Harpreet and Emily drive to New York days after 9/11.
Interview with Writer/Director Javian Ashton Le
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
The idea for the film stems from conversations with my former roommate about his experiences dealing with post-9/11 racism as a Sikh American growing up in New Jersey. I was already looking to explore the complexities of implicit racial bias through cinema and decided to build a story within this context. I believe implicit bias is something that challenges everyone to a certain degree, because our capacity to empathize really is limited by the boundaries of our own perspective. In order to show this, it was important for me to approach the piece in a meditative but visceral way.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
The film explores the aftermath of a universally known tragedy from a perspective that is very much “American” but rarely considered in mainstream media coverage.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I believe they are one in the same. The more specific and honest you are about your own experiences, the more universal they’ll become. I hope that viewers can find their own meaning in what is presented.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
At the beginning of development my main focus was on the random acts of racially charged violence that affected the Sikh community after 9/11. However, as I continued to do more research and speak to different people I began to realize it is the everyday micro aggressions that leaves the most lasting impression; the cold stares, unspoken assumptions, and stereotypical portrayal in the media. The film eventually evolved into a piece that aims to evoke an emotional response through visual experimentation while leaving room for viewers to reflect on their own background and sensibility in relationship to the main character’s journey.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It has been pretty positive so far. I think the general reaction has been in line with my creative intentions.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Without giving anything away, the last shot in the film seems to elicit various interpretations. I found the wide range of opinions a bit surprising, but I’m also glad people are injecting their own feelings and experiences into the way they read that moment.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I hope the film can reach a larger audience and persuade viewers who wouldn’t normally seek out a film of this genre or topic to give it a chance!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
The film is currently available to view for free at:
It would be great to connect with journalists and film festival directors who could help introduce the film to audiences outside of our current outreach channels.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope viewers experience an honest emotional connection and maybe come away thinking about the world from a different perspective.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How does fear impact our everyday perspective and choices?
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am developing a feature film about a young Asian American man forced to confront long sequestered insecurities as he pursues a relationship beyond friendship with an indeterminate romantic prospect. On the surface it is an unrequited love story, but tonally it is a darker, meditative film that thematically explores the subtle psychological effects of sexual racism and female objectification. I think the script is in a pretty good place now, so I’m starting to seek out potential creative producers.
My creative partner Mimi Jeffries (producer of Dastaar) is also a writer/director and I just produced her latest short film. She’s also working on a feature film that we hope to shoot within the next year.
Interview: October 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Harpreet and Emily drive to New York days after 9/11
Length: 9 minutes 38 seconds
Director: Javian Ashton Le
Producers: Mimi Jeffries & Joseph Mazzella
Writer: Javian Ashton Le
About the writer, director, and producer:
Javian Le is a filmmaker based in New York. His latest short film Dastaar premiered in the narrative shorts competition at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival and is available to view on Vimeo and Short of the Week. He is currently developing his first feature film.
Mimi Jeffries is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Her short film Open Roads won screenwriting awards at the Nantucket & Hollyshorts Film Festivals. She recently completed post-production on her second short film Lily, which was produced and edited by Javian. Mimi holds a BA in Theatre Studies from Yale and an MFA in Film with high honor distinctions from Columbia University.
Key Cast: Sathya Sridharan, Olivia Gilliatt, Moti Margolin, Andrew MacLarty
Looking for: Producers, Film Festival Directors, Journalists.
Made in association with: N/A
Where will it be shown in the next month?
It is available to view for free on Vimeo and Short of the Week.
Release Date: October 24, 2016