Olivia, a young tap-dancer and her uncle, Amir, an actor, struggle with what it means to be Middle-Eastern-American and artists in today's racially divided world.
Interview with Writer/Director Kyra Zagorsky
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thanks! I was compelled to tell this story, which is based on real events that happened to me and my multi-racial family, to expose the many levels of Islamophobia that are happening in North America and around the world. And to inspire artists to take responsibility for the work they put out into the world and to think about how their work can influence our citizens and our culture.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
If you’ve ever been marginalized, bullied or discriminated against you won’t feel alone. If you come from a place of privilege, hopefully you’ll be able to empathize, learn something and be moved to become part of the solution.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The themes of inclusion, discrimination, fear of the unfamiliar and how we perceive those around us who are different will connect with audiences because I created a family who is seen as different but who is as American and relatable as any other American family.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
This film had a very short development and execution process. We made it as part of The Crazy8’s film event in Vancouver, which included a few weeks of script development, but production and post-production happened in a total of eight days. Once we had the concept locked, we set out to shoot exactly what I envisioned – and we pretty much succeeded in that.
The dance segments had to evolve throughout the process. I had to become more and more specific and detailed in the story of the dance. Because the dance drives, underscores and reflects Amir’s emotional journey I needed to be very clear about what each dance segment needed to feel like so the actress, choreographer, cinematographer, composer and myself could stay on the same page.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
The vocal responses during the screenings have been the best. The little involuntary “oohs”, “ahhs” and “oh my God”s you hear from audiences as they’re watching are priceless. Feedback has been incredible. The film is an emotional and eye-opening experience for many. People have felt compelled to share with me their own stories related to discrimination, racism and Islamophobia – that’s how I know this film is speaking to their truth, too.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Some people have been uncomfortable with how far we went with the racist incident in the film – but I think some of that comes from their combination of privilege and guilt – and some of them don’t want to see acts of blatant, ignorant racism depicted. But I refuse to pull punches, and making people uncomfortable as part of this discussion is the whole point. I’m surprised how moved and emotional some people are about the film. Overall, response has been supportive and validating.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I want people to see it. I want people to want to see it. And I want people to discuss the issues that are dealt with in the film – the more this conversation spreads, the better our chances are of effecting change.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We could use journalists to continue the conversation, festivals to help get this film in front of diverse audiences, distributors to help us get this film onto screens and perhaps into schools as a learning tool. And literary representation to help me get more opportunities to tell stories that matter.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I’d like filmmakers and artists to take more accountability for the work they put into the world. I believe artists don’t just reflect culture – we create culture – especially in the film industry. If as content creators we can do a better job of taking responsibility for what we make and by making sure the stories we tell represent a better world, then hopefully we’ll contribute to the healing of this broken culture.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What do the bystanders on the bus do when they witness the racist confrontation? What is their responsibility?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Many members of this team are performers in the Film & TV Industry. Writer/Director Kyra is a regular guest-star on a well-known TV series that we can’t disclose right now. She’s developing a sci-fi script and a drama that revolves around a female war vet. Producer, Patrick Sabongui, working on his fourth season of“The Flash” as Captain David Singh and appearing from time to time throughout the DC Universe: “Arrow” and “Supergirl”. Janene Carleton, our producer and resident World Stunt Award winner, is bouncing around from one top-secret, multi-million dollar feature to another making female movie stars look like super-heroes.
Interview: September 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
Sometimes the world doesn’t treat him that way. But that’s what he is to me
Director: Kyra Zagorsky
Producer: Patrick Sabongui, Janene Carleton, Robin Nielsen, Danielle Stott-Roy
Writer: Kyra Zagorsky
About the writer, director and producer:
(www.imdb.com/name/nm2172012) is an actor, writer and director. She is known for her work as the lead on Ron Moore’s “TV” series, Helix and the Canadian premiere of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar. She has over 30 significant film & “TV” credits as an actor. She holds a BFA in theatre from Southern Oregon University and a Masters’ Degree in Acting from the University of California. Kyra wrote, produced and starred in the award-winning short film CHAINED and produced the award-winning short SHAKEY’S COFFEE. She is the founder and lead instructor of The Actor’s Centre for Transformation and a founding member and Co-artistic Director of Haberdashery Theatre Company.
(www.imdb.com/name/nm1150775) is an actor, producer, director, dad and storyteller. He has produced and/or directed several short films including the award-winning shorts SHAKEY’S COFFEE, CHAINED, ARIEL UNRAVELING, THE LETTER CARRIER (directed by actors Jesse L. Martin [THE FLASH, “RENT”] and Rick Cosnett [VAMPIRE DIARIES, QUANTICO]). As an actor, he has collected well over 100 significant credits including HOMELAND, THE FLASH, SHOOTER, 24, GODZILLA, 300 to name a few. He’s the Co-founder and lead instructor of The Actor’s Center for Transformation and the co-director of Fulfilling Young Artists, a not-for-profit mentorship program for young actors.
Key cast: Lee Majdoub, Ashé Sabongui, Bodhi Sabongui, Brendan Taylor
Looking for sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists.
Social media handles:
Made in association with: Crazy8s Film Society (www.crazy8s.film)
Where can I see it in the next month?
Lady Filmmakers Festival, Beverly Hills, CA
LA Film Festival of Hollywood, CA
First Glance Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA
Savannah Film Festival, Savannah, GA