Logline: A young woman living in New York City on an expired visa is introduced to a man who promises he can fix her immigration problem. But after a series of deceiving events, Sasha decides to revisit her violent past rather than be a victim once again.
Length: 29 minutes
Director: Jonathan Chekroune
Producer: Jonathan Chekroune
About the director and producer: Jonathan Chekroune was originally born in Paris, France. He studied film production in Miami and eventually moved to New York where he wrote and directed Sasha. Sasha is his second film and has already won several awards early in the festival season. Currently he is working on a new short film that is set to be shot in late 2016.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Funders: Self Funded
Release date: February 2016
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
A good friend of mine living in Miami asked me to marry her to help her get her papers, but at the time I was in a relationship and couldn’t commit to something like that. When I told her no, she broke down and it made me think about how many people go through this everyday in the United States. So I decided to tell the story of a woman in need of her papers with a twist of entertainment.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
You should watch Sasha because it’s a relevant story that anybody can relate to in one way or another. I try to have a lot of emotion in my films whether it be tension or compassion. I believe you’ll walk out having felt something.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I was born in France, and for years I lost jobs because I didn’t have my papers. It was a struggle for me and I can relate to Sasha. Universally, Sasha tells a relateable story. She’s a single, independent woman who is vulnerable to the world and desperate to live a normal life. She is beautiful and foreign and that’s not always easy when you just want to be treated equally. I think many women can relate to her struggle.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The script changed a lot over time. In the beginning it was going to be a much more commercial film with common themes we are used to seeing in “revenge” films. But over time and after casting Julia Gorbach I decided to make the film more real, tone down the “Hollywood” and go for the heart while still maintaining a level of entertainment. Like most films, Sasha came to life on its own and it was a matter of keeping it all together during production.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
So far we’ve received amazing feedback. We have been lucky enough to screen the film at many festivals and the audience always seems to react when they should. I think overall the feedback has been positive. People seem to relate to the story and get sucked in by the mood of the film. We won the Best of Fest award at the 2016 Blackbird Film Festival and several other awards along the way so we’re doing good so far!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It always does. I feel that you never really know how good your film is until it screens in a room full of people and with Sasha I now know it’s strength and weaknesses. So I’ve already been challenged to work on certain things for the next film to be better.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I hope that more people will watch the film. I would also like to have the opportunity to be seen as an artist, and to create more relationship for the future.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I would say all of them!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
The first and most important thing is that people watch the film and feel satisfied, entertained, emotional, or even angry. The goal is to tell a story and provoke emotion. It’s also important for me that people see the hard work I put into my films and give me an opportunity to continue to do so.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
When discussing illegal immigration in the United States, do women get treated differently?
Would you like to add anything else?
I would like to thank We Are Moving Stories for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. I am so grateful to be working and creating.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I just finished writing my new film with an amazing writer in Los Angeles, Andres Rovira. We came up with a beautiful story of a young French woman working in the circus with her father in the 1940’s. We are currently working on getting the ball rolling and doing everything we can to raise funds for the film.