Donia Youssef, an award-winning author, screenwriter and visionary, is a formidable presence in the literary world. Her affection for storytelling sparked a journey into literature that led to a wealth of narratives, deeply impacting her audience. Her portfolio, brimming with over 30 award-winning works, testifies to her versatility and passionate writing. Each genre she ventures into is imbued with her unique voice and perspective, leaving a lasting impression. 

Not confined to literature, Donia's talents extend to the realm of scriptwriting. Her scripts have gained recognition at several film festivals and competitions, bolstering her reputation as a versatile writer adept at navigating both literature and screenwriting.
Donia's commitment to her craft and her innate ability to articulate the human experience's complexities make her a guiding light in the writing community. Her works – novels, short stories, or scripts – stir the heart and provoke the mind, establishing her as a leading voice of her generation.

Amid her achievements, Donia remains grounded, treasuring the origin of each story and the bond she shares with her audience. Each new work she unveils fortifies the understanding that Donia Youssef is more than a writer; she is a visionary guiding us through life's myriad emotions and experiences.

1Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?

"Echoes of Maddy" is a deeply personal psychological thriller set in the heart of London. It tells the story of an aspiring actress who becomes entangled with a manipulative film director. As she begins to uncover his dark history of deception, she must navigate the fine line between reality and illusion to protect her own narrative. The film delves into themes of power, manipulation, and the haunting effects of a tragic loss.


What are your ambitions with your project?

With "Echoes of Maddy," we aim to shine a light on the darker side of the film industry and explore the profound psychological impact of manipulation and abuse. Our goal is to spark conversations around these important issues while providing a gripping and emotionally resonant experience for audiences. Ultimately, we hope the film will resonate deeply with viewers and inspire them to reflect on the complexities of human relationships.


Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?

Although we haven’t started shooting yet, the journey of developing "Echoes of Maddy" has been incredibly rewarding. One thing that has pleasantly surprised me is the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from those who are interested in joining the project. The passion everyone has shown so far have been truly inspiring. I’m excited to see how this energy will translate into a powerful film.


For what group of spectators is your film targeted?

"Echoes of Maddy" is intended for mature audiences who appreciate psychological thrillers and are drawn to stories that explore complex human emotions and relationships. It’s for viewers who enjoy peeling back the layers of intricate narratives and who are intrigued by films that challenge their perceptions of reality.


Why should distributors buy your film?

Distributors should consider "Echoes of Maddy" which is inspired from a true story and offers a unique blend of suspense, psychological depth, and emotional storytelling. It’s a film that captivates with its strong characters and engaging plot, addressing timely themes of power dynamics and manipulation. With high production values and hauntingly beautiful visuals, it stands out as a compelling addition to the thriller genre and has the potential to connect with a broad audience.


How characterizes your work? What characterizes your film?

"Echoes of Maddy" is characterized by its intense psychological depth and its exploration of the blurred lines between reality and illusion. The film combines gripping suspense, emotional storytelling, and hauntingly beautiful cinematography. It delves deeply into the psyche of its characters, revealing their vulnerabilities and strengths as they navigate manipulation and control.


Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?

I decided to become a filmmaker 7years ago, when I got diagnosed with Cancer. I launched a book publishing company, called Monster Publishing and I wrote my first book from the chemo ward called ‘The Monster in Mummy’ and had film producers reach out wanting to adapt my book into a movie, which is coming out next Spring. My storytelling evolved and since wrote 32books which are published on Amazon with bestsellers in the mix.

Through various traumas and witnessing others.

I have always been passionate about storytelling from a child and the ability of visual media to convey deep and complex emotions. Filmmaking allows me to explore different perspectives and share stories that might otherwise remain untold. It's a way to connect with audiences on a profound level and encourage thoughtful discussions about important social issues.


Who is your role model?

One of my role models is Alfred Hitchcock. His mastery of suspense and his ability to explore psychological complexity in his films have always inspired me. Hitchcock had a unique talent for creating tension and keeping audiences engaged, which is something I aspire to achieve in my own work.


Which movies are your favourites? Why?

Some of my favourite movies include "Psycho," "The Sixth Sense," and "Black Swan." These films masterfully blend suspense, psychological depth, and unexpected twists. They keep viewers engaged and leave a lasting impression, which is the kind of impact I hope to achieve with my films.


Where do you look for inspiration for your films?

I draw inspiration from real-life stories, psychological studies, and classic literature. The complexities of human behaviour and the often-blurred lines between reality and perception provide a rich tapestry for storytelling. Personal experiences and observations of the world around me also play a significant role in shaping my creative vision.


Which topics interest you the most?

I am particularly drawn to topics that explore the human psyche, power dynamics, and the impact of trauma. Stories that delve into the darker aspects of human nature and the resilience of the human spirit are always compelling to me.


What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?

One of my greatest achievements is developing "Echoes of Maddy," my very first feature film that I wrote alone, and having it recognized as a finalist at Cannes. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the project, and it validates the importance of the story we are telling.


What do you consider most important about filming?

The most important aspect of filming is authenticity. Capturing genuine emotions and creating a believable world for the audience is crucial. It’s about ensuring that every element, from the script to the performance to the cinematography, works together to tell a cohesive and compelling story.


Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?

I believe in the power of close-up shots and long takes. Close-ups allow for an intimate connection with the characters, revealing their inner emotions, while long takes can build tension and immerse the audience in the scene. Both techniques, when used effectively, can enhance the storytelling significantly.


How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?

Current filmmaking is incredibly diverse and innovative, with new technologies and platforms offering exciting opportunities for storytelling. However, I believe there is always room for more stories that challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of conventional narratives. It’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker, with endless possibilities to explore.


What can disappoint you in a movie?

What disappoints me most in a movie is a lack of depth and character development. When a film relies too heavily on visual effects or superficial plot twists without delving into the motivations and emotions of its characters, it fails to create a lasting impact.


Who supports you in your film career?

I am fortunate to have the support of a dedicated team, including my family, friends, and colleagues in the industry. Their belief in my vision and their collaborative spirit have been invaluable in bringing my projects to fruition. Additionally, the feedback and encouragement from audiences and critics alike provide motivation to keep pushing forward.