We had the good fortune of connecting with Anouar H. Smaine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anouar H., what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
I think the most important thing I’ve done and continue to do as a parent is to be consistently present and fully involved in my children’s everyday life. From cooking meals and savouring the sight of my little ones enjoying what my hands made to please them, to playing with them outside, hugging them, looking at their beautiful faces and telling them how much I love them. Helping with homework, listening to what they have to say, offering words of kindness and support when needed, and of course, making them laugh no matter how hard, difficult, or challenging my day has been. I know deep in my heart that time is gonna pass so fast and they’ll suddenly become grown ups with busy lives as well, so I’m making every moment I have with them count. The pandemic we’ve all gone through and still are has put everything back in perspective when it comes to what matters most in life, and that is; life itself. We tend to be too consumed by the idea of material, financial, and career success, but we forget, or should I say ignore that every year, every month, every day, every hour and every minute that pass in our lives are gone forever. The impact I hope to have on my children is enshrining in their hearts and minds an abundant sense of balance, of responsibility, of love, and of kindness towards themselves and towards others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a North African born – in Algiers, Algeria – independent filmmaker who came to the US in my teen years with a great deal of hope, passion, and big dreams. While I’m very grateful to live in this beautiful country (I’m a proud American by choice), coming to America alone as a teenager (I’d lived part of my childhood in Paris, France and was never able to go back as a major civil war broke out in my native Algeria claiming nearly a million lives in the span of 10 years) and trying to adjust to life in a country I knew no one in was one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever experienced. I was trying to not only understand the culture, but also sustain myself while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my new life. I worked so much and so many hours out of fear of finding myself without money and on the street. I took any and every job I could find washing dishes in restaurants, cleaning rooms in hotels, and driving taxis through endless nights every day of the week. I also put myself through college and earned multiple degrees in different disciplines (BA of Business Administration, a Masters of Political Science, and a Masters of Arts from Eastern Michigan University). My fear of falling in poverty grew into this incredible energy to work so hard, to strive, and to accomplish. Little did I know that a childhood passion passed on to me by my father – who’d been a playwright, a stage & film actor in both Algeria and France – was going to catch on to me as I moved to Los Angeles with the hope to write, direct, and act which is what I do today. I’ve directed a number of short films and I’m preparing to Direct my first feature film based on a very successful short film (Battle Fields) I’d directed a few years ago and which toured the world garnering acclaim and winning noteworthy awards. I’ve also found success in voice acting and have lent my voice to many film, tv, and animation characters in different languages (American English, French, Arabic, and different North African Dialects.) So the answer to your question is no, it hasn’t been easy, it still isn’t, it never is. But, as far as I’m concerned, forging ahead was and still is the only choice possible (I have no where to call home but here, and no other career aim other than being in the film industry) so here I am giving it my best, because if it doesn’t happen for me here in America, it won’t happen anywhere else, and that idea and feeling are so exciting and worth it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d probably take them for a hike in Griffith Park as the views from up there are just breathtaking and nature is beautiful. We’d also have a nice picnic by the Observatory and witness a peaceful sunset. I’d also take them for a drive on PCH and a swim somewhere in Malibu. We could dine at the Lobster (Santa Monica) or at Moonshadows in Malibu. I’d also take them to visit the Getty Center or the Getty Villa off of PCH. Another cool spot to visit is the Grove with all of its little shops and boutiques. Possibly Chinatown downtown Los Angeles then going on a boat ride off of Marina Del Rey to wrap things up. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
No one can make it on their own in the entertainment industry, let alone in life and I’m no exception. I’m so fortunate to have some good people in my corner, whom throughout the years have not only believed in me and in my work, but also went out of their way to encourage and support me, and to nurture my dreams and passion for filmmaking and acting. I can’t thank them enough, I can’t show my gratefulness enough, but I can acknowledge them here as a token of my deepest appreciation and gratitude. My amazing Manager & friend McKenzie Van Dorne-Rice, my friend and talented artist Joey Naber, my friend and mentor Mike Burstyn, my good friends Jonathan and Jenny Angelier.
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