Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Cyrus Neshvad Is Helping To Change Our World

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In my life, I had to face lots of time discrimination for my skin colour, my accent etc. I learned not to get sad when this happens. Instead, as soon as I get unfairly treated, I go home and work more.

As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Cyrus Neshvad.

Cyrus Neshvad is an Iranian film director based in Luxembourg. His short film THE RED SUITCASE has won the Oscar Qualifying Award for the 95th Academy Award. This short has to be considered for Best Live Action Short. The movie was considered as “A NECESSARY FILM” by Oscar Qualifying Tirana Film Festival and Rhode Island Film Festival. This film focuses on the women’s oppression not only in Iran but all over the world even in the West. Feel free to share the trailer.

THE RED SUITCASE (2022) teaser

Cyrus Neshvad is known for Portraitist (2019), Antoine (2014) and The Red Suitcase (2022).

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

As a child, with my parents, I escaped Iran during the revolution. As the airport of Tehran was shot down, there were only buses leaving the country. We got the last bus before the borders got closed. I remember seeing the bombs exploding and thinking that it was a firework. Since then I grew up in Luxembourg.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

As I had difficulties expressing myself with words to people due to our immigration, for me it was then easier to express myself with pictures. And so I came up to drawing pictures to tell stories.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your filmmaking career?

We won the award for the qualifications to the Oscars with THE RED SUITCASE and when I went on stage, I thought it was the Special Mention Award. When they told me that it was the Oscar Qualifying Award I couldn’t talk for a few minutes and the audience began to laugh and I joined them in laughing back. It was a very funny and also emotional moment.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

It was my former cinema professor Tarnovsky, when he explained shot by shot the introduction of Citizen Kane by Orson Welles and the shower scene from Psycho by Hitchcock. It was so interesting to understand how you can use different lenses, light, camera angles, sounds, etc to create a particular emotion.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My colleague director from Egypt. I always thought you needed money to do a short film. He told me you have to do the movie connecting to the money I have. As I had 3.000 euros, we wrote a story which took place in a room of a retirement house. We got nominated for the Luxembourgish Oscars for that short back in 2012.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

In my life, I had to face lots of time discrimination for my skin colour, my accent etc. I learned not to get sad when this happens. Instead, as soon as I get unfairly treated, I go home and work more.

I am very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Diversity is the most important word in my life. The diversity of different flowers in a garden makes the garden much more beautiful. The diversity of different people in the world makes the world much more beautiful.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am writing a feature film about a 6 years old boy who escapes Iran during the revolution and finds shelter in Luxembourg. There in the refugee camp, he gets befriended by an old Russian woman.

Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?

I am very proud of having made THE RED SUITCASE because till today I was scared to tell a story connected to Iran. Today I did it.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

“It’s good, to be honest, and say that you have doubts about this or that to your crew”

By saying this, the crew will feel more comfortable to propose you their ideas.

“When you feel your script is ready means you are not yet ready. Go through the script doctor”

“When you feel your editing is finished means your editing is not ready yet. Go through Test screenings”

When you create a film, which stakeholders have the greatest impact on the artistic and cinematic choices you make? Is it the viewers, the critics, the financiers, or your own personal artistic vision? Can you share a story with us or give an example about what you mean?

I try to keep my own vision but connected also to the viewers because at the end of the day a movie is done for an audience, a movie is done for a cinema room to be filled.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Steven Spielberg, Brian De Palma or James Cameron. Seeing how these directors see the world during breakfast would be a dream.

How can our readers further follow you online?

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Filmmakers Making A Social Impact: Why & How Filmmaker Cyrus Neshvad Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.