Hesam Dehghani

TRAIN STATION Director's Corner: Location Location!

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some observations and experiences from the "Director's Corner" of our most recent film, Train Station. Check out the stories, ideas, and experiences that make up one of the world's most unique film experiences!__________________________________________________________________

How did local culture and mentality influence our filmmakers?

Ready for My Close-Up: Behind-the-Scenes with George Korgianitis' segment

For a film that was made with the help of tens of filmmakers from all over the world, we would also expect local culture and mentality to play a part in some of our film's segments.

To some however it was not something that left an imprint on their directing vision. “I don't believe Greek culture or mentality influenced or is visible in my segment.” Athanasia Michopoulou says.

Aditya Pawar shares the same sentiment: ”There is no local or cultural influence in my segment as you can see most of the aesthetics were from Asian cinema.” 

Yango González, from Columbia, feels his segment is more the result of “children imagination than a cultural interpretation. The kids could be from anywhere else.” as parents from all over the world can attest.

Southern Hospitality: Behind-the-Scenes with Daniel Montoya's segment

To those that did feel influenced by local culture, let's look into how the influence worked....

Daniel Montoya: “It had a huge influence! We decided to write the script using a lot common phrases from the South.“

George Korgianitis: “Actually, the local culture and mentality, made this shooting/project possible! The willingness, passion, creativity, hard work and good hearts of all local collaborators who helped make it happen, regardless of the effort or economic rewards. I'm really grateful to them all!”

Some of our filmmakers shared some of their culture's best and worst aspects.

“Local culture and mentality reflected on my segment in many ways. From the dialogues to the costume design for the actresses. While "helping other people" (especially women) is a valued morality in Iran, there are some negative behaviours that we do, mostly unwillingly. So, a part of our culture (both good and bad) can be seen in my segment.” Hesam Dehghani says.

Nicola Barnaba talks about one of man's most harmful emotions: “My segment is about jealousy, and in Italy we know a lot about that. So I thought of the worst reaction a man could have is discovering his wife cheating on him.” Spoiler alert: Things don't end very nicely.

Love & Hate: Behind-the-scenes with Surya Balakrishnan's segment

Surya Balakrishnan talks about the contrasting aspects of Mumbai, India, and the influence in had on her segment: “The city has a strange chaos, ones loves it as much as they hate it. I think what reflects in my segment is that their relationship is a love-hate kind. One wants to leave, but they can't. One enjoys being together, yet they don't want to. And they want more from it at all times.”

A Bit More Blood: Behind-the-Scenes with Todd Felderstein's segment

Todd Felderstein: “Los Angeles is a multi-cultural town. My segment features actors from a variety of cultures, ages and backgrounds, all featured in order to tell the story.

Xavier Agudo: “We shot on location at the Street Fair celebration of the unification of Germany in front of the emblematic Brandenburg Gate. So can´t think of any more influential from the local German culture to find in my segment. However I am not German, so I have an outsider´s vision of what the local culture and mentality is. And trying to bring my own mentality and culture into the German one brings an interesting mix of visions in how the segment was produced.”

In conclusion how much culture you put in when you're cooking your film is a matter of taste, and you can make a very delicious film with or without it. Hmm, I'm suddenly feeling very peckish.

Compiled by Train Station director, Adrian Tudor.

Train Station premiered in November 2015 and is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit. Worldwide release coming 2016. Keep your eyes peeled to CollabFeature.com!




Featured Filmmaker: Hesam Dehghani

The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators.

Hesam DehghaniHesam Dehghani, from Tehran, Iran, first learned of CollabFeature from the film website mandy.com. He was intrigued by the opportunity to work on an international project with filmmakers from around the world, and has been impressed with the diversity of cultures on the Train Station project:

Hesam Dehghani: “Working on a project with other filmmakers from different countries is a unique experience. In this system, you should put away your own likes and dislikes and learn to ‘collaborate’ with other artists. It is amazing and you learn so much from others.”

Hesam’s segment in Train Station begins when Man in Brown, or in his case, Woman in Brown (played by Shirin Esmaeeli), accepts the offer of two strangers to give her a ride home after she was unnerved by a mysterious man who she thought was following her. However, the seemingly friendly strangers make her even more uncomfortable when they ask inappropriate and probing questions about her life.

HD: “I wanted to have some kind of twist in my segment, and working on that ‘nice’ couple was a good point to start. I had two minutes to convey the feeling of escaping from one uncomfortable situation and falling into another one, by the ones who were supposed to help you come out of the first one!”

The shoot took two days at a cost of 150 million Rials (about $5,000 USD), and was financed by Hesam’s production company, Persian Magic. The shoot had a 10-person crew and used a Sony EX3 camera.

Locations were in the city of Tehran, the capital of Iran.

HD: “I specially selected the route and direction of the ride in a way that The Milad Tower, which is the symbol of Tehran, can be seen in the background. We also used it as a main background of the walking footage.

Tehran is a very large city, with 10 million people living in it. It is the third largest city in the Middle East and you can see both old and modern buildings in it. South of Tehran is kind of old, with more population and north of Tehran is modern, with skyscrapers. The streets are wider and lush and houses are more pricey.”

The actors in Hesam’s segment are all speaking Persian, and their wardrobe is typical everyday Iranian dress. Though to an untrained eye the wardrobe seems similar to that in other Middle Eastern countries, there are important differences.

HD: “Many people who live in western countries think that Iran is an Arab country and women wear the same dress as Arab women do. Although Iran is an Islamic country, here women and girls do not wear that kind of dress. They do not cover their faces, and men do not wear Dishdasha (that special dress that Arabs wear).

Also, some Westerners think that Tehran is a desert, and that people ride on camels and live in tents! Sometimes my friends in other countries ask me “do you have the internet in your country?”… and that annoys me a lot. Having a segment in Train Station was a great chance for me to show that these thoughts are not true.”

Interview conducted by Diane Cheklich.

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