Ok this is more going to sound like bragging and self glorification, but I guess that’s what all small budget filmmakers and independent directors do until they can afford to pay for someone who does marketing for them later on? Anyway my UCLA directing thesis film “The Voice Recorder” has won the best narrative short title in UCLA film festival after being voted first by the entire student body of the undergrad film program.
The project is my final thesis film for film directing class FTV170 conducted by professor Mia Trachinger and is the result of six months of preproduction, production and post. It is produced by my two good friends Lizet Lopez and Havier Mendoza and will hopefully be getting into festival circles starting this coming September. My lead actress Vaneh Assadurian who I’m so proud of her work gave so much more to this project and I couldn’t be happier with everything that she added to the main character called Sayeh.
Beside Vaneh I had the pleasure of working with a group of talented actors including Marcia Walters, David Stewart, Robert Hernandez and Juan Kanubi who all added so much to this project and made it find its way into UCLA festival’s opening night screening.
The Voice Recorder is the story of Sayeh, an Iranian immigrant film student, who finds it difficult to adjust with her new life in Los Angeles. When a professor disrespects her Iranian heritage, she leaves the class furiously, but later in a tire shop, waiting to fix her car’s flat tire she finds a recording of a conversation between the same professor and the Dean of her division, both of whom in private make direct racial jokes about Sayeh’s ethnicity. Determined to use the audio against them, she is inadvertently confronted with her own bigotry, which much to her surprise is not any better than that of her professors.
“The Voice Recorder” is not only the reflection of my thoughts on life in Los Angeles four years after my immigration but also a recognition of the fact that things are pretty much the same everywhere else. I have lived most of my life in Iran, a country with roughly 99% Muslim population feeling a foreigner for being of Armenian descent, so I think that the sense of not belonging to a culture and lifestyle had its roots in me from a very early stage. Yet this experience intensified once I went back to my ancestral Armenia where I couldn’t connect well with fellow Armenians and things became even rougher when I moved to Los Angeles. However, I realized that I should eventually come in terms with this transnational identity sense of alienation with my surrounding world; a process very similar to which my heroine goes through in this film. The racial issues in America are simply a part of the life in Los Angeles and although there is too much stress about it in media it still is just another element that gives one the feeling of not belonging.
I will soon post the names of all the cast and crew who were a part of this project and I hope they all feel fulfilled seeing their work on big screen during the festival.