Filmmaker Cyrus Yoshi Tabar, a first-generation Iranian-Japanese-American, has a photo of his grandparents holding him as an infant. The photo captures his first and last encounter with them. Seeking to understand the fracture in his family, Cyrus embarks on a journey into the dark and nebulous corners of family history.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Cyrus Yoshi Tabar
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! I started the project with a desire to uncover why there is such a rift in my family, in hopes that this would answer questions I had about my own identity. In the end, I found that it was the quest I took, rather than the terminus, to connect with my family about our history that had the most impact on me.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I think we all have family secrets that have in some way shaped our lives, and this film takes a deep look at what it means to attempt to uncover these secrets.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The way in which our families deal with those darker parts of our history is often times to protect younger and future generations of the family. Sometimes we try to erase certain traumatic pieces of our histories that only end up boiling up to the surface a generation or two later.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I didn’t have much of a script. I started with collecting my family’s home movies and old photo albums just to scan them for memory’s sake. Through this process some questions started floating around in my head, and I began focusing my search on finding out who my family members were and how knowing this might shed light on my own identity. The voice-over in the film came from my daily journal that I kept to document the project. I edited the film as I gathered the materials and eventually this textural and ephemeral style emerged that I think mimics the way memory feels.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
I’ve gotten some great feedback and I’m always eager to hear what people think of it. The film doesn’t really wrap things up in a nice bow at the end, so some people have been a bit put off by this. Life hasn’t ever wrapped anything in a bow for me so far, so I figured this film should echo that.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It has definitely challenged my point of view. I realized that a story that ends in dissonance can dramatically affect an audience in good and bad ways. Others have pushed me to “finish” the film by digging deeper and I respect that wish, but also learned that I prefer to work in a certain dissonance that helps keep my fire burning.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I love sharing my work with any and all who wish to see it! The more the merrier :)
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Hmmm. Good question. I would love to screen the film at more festivals to have a chance to discuss it with others, so I guess festival directors and journalists are welcome!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I just want it to strike up a conversation with those who see it involving its subject matter. I think the film paints with broad strokes that leaves room for the viewer to fill in the gaps with their own histories and memories. I hope it can encourage people to open new dialogues with their family members and friends
.What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Do you really want to know everything about your family?
Would you like to add anything else?
I hope you enjoy my little movie!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m pivoting away from archival material and working on a live-action piece right now. Things are shaping up nicely and I hope to share it with you soon!
Interview: January 2017
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
It Is What It Is
As filmmaker Cyrus Yoshi Tabar digs deep into his family history for answers to questions that have shaped his life, he finds that there are some things that might be better off left in the past.
Director: Cyrus Yoshi Tabar
Producer: Cyrus Yoshi Tabar
Writer: Cyrus Yoshi Tabar
About the writer, director and producer:
Cyrus Yoshi Tabar is an American filmmaker based in Oakland, California. He uses filmmaking to explore personal histories in perpetual motion.
Key cast: Cyrus Yoshi Tabar, Afsaneh Tabar, Roxane Pate
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Film festival directors, journalists
Where can I see it in the next month? Slamdance 2017