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Zahra Shahsavari - Issue One Full Interview

1. How do you find new people to work with? 

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some amazing creatives while at University in London! This has led me to building a really great crew which I can work with for the majority of my projects, but I also like to reach out to people via Instagram. It’s a great platform to see people’s work and connect with those who are in the area. 

2. What has been your favourite project so far? 

My favourite project so far has been the new Spilt Milk Music Video for Moving Target, which I directed and edited! It’s the first time I’ve ever directed a music video, and it was something I was super excited (and also incredibly nervous) to do. There was so much preparation involved and we were taking such a small crew of only 4 of us! So we had to ensure everything was planned perfectly as our days were limited with the boys. Luckily most things went to plan, but it was quite a challenge, especially when we had 25+ extras taking part in a mini rave during a live band performance. That was definitely the highlight of the shoot haha! 

3. Which filmmakers inspire you? 

Greta Gerwig is someone who really inspires me as a filmmaker. She has recently broke out into mainstream Hollywood and it’s great to see more female representation in a male dominated industry. Taika Watiti is another filmmaker who really inspires me, due to his mixed-race background, it was something that I could relate to. Likewise, his style of filmmaking and the way he captures people’s attention to his storytelling is something I would love to achieve. 

4. Do you think there has been a gender imbalance in the film industry? If so, what can we do to reduce that imbalance? 

Yes I do think there has been a gender imbalance in the film industry. The majority of crew and top creatives roles in Hollywood are still dominated by men. I think the best way to combat that is to make female creative voices heard and give them a platform to share their work. The simplest way is to support your fellow female creatives whether they’re your friends or someone’s work you have come across online. A share of a post or a nice comment goes a long way in today’s online world. We need to be uplifting each other to spread awareness and rise against gender imbalance in the film industry. 

5. Do you have any stand out experiences in the film industry? 

Nothing in the industry as of yet, but I’m hoping my work over the next year will change that! I’d say a memorable moment was while attending a Short Film Premiere I worked on. During the evening I met the Director and he introduced me to other creatives in the industry and we exchanged contacts. It was a really special first film industry event that I’ll always remember. 

6. Where’s your favourite place to film in the North East? 

I love filming in Newcastle’s city centre. The streets are so vibrant and full of life, plus the buildings and night lights are so stunning to capture. Filming while driving over the bridges and looking out onto the whole city is something really special. I also loved filming at Newcastle Castle during my first work trip to the North East. It was an amazing experience and the view from the roof is incredible, especially during sunset. 

7. Are there any local creatives (musicians/artists/filmmakers) you urge us to check out? 

I would definitely recommend ‘Spilt Milk’, they are a local band from Gateshead, who are bringing something fresh to the indie scene and making their mark across the North East. You can check out their stuff over on Instagram at @spiltmilk_band! 

8. How would you describe your work in 5 words? 

I would describe my work as something fun, energetic, expressive, immersive and uplifting!

Questions by Emily Duff