is an Iranian-born, Montreal-based filmmaker. In 2005 she was selected to participate in the Berlinale Talent Campus as a writer-director. She created a short documentary, “Féminin, Masculin,” for Why Democracy? projects, co-produced by Steps International, Zdf/Arte, and Goethe-Institut. She co-wrote, co-produced, and interpreted in “The Pot and the Oak
,” a feature film that had its world premiere in the 2017 Bright Future
Competition Section of The International Film Festival Rotterdam.
” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 8.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
Sf: Written and directed in the form of variation in music, “Ava
” portrays what women are confronting in Iranian society today with the cinematographic aesthetic of a country in which there are restrictions on portraying women. It tells the story of a 17-year-old girl who is banished from society because she wants to be different.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
” depicts a kind of lifestyle that I experienced as a woman in a traditional society like Iran. My main inspiration in making “Ava
” is to examine the role and influence of women in Iranian society and the taboos that have been engraved in my mind.
My point of departure is a mother and a daughter in a small society called home — mother as a person who gives birth to and nurtures her daughter as the following generation.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
Sf: As the writer-director, I would prefer each audience member have a different interpretation of what they see in the film.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
Sf: The biggest challenge was to work as a woman director in a patriarchal society. This experience made me more solid and willful as a female director.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
Sf: It was a long process. First, I tried to find a producer. I didn’t find one, so I decided to produce the film along with my colleague. “Ava
” couldn’t be created without the love and support of Le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec, The Canada Council for the Arts, and Doha Film Institute, who supported us all along this long journey.
W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?
Sf: It means a lot to me. I am delighted and cherish this opportunity every morning I wake up. It is my first step toward the professional world, and it’s at an important and prestigious festival! I am grateful.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
Sf: Best advice: Work hard on your first feature, which is your launch pad.
Worst advice: It is better for a woman not to make a film about a female subject.
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
Sf: To believe in themselves. To be courageous and share their stories. To work hard and never give up. To help each other and stay tight.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
Sf: Lynne Ramsay
and Agnès Varda
are my favorite women directors.
Most of their films are very personal and they are related to their inner feeling as a woman towards the world around them.
W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.
Sf: I am positive. But I think there is still lot to do and a long way to go.
Tiff 2017 Women Directors: Meet Sadaf Foroughi
” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.