Close-Up: An Interview With Interruption Director Zineb Oukach

Zineb Oukach’s Oscar qualifying short film, Interruption, is deeply emotional.

It follows Sarah, a topical female activist and journalist, who is on the radar of the police authorities in her country as she plans on having an abortion. Her plans are interrupted when the US government overturns Roe vs Wade. This thought-provoking film not only touches on abortion, but the double standards that are still present between males and females. 

The film touches on important topics such as women’s rights and abortion. How important was it for you to highlight the oppression of women in some parts of the world?

I wanted to tell a story about two people going through the same issue – Unwanted pregnancies. The concept of Right or Wrong from a moral or a religious perspective is dangerous to women’s health. The overturn of Roe reinforces abortion bans against women around the world, not just in the United States. After June 24, 2022, some oppressive governments felt approved to use these extreme bans to silence journalists and limit the freedom of speech. 

How do you hope this film will make audiences feel, especially women?

I want them to feel seen. There is nothing more painful than going through pain alone. The right to choose is still not an easy one. The choice to carry or not a pregnancy is a conversation a woman has with her partner or her doctor. 

What motivated you to write this film?

I grew up in Morocco where abortion is illegal and taboo. I have lived in the US for 15 years. The overturn of Roe on June 24th 2022 triggered my past, I had to do something. I wanted to bring a human story to this political issue.  

How are you hoping this film could support women in a similar situation to Sarah?

There are amazing and wonderful NGOs and activists, who have been fighting for this cause for a very long time. If INTERRUPTION can help support them in any way, I will be very happy. 

Did you speak with women like Sarah as research for the film?

From where I come from, there is still shame around abortion. Women don’t feel comfortable sharing their stories, they feel judged. But during the shoot, this amazing thing happened – Few people knew about the film’s theme and when they heard the director was a woman, they shared their personal stories and trauma. I was impressed by the collective experience we were having, I was inspired. 

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