Betroit, written and directed by Adel Serhan, is a portrayal of three couples as their lives become intertwined with one another. An act of violence disturbs the lives of the group and they come to realize how precious love and family can be.
Leila (Darine Hamze) tries to escape from her abusive husband (Hassan Farhat) in hopes of fleeing to Detroit, where her sister Rola (Christine Solomon) lives. Lisa is desperately seeking a divorce from her husband Sam (Derek Kelly) in order to pursue a Hollywood career. She claims her husband physically abuses her in order to get Sam deported from the States. Rola, who is married to a successful lawyer Joe (Tamer Werfalli), both strives to help their friend Sam (Derek Kelly) and her sister’s marriage while struggling to have a baby of their own. Betroit addresses issues of domestic violence, culture, love and relationships between both the American and Middle Eastern culture.
Award-winning actress, Christine Solomon has been a performer since her adolescent years, and has worked in a wide range of productions across Canada, the United States and Egypt. The versatile actor built a solid portfolio with a variety of credits to her name, including foreign films that have reached regional and international success.
Solomon’s charismatic personality shines through her on-screen personas, and she has had the opportunity to be featured in a number of international newspapers, magazines, radio and television shows such as Entertainment Tonight, National Post, TV Week, Sharp Magazine, Rotana Magazine, Sayidaty Magazine, Screen India and many more.
The multi-talent is also an author and entrepreneur. She is currently working on a book, and has opened her own acting career consultancy boutique, Muze Consultancy, which provides career guidance and support for both aspiring and working actors. Christine enjoys being involved with non-profit organizations and supports the Breast Cancer Foundation and Make Poverty History.
Christine splits her time between Montreal, Los Angeles, and Cairo. When she isn’t busy working on a project, she enjoys writing and traveling.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell me a little bit about what you have been up to since your last sit-down with Cinema Without Borders?
Christine Solomon: I remember when I was doing the interview with you, I was telling you a little bit about the business venture that I wanted to start, which is a consultancy type of business for actors in order to help and guide them onto the right track. It has been two years now, and the business has been going really well. We have been helping a lot of Montreal and Toronto based actors in a variety of ways. We help our actors find agents and develop plans to get them on the right track; we help them switch cities, or if they want to go abroad we can help them with that as well. I had to sacrifice a lot of my time into this business venture because, as you know, when you are starting out in a business you have to dedicate time in order for it to work. So, that project to me was like my baby, and it meant a lot to me so I wanted to make it work. I was also in a Canadian film called Fakers, and I started endorsing products. I ventured into healthy products and I represented XE energy drink. They came out with their chocolate bars, so I started promoting that as well. Then I am also writing a book! I changed directions with the book: I began writing about how to promote yourself as an actor, and I realized that I had to talk about the basics on how to get started before you start promoting yourself as an actor. So, I have been writing this book and I hope that it will be finished this year. Since our last interview I have been busy with that and busy auditioning and traveling.
BT: Tell me about how you got involved with Adel Serhan.
CS: Yes, that project came to me and Adel sent me the script and he told me that he wanted me in the role of Rola. He said he could see me playing her, and he would love to have me in the film. I started reading the script and I was really captivated by the story. It was twisted and very interesting; all these things that are happening, some of which are happening in real life. I was really attracted to my role, and so I joined them immediately and I told them that I was in.
BT: What is the general storyline of the project?
CS: There are a lot of layers in the story. The plot touches on love and relationships, the bumps along the way, and also physical abuse. It is called “Betroit” because it is shot in Detroit as well a Beirut. It is a story about three different couples and how their lives interact with one another. There is an act of violence that disturbs the lives of these intertwined couples, and they realize how precious love and family can be. So you have couple #1, which is Leila and Ramos, they are living in Beirut and they have a very disturbing relationship where Ramos physically abuses Leila and she wants to get a divorce and she wants get her daughter to the states where her sister lives. I play her sister, who is in a very loving relationship with her husband and is struggling to have a baby while at the same time, she is trying to help her sister make that divorce settlement happen and help her immigrate to the states with her daughter. My character, Rola, is friends with Lisa and Sam. Lisa hurts herself and then calls the police and claims that her husband is abusing her physically. This is so she can get a divorce and have her own life. These characters all intertwine in a captivating story with interesting twists and turns.
BT: How was the rest of the cast brought into the project?
CS: We had the help of another director who lives in Detroit, Lance Kawas. He directed a lot of Hollywood movies and he was able to assist Adel with finding some outstanding Detroit-based talent. Adel also had certain actors in mind from Beirut, but that is how it started and that is how he got these actors.
BT: What are the plans as far as screening the film?
CS: The Film will be premiered in all three major cities, Detroit, Beirut and Dubai December 12th, 2012.
BT: Tell us a little bit about the background of Adel as a filmmaker and what it was like working with him.
CS: It was a pleasure working with him! I have worked with a number of Middle Eastern directors before, so I had an advantage over the other people because I understood how they work and I was pretty flexible—I understood their work ethic and how they manage it. Adel, he started directing music video clips in Lebanon and eventually started directing singers and celebrities. He made himself a name through those music videos, and he wanted to venture through films. He did his first movie and it was a big success; critics praised his transition from music videos to features, and the public eagerly anticipated his work.
BT: Do you think this film will play well in the U.S. market?
CS: I really believe so because the story is about relationships what really happens in life. The plot lines are very honest, and I think people are going to have a connection with it and they are going to relate to it in some way, especially with the love between Rola and her husband, and how Middle Eastern cultures differ from American culture.
BT: How challenging was your part in the film?
CS: My character was really interesting and provided a challenge because I have never been married. I had to research about marriage and how marriages work because it is completely different than just having a relationship with a boyfriend. There was also her desire to have kids: I know that I don’t have any kids in my life right now and I am not ready for any at the moment, so I had to try and understand someone who is ready for it and wants it very badly—I wanted to really understand her. I was kind of jealous of her because she had such an honest love for her husband, and her husband loved her so dearly. They had such a great bond, and I would love to find that kind of relationship with someone. He doesn’t mind if she can’t give him a child—I was taken away by that and I was blown away. I thought that I would love to experience that and play it because it seemed interesting and fun—you get to be in someone else’s shoes.
BT: What are your future acting plans?
CS: My plans for the future are to continue working in this field while exploring and creating dynamic characters that would inspire other people. My duty as an actor is to get the message across and create wonderful characters that people will enjoy and remember.
BT: That is a wonderful attitude to have!