Award-Winning Producer, Writer, and Director Samy Chouia Has over Thirty Years of Experience as a Screenwriter
Award-winning producer, writer, and director Samy Chouia’s latest film, Make America Laugh Again (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVyGrExuLLs), a political comedy, won the Audience Award at the Cinequest International Film Festival in San Jose, California in 2019. It was screened at many other film festivals and has been streaming on Prime Video, Tubi Tv, and major cable networks in the U.S. and Canada for over a year. It's also available on iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, Google Play, PlayStation, Vimeo, Fandango Now, Microsoft, BestBuy, Target, Walmart, and Amazon.
“I was also the original writer of a feature film called Redemption Day (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWjsU76dEIE), starring Andy Garcia and Gary Dourdan, which was released by Saban Films and Paramount Pictures in January 2021. I wrote and directed a thriller called The Trap (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8mQh00ae5c), released on DVD in North America and sold worldwide in 2005,” he says. “I also directed four reality promos, one of them called Hooking Up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPfhrfACJ7w), which ended up being made by reality giant Endemol in 2008. I wrote a dozen shorts, including Neo-Nazi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTCGelKqNx0&t=24s), which was based on a true story. My latest is Abuelo, starring Pepe Serna and Isabella Alvarez. It screened at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, among other events.”
Samy has additionally worked on many Hollywood blockbusters, including The Kingdom, Kingdom of Heaven, and Jarhead. He was a screenplay competition judge for eight years, and as such was in charge of choosing the winners at the Irvine International Film Festival. With over thirty years of experience as a screenwriter, he is a very competent script doctor who helps up-and-coming screenwriters improve their writing skills.
What motivated you to become a Director and a Writer?
When I was eight-years old, I saw a screening of a Laurel and Hardy movie at my elementary school and realized then I wanted to become a filmmaker. When I was in film school, my screenwriting teacher pulled me aside after class one day and told me that out of the 45 students in his classroom, he believed I was the only one who had a shot at making it in Hollywood as a screenwriter. I have never stopped writing scripts since. His faith in me more than motivated me to become a screenwriter. I was also very fortunate to have met a few of my favorite directors, including Akira Kurosawa, Joseph Mankiewicz, and the great Billy Wilder, whom I got to know personally. I had the chance to visit with him at his home in Westwood. When I asked Wilder for career advice, he said, "Don't listen to anyone!"
What are some of the projects that you are currently working on?
My pet project, Redeployed, is a thriller about a U.S. Marine racing against time to prevent an apparent terrorist attack on the night of his redeployment to Iraq. The script received high marks from industry professionals, including the late Ed Asner who, after reading the script, called me personally to say he liked it a lot and would love to be part of the cast. Redeployed is partially financed and needs an EP and a producer.
I also wrote two TV series pilots. The first one is an edge-of-your-seat thriller called Entranced, and the second one is a comedy called Doctor of the Soul, about a stand-up comic who uses comedy to heal people.
Is there a particular story that you would like to direct or write?
Besides Redeployed, I would like to direct a script of mine called Aryan Nation, about a liberal white college kid who ends up joining a white supremacist group after his father is gunned down by a black gang member on Thanksgiving Day. But then, there is a huge shocking twist at the end.
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What's your dream, your ultimate goal? Do you feel like you're on the path to this goal, or do you feel as if you already achieved that dream?
My ultimate goal is to get all my pet projects made. Success is not always about winning awards and getting recognition from your peers as much as it is about the journey to self-fulfillment and achieving dreams. It is about sharing the great stories you want to tell to a like-minded audience. Besides Redeployed and Aryan Nation, I wrote a drama called Don't Kill The Messenger, about a school shooting that takes the life of the son of a major Hollywood star, triggering a nationwide debate about gun control; an epic called Kingdom of Blood, based on Shakespeare's Macbeth and set in 15th Century Arabia; and the comedy series called Doctor of The Soul. If I get all of these projects made, I will have fulfilled most of my filmmaking dreams.
What is your message for our Heart Of Hollywood Magazine readers?
I would like to reach out to EPs and producers and invite them to read my scripts. They can start by watching Make America Laugh Again, and my shorts to see my modest achievements as a writer and director. If the late Ed Asner loved Redeployed, I am sure they would too. I am certain Redeployed could be a major Oscar contender if it got made.
As for my message for those who are pursuing their dreams to become filmmakers, actors, or whatever, you have to believe in yourself. Be persistent in the pursuit of your goals and never give up. There is an old saying in this town, "Nobody fails, they just give up."
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