Diasporic Cinema Of Canada: Interview With Line Producer Hooman Shirazi
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
By: Patrick Roy
Making a film is difficult enough but how do you make a film based on a diasporic community that forms a small part of a large country like Canada? Such is the experience of filmmakers Mostafa Azizi and Amir Ganjavie who made their debut with Pendulum.
The film revolves around an Iranian immigrant couple in Canada and is an indie work made with a small budget and an obvious labor of love. Technical and production level of the film is quite impressive which shows all the possibilities of cinema in diaspora. During Cyrus International Film Festival, Universal Cinema spoke to Hooman Shirazi, the line producer of the film about how this indie project developed and produced.
Patrick Roy, Phoenix Journal (PJ): How long did it take to finalize the Pendulum? What were some of the shooting problems?
Hooman Shirazi (HS): The Pendulum took about 6 months of pre-production, almost 1 month of shooting and around 6 months of post-production. I believe that all big projects have their own problems. You cannot find a film without obstacles. Like the expression says, if you do not write anything, you never have a misspelling! All the problems you face will be forgotten once your film is shown in the theatre. Only good memories remain.
PJ: How did you secure the budget for the film? The film revolves around the Persian community in Canada, so how much did the Persian community help the production?
HS: The budget was mostly provided by Amir Ganjavie, the film’s producer and director. We had a few sponsors and investors as well. These people were interested in Persian culture and art and helped us in different ways. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who were involved in making this film.
For sure, our main asset in making this film was our volunteers who gave their heart and soul to this project and worked really hard to get things done. To answer the second part of your question, I must say that we got lots of help from the Persian community. They welcomed our cast and crew members with open arms everywhere. I would like to thank them all for everything once again here in this interview.
PJ: Most of the cast and crew members are Iranians who live in Canada. Were there similar Iranian films made in Canada before? How do you predict the success of this project compared to other projects with similar nature in Canada?
HS: Yes, the Persian community in Toronto is a unique blend of artists and cultured individuals. Many of our fellow Iranians in Canada work in different fields of film industry which helped us benefit from that. Professional artists like Nezam Kiaie, Kayhan Mortezavi, Shahriar Assadi, Keyan Emami and Mostafa Azizi were among our main crew, they all reside in Canada and they did a great contribution to this production. I have to add my own opinion here about your second question, that any artistic project done in Canada, especially related to cinema, must be respected and praised. I think no “work” can be considered superior. People who go to theatres to see these films must decide how good or bad they are. However, I can tell from the Persian-Canadian community’s feedback that Pendulum was an extremely successful project. Mostly I believe it is because of the combination of the professional experiences with the youth and the amateur love for the cinema that make this movie beautiful. Since this film revolves around Iranian immigrants, it has been easier to be accepted by those who live in Canada.
PJ: How do you assess the Iranian independent film market in Canada?
HS: Independent film market is not great anywhere in the world. Nobody supports independent film production. It becomes much more difficult when you are making an Iranian independent film and you are focusing on the topic of immigrants and the diasporic identity.
I think all those who are interested in cinema must support independent projects one way or another. I hope someday investors in cinema change their view toward independent films and pay more attention to these movies which they all deserve.