about it, and I was attracted to the human aspect of why people partake in it and why it’s so popular. Like, why does it exist?”




A still from the short film 'Clams Casino'. (Supplied)

Lebanese filmmaker Pam Nasr is talking about mukbang — a craze that began in South Korea and is basically a live stream of someone eating a large amount of food. Nasr’s first film, a short called ‘Clams Casino,’ which premiered in the region in Dubai last month, is based around the phenomenon. A young woman who lives with her mother, with whom she has a difficult relationship, spends hours collecting seafood, cooking it, setting it out beautifully on the table, and dressing up in order to eat it in front of a webcam.
“It stems from loneliness,” Nasr says. “Mukbang is kind of a solution to loneliness, and — at the same time — these performers make a lot of money from eating online.”
While some viewers, she says, are watching for fetishistic reasons, most “watch it because they’re lonely and they want to have someone to eat with.” Nasr recalls, as a child, arriving home from school each day and dining by herself, as the rest of her family had already eaten.
“I asked my family if someone would wait and eat with me,” she says. “In Lebanon, and in many other cultures too, the art of cooking for someone (and eating together) is such a way of delivering your love to them. So I really connected to this when I was studying Mukbang. It was a beautiful learning curve for me. And I hope for many others who watch ‘Clams Casino.’”




Filmmaker Pam Nasr. (Supplied)

The Q&A session that followed the Dubai screening was the longest she’s had so far (having toured several festivals in America with the movie). “A lot of people really connected to it and understood what I was doing.” In particular, Nasr was moved by an exchange with a young college student who told her that a friend in college had been going through a tough time and was watching a lot of mukbang.
“She was very tearful. She said that after watching my film, she understood her friend a lot more. My heart went out to her,” Nasr says. “There were a lot of intimate moments like that at the screening. It was really beautiful.”


‘I pinch myself every moment because I’m living a dream’: YouTube star Liza Koshy

The US actress gave a talk on Thursday at ON.DXB. (AFP)
Updated 22 November 2019

‘I pinch myself every moment because I’m living a dream’: YouTube star Liza Koshy

  • Koshy, now an established star in her field, started her career in 2013 on Vine
  • Now with more than 17.7 million subscribers on YouTube, Koshy has her own YouTube originals show.

DUBAI: From Vine and YouTube to acting and hosting, Liza Koshy admits she has to pinch herself when she considers her rise to fame.

“I’m living a dream that I didn’t even think of dreaming before,” the US actress revealed during a talk on Thursday at ON.DXB — an event in Dubai dedicated to film, gaming, music and video. 

Koshy, now an established star in her field, started her career in 2013 on Vine, a short-form video hosting service on which users shared six-second-long, looping video clips.

Koshy has more than 17.7 million subscribers on YouTube. (AFP)

“Vine came out then I had a career all of a sudden out of nowhere,” she told the audience. “Vine was a giant group chat for me and my friends, so I only had my friends following me. I was creating videos for them. It was like six people at the time and that’s kind of what social media was back then.

“I had a really tiny circle with three friends and now it’s grown to like three something, something, something. It’s been a while, a wild journey. But that’s how it started. I was just making videos in my car, making videos in my bathroom, making videos in my living room; making my home essentially a set,” said the 23-year-old.

“There was a point where I was pursuing this career – I didn’t realize it was a career at the time – (I was) just making videos. My dad actually took away my phone so that I would study for the SATs, little did he know though that I had an iPad underneath my bed, and I continued making those videos every night,” Koshy added.

It was only when people started approaching her to have their pictures taken with her, that her father realized that she might actually be able to make a career out of it, she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

thank you, neck

A post shared by Liza Koshy (@lizakoshy) on

Now with more than 17.7 million subscribers on YouTube, Koshy has her own YouTube originals show.

“Liza on Demand,” which premiered on June 27, 2018 on YouTube Premium, is an American comedy web television series starring Koshy, “Orange is the New Black” actress Kimiko Glenn, and television actor Travis Coles. The cast follows Koshy who completes odd jobs around Los Angeles via a phone application.

The show’s second season premiered on Sept. 25 this year.

“I pinch myself every moment because I’m living a dream that I didn’t even think of dreaming before,” Koshy added.

“You see actors going up on these childhood TV shows and you don’t imagine ever creating your own really and then to have the ability to do so in the palm of your hands today, your career and literally be at your fingertips and that’s what it was for me.”