In 1967, Mounir Maasri played a leading role in The Secrets of the Red Sea, a French production made in Djibouti. In the same year, he played the lead role in A Farewell to Lebanon, an American- Lebanese feature film. He then went on to make his own film – Destiny, released in 1972.
“I had the desire to make the story of an illiterate man, destiny sends him a visitor, who gives him a jewel, buried somewhere, and this jewel changes his life. The dream of this man is to build a school to abolish illiteracy in his region so that feudal lords stop exploiting their people.
“So I made an attempt to write and direct this film and also act in it. I contacted producers. As usual, they had conditions – producers don’t invest their money unless there is a star in the film. They say they want a big name because it’s a risky film. It’s not the usual story or a dancer in a cabaret. The film had a very important human message.
“So no one helped me. The only person who helped was Raymond Haroun by giving me a chance to pay after I finished shooting.
“The actors didn’t even have experience. Despite my fears, I trained them to deliver good acting even though they had never seen a camera before. Cinema for them was a diabolical work.
“We made the film with a lot of passion. The lesson I learned from this film is that when you have faith in a project, a miracle will happen. I wanted so badly to make this film so I surpassed all the obstacles.
“I felt rewarded by the film’s great success in Lebanon.”