From trailblazing director Rolla Selbak, starring Sheetal Sheth
(The World Unseen, I Can't Think Straight), Mercedes Masohn
(Quarantine 2) and introducing Syrian TV star Angela Zahra, comes a
triptych tale of three women facing up to futures that clash with
what they were brought up to expect and embrace.
Three Veils is the story of three young Muslim women whose lives
unexpectedly intersect as they deal with issues of sexuality,
tradition, and identity. To the outside world, they seem to be
typical young college students dealing with the challenges of
growing up and finding ones place in the world. But each girl has a
story that, behind the veil, is brimming with desire.
The film's out on DVD today (July 30), and thanks to Peccadillo
Pictures, we're able to bring you a little Q&A with the three
Mercedes Masohn - Leila
What was it about the film that really interested
Mercedes Masohn: I was drawn to the script because I related to
the characters. They were each strong and yet vulnerable in their
own way. I thought Rolla wrote a great script... a very fluid
story. I was invested in the lives of the three women
Leila agrees to an arranged marriage in the film, do you
feel that is representative of many Arab women in the
Mercedes Masohn: I'm not sure how popular arranged marriages are
in the west. I wouldn't know how to answer that. I'm sure it works
well in some cultures. Love is such a beautiful and strange thing
that I think one should hold on to it no matter how it's found.
Leila is raped in the film; what was that like to film
and how did you prepare for it?
Mercedes Masohn: The rape scene was very difficult to shoot. I
couldn't possibly prepare for it. I just had to try to understand
it and live it in the moment.
Angela Zahra - Amira
Your character is very conflicted - caught between
religion and desire. Do you think that is representative of a lot
of Arab women?
Angela Zahra: We can't generalize, but of course like in any
traditional societies, many Arab women and even men find it
difficult to express their sexuality openly especially when it
comes to gay and lesbian expressions of love. These are considered
taboo. However, there is a segment of the younger generation that
is becoming more aware of the importance of sexual expressions and
orientation so things could change.
How did you prepare for your role?
Angela Zahra: As an Arab, I already had a good idea about the
stigma society inflicts on gays and lesbians, but I have to say
that in this role I was inspired by a lot of gay and lesbian
friends who were happy to share their stories with me which helped
me to connect to the character from the inside and put myself in
Amira's shoes. Once I became Amira, her pain and her love became
mine and I understood how she thought and what she would do with
Your relationship with Sheetal Sheth's character Nikki is
one of the highlights of the film, what was it like to
Angela Zahra: I enjoyed the whole experience and we really had fun
working together. I must admit though that I was a bit nervous
about the kiss between us because as an Arab actress, I had never
kissed a girl on screen before, actually not even a guy :)
especially [because] kisses are not allowed on Arab TVs. So that
was a big deal to me, but because I was committed to the character,
it all made sense and so I did it...
Sheetal Sheth - Nikki
What was it about Nikki's story that drew you to the
Sheetal Sheth: I was really taken with Nikki. [I had] goosebumps
the first time I read the script. [It was] such an amazing part for
an actor to dig into. At the core of Nikki, she just wanted love.
The purest kind and deep inside her, if you get past all the 'talk'
and 'edge,' she's as sensitive as it gets. She feels so intensely
whatever the emotion is, that you can't help but be drawn into her
heart. I was excited to tell a part of her story.
Nikki has quite an intense story in the film; how did you
prepare for the role?
Sheetal Sheth:Yes she does. It's challenging because one choice
could have been to go over the top, to allow some of the
'melodrama' of the situations to affect the tone throughout. But
she goes on such a journey through the whole film that you really
have to 'beat' out the whole script. You need to find the pace and
for me, it was really important to find the levity. I felt she
would use humor a lot, especially when she was most vulnerable.
Rolla was a great director to collaborate with on ideas and I was
thrilled she let me find many moments that were hidden between the
Your relationship with Angela Zahra's character Amira is
one of the highlights of the film; what was it like to
Sheetal Sheth: Thanks. I think what makes this film special is
how you see this film unfold from the POV of all 3 of these women.
You get to experience the same moment from a different person's
point of view. Nikki's relationships with Amira and Leila were
equally vital. You get to see different sides of Nikki because of
her times with Leila and Amira - comfortable/fiercely loyal and
newly exploring. It's a testament to Rolla's writing when it's so
Three Veils is released on DVD 30th July. Find it at