You started out as a photographer. How is filmmaking different?
Yes, I did start out as a photographer when I was about 20 or 21. I was lucky enough to be given a Nikon f4 which is a old 35mm film camera. I had been exposed to cameras at a very early age because my grandfather and my father were both professional photographers. I guess I’m kind of predisposed with an interest documenting things. And maybe filmmaking not that different. Well, movies are actually by definition motion pictures, so filmmaking would be closer to the documenting of a series of moments of time I suppose. Regardless, it’s all just a fun for me. I feel like a kid who gets to play with his toys all day. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What do you love about movies?
What I love about a good film is when I’m surprised. I love that. To really have no idea know what will happen next to the character during the film. I love to be lost into the story and its characters. To forget myself but at the same time, see myself, if that makes any sense.
Tell us about Cinephilia Films…
So, Cinephilia films is the brainchild I’ve created together with my wife, muse and business partner Janet Kalantarian. We both are lovers of cinema to an almost unhealthy degree. So, it was no surprise we would eventually start a film production company of our own. And the company name Cinephilia was a no brainer really. “Cine” for Cinema and “philia” means an extreme fondness and together that makes Cinephilia. We shoot anything from art gallery exhibitions, image films for independent artist, fashion films for clothing designers and shoot some still photography every once in awhile.
What is the story of “Madness”?
Madness is the modern version of an old Persian love story written by a guy named Nazami Ganjavi. He is considered one of the greatest romantic poets of all Persian literature. The original story is called Leyla and Majnun. Majnun actually means madman in Persian language of Farsi. And, so my wife’s father who is from Iran, knew all these old Persian stories and poems and would recite them to her when she was little. And when we collaborated with fashion designer Christine Mayer to make a fashion film during Berlin fashion week, my wife said she knew the perfect concept to pair with the designers clothes. And so we shot the fashion film ‘Madness’ over the course of 3 days in Berlin, Germany. Our actors really did a fantastic job. Big thanks to Angeliki Ve, Oskar Levis, Danielle Torres and Laura Gomez.
The locations and shots are quite artistic.
The location of the film Madness was shot inside an old villa we found completely run down but also in a weird way, beautifully restored in Berlin, Germany. The family who owns it was just so wonderful and very helpful during the shoot. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. We shot the entire film with one with DSLR. The Canon 5d Mark II and just one lens, the Canon 50mm f1.2. The went for a desaturated color treatment effect and shot at 24 per second for that classic film look.
What are you working on now?
My wife and I are looking into directing music videos and I think that will be a very positive step into a good direction. We want to do it all I guess, photography, films, music videos but the main concept behind Cinephilia films has always been very simple. To document international art and culture. Its really a dream job and an extra bonus I think to be able to share the things you love with the person you love.