05 Nov 15 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS WITH DESIREE AKHAVAN
15 Questions and 15 Answers with APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR’s Director-writer-actress, Desiree Akhavan
BRIAN HU: GIVE US YOUR BEST 15-WORD PITCH FOR APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR.
DESIREE AKHAVAN: Woman struggles to win back her ex girlfriend and come out to her Iranian family.
HU: A LOT OF PEOPLE IN FILM HAVE MOVED ON TO WEB VIDEOS. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO THE REVERSE?
AKHAVAN: It wasn’t a strategic choice, but one of necessity. I could make a web series for no money, pulling in favors and performing most of the roles (writer/director/producer/editor) along with my co-creator Ingrid Jungerman.
HU: YOUR CHARACTER IN THE FILM TEACHES MEDIA-MAKING TO KIDS. AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO MAKE FILMS?
AKHAVAN: I started writing plays around 9. I kept writing and performing in plays for years, but it wasn’t until I got to college that I considered filmmaking an option.
HU: HAVE YOU DONE ANY TEACHING YOURSELF?
AKHAVAN: A little bit and I’m absolutely horrible at it.
HU: WHAT DOES INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING MEAN TO YOU?
AKHAVAN: It means telling stories outside the norm of narratives we’ve seen regurgitated over and over again in mainstream films.
HU: COULD YOU SHARE A BEHIND-THE-SCENES STORY?
AKHAVAN: On our first day we were filming a scene where I had to throw a strap-on dildo and harness into a dumpster, only to pull it back out and walk away with it dangling from my hand. As soon as we had set up, a herd of trucks and their respective drivers arrived, and upon seeing me and my strap-on they assumed we were shooting a porn. They caused a big fuss and tried to shut us down. One man literally booed at me during a take.
HU: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SHOOTING IN NEW YORK?
AKHAVAN: The best thing about shooting in NY- the proximity to amazing crew and actors and of course it always looks spectacular.
HU: WHAT DO YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT SHOOTING IN NEW YORK?
AKHAVAN: I hate always being in everyone’s way.
HU: FAVORITE NEW YORK MOVIES?
AKHAVAN: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER/ ANNIE HALL/ KLUTE/ KRAMER VS KRAMER/ TOOTSIE/ PARIS IS BURNING… there are just too many to list.
HU: FAVORITE MOVIE ABOUT SECOND GENERATION IMMIGRANTS?
AKHAVAN: EAST IS EAST
HU: WHAT’S A MOVIE THAT RECENTLY MAKE YOU LAUGH?
AKHAVAN: The TO DO LIST. It reminded me of my favorite 80’s films like BETTER OFF DEAD.
HU: IF YOU WERE DANCING TO ANY SONG WHILE NOBODY WAS LOOKING, WHAT IT WOULD BE?
AKHAVAN: I do this quite a lot. Usually in the AM. Quite often naked. My top song is Shirley Ellis’ “The Clapping Song”.
HU: YOUR GO-TO FOOD TRUCK IN NEW YORK?
AKHAVAN: Cool Haus Ice Cream!
HU: YOUR GO-TO KARAOKE SONG?
AKHAVAN: This is the best question I’ve been asked in a long time. If I’m feeling performative I’ll go with “Wicked Game” (Chris Issak) & “Zero” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs).
HU: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO MOST AT THE SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL?
AKHAVAN: I’m excited to see Jess Dela Merced’s HYPEBEASTS!
Watch APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR and meet Desiree Akhavan at the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Saturday, November 8, 3:10pm at the UltraStar Cinemas, Mission Valley. Tickets, trailer, and more info available at this link.