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Short Film

Strange Cities are Familiar

Strange Cities Are Familiar is a short film about memories, guilt and resilience, inspired by the writing of Mourid...

“Strange Cities Are Familiar is a short film about memories, guilt and resilience, inspired by the writing of Mourid Barghouti, and the director's personal experiences. It tells the story of Ashraf, a Palestinian father living in the UK, struggling to confront the memories that haunt him: the promises he couldn’t keep, the family he couldn’t protect.”

Lens/Camera Information
Lens series: Cooke S4/i
Focus length: 18mm, 25mm, 32mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.35
Cameras: Alexa Mini
Format: Digital
Rental Company: Shoot Blue

DOP Information
Director of Photography: Diana Olifirova
Agent: Wizzo and Co

Production Information
Production: Strange Cities Are Familiar
Production Website:
Producer: Maria Caruana Galizia
Director: Saeed Taji Farouki
Colourist: Lucie Barbier
Production Company:  Candle and Bell
Post Production Company: Company3
IMDb Link:

Nominated for BSC Emerging Cinematographer Award 2018

DOP Diana Olifirova on her lens choice
“This film is an impressionistic film that is a mix of crafted narrative, memories, fantasies and things happening in a way of documentary that we wanted the camera to feel spontaneous, responding to things in an imperfect way.

Many references the director showed me were classical paintings, with very « slow » and subtle lighting on them, deep colours and soft quality of strokes. I am a big Cooke fan for such an image that feels like a painting. I was going to pick an Anamorphic set but then rethought my choices because the « documentary » side of the film was also equally important. We wanted for the audience to be a little confused and create a strong emotion on the screen, so instead of using two different looks or set of lenses we went for one – S4 that could be as soft and painterly as you like but also quite « real »and with a bite when needed – of course this also depends on lighting, movement and location, but I find Cooke S4 to be very versatile and help to create a striking image in any situation.”