“10 Days Before the Wedding, the first Yemeni-made film to open commercially in Yemen, is a romantic-comedy. Although the conditions it shows are harsh, the film is a reminder that Yemeni citizens are trying to get on with their lives.
Director Amr Gamal sent me a message to explain that ‘Because the cinema halls in Yemen were destroyed in successive wars in 1986, 1994 and 2015, we have had to rent wedding halls to show the film. It has been a huge surprise that over 60,000 tickets have so far been sold.’ The entire budget for the film was $30,000. To put this into perspective, during the 2018-2019 award screening season, some of the bigger distribution companies spent more than $50,000 for a single screening and sit-down meal reception for the foreign language films they were pushing.
10 Days Before the Wedding takes place in Aden, the fourth most populous city in Yemen. In 2015, the Battle of Aden took the lives of hundreds of locals and even more died from diseases spread by the deteriorating conditions in the city. Several times during the film, characters use phrases such as ‘since the war ended,’ while others respond that ‘the war is not over.’ The film makes clear that although the fighting in Aden ended three years ago, its economy is still suffering and much of the city is still covered in rubble.
Become of power outages and cellular phone network failures, the crew sometimes had to inform the actors of the shooting schedule by visiting their homes in person.”