TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


No Return

Hesham Issawi, Ahmed Salah



Wafa, a girl in her 20s, lives in Cairo. She is a conformist and sometimes a cynic, but only because deep down she is a disillusioned idealist. She feels helpless in the face of the economic events that wreak havoc on her family, yet her boyfriend Ali is hopeful that things will change.

Wafa struggles to survive like most Egyptians. She tries to help her family by working regularly while maintaining an independent life with Ali. But then, Ali dies in front of her in a prison cell.

Ali’s murder changes Wafa’s life. She embarks on a suspenseful journey to discover the truth about his death. Clinging fiercely to her sense of pride, yet at times feeling humiliated, she dives into a whirlpool of police corruption, violence, and deceit. She meets Karim, an activist and a blogger who helps her in her quest to find Ali’s killer. She is attracted to him but by delving into the political underground scene she soon finds out that Karim is yet another trap to monitor her movements.

She finds herself in the middle of a plot of corruption that endangers her life. But Wafa, now with a sense of independence and strength and not afraid anymore, decides to speak out when everyone around her remains silent.


As an Egyptian filmmaker I believe that we can use the visual medium of cinema to bridge cultures and create better understanding of our humanity. I have the intention of seeing this film through an uncompromising lens as much as possible. I want to get to the heart of things and capture all the hidden thoughts and feelings of my characters without any judgment. I want to paint a picture of what happened and why people revolt. I want to show the truth and be committed to the truth rather than understanding it.

Egypt is going through a revolution. A change that we all wanted but never thought would happen in our life time. As a filmmaker I want to tell the story of an unmarried Egyptian girl who grew up conforming to her own social class, her own traditions and in a flash, she changed with no turning back. The story is told in chronological order.

The main character exists only within its own space, a space of itself formed by the state of mind of the people around her. In this strange double reality, the viewer sees double perceptions of the main character and the other world she wants to get out of it. The viewer will witness both worlds; the world that the main character wants and the world that was imposed on her, therefore permitting both proximity and separation.

The characters in the story are looking for a dreamy place where good things can happen or may happen. A place where hope seems possible and where coexistence can occur. But, it is not enough to wish for these things, they must work and fight toward them.

In visualizing the film, I want to maintain a steady camera movement that brings out the psychology of the scenes and the emotion of the characters. My interest is to create a realistic cinematic work where camera, lighting, and actor movement are all unleashed to assume an authority to tell a straight forward linear narrative. The color plateau is natural brown for Egypt and vivid blue for some scenes. The mood is realistic and the sound design is an extension of the daily reality in the culture.

Film can be an important instrument for bringing greater awareness to serious social issues and for shaping national and sometimes international dialogue about a variety of subject matters. My goal is to show what happens when different mentalities collide, when dreams and realities confront each other.

A single girl chooses not to be afraid at a time when every one around her remains silent
Hesham Issawi

Film Director, Production

Ahmed Salah

production notes

directed by
Hesham Issawi

produced byMaster Film Productions
Maser El Gaddida

in co-production with
Seeking co-producers

total production budget
€ 1.000.000

current financial need
€ 800.000