VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Piryaei, Shabnam

Shabnam Piryaei
Iranian videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and educational background.

I write every day. My husband is a musician. We spend most of each day writing and practicing in separate rooms of the house.

2. When, how and why did you start filming?

dollhouse, Miriam’s Song, and A Time to Speak are all based on scenes and poetry from my first book “ode to fragile”. I shot all three over the course of two days with a large crew, and completed them over the next three years.
I made the films because there was something about the clarity of the images of those three scenes that I felt needed to be actualized beyond words. I wanted to visually show exactly what I was seeing in my head. And I think there is a natural affinity between the relationship of imagery-to-brevity in a poem and the relationship of imagery-to-brevity in a short film.

3. What kind of subjects do your films involve?

Like any art these films are a reflection of me, the artist, and a reflection of my pre-occupations at the time they were created. So I’d say those particular films deal with loneliness, fragility, and the deep, deep connection between all humans.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc.?

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.

6. What are the chances of the digital video technologies for creating art using “moving images” generally, and for you personally?

I know this isn’t exactly what the question is asking, but the internet excites me as a tool for sharing art. It undoes so many of the existing limitations (particularly financial and that of being forced to decide “where your art fits” in terms of pre-established categories), and so much good art—including film, webisodes, etc.—gain enormous audiences because the work is good, and that’s all it takes for one person to pass it to another and another.

7. How do you finance your films?

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

As a writer I’m most comfortable with, and in fact require, a state of solitude to work.
However, although I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to the films to be, as a director I was involved in a highly collaborative process. And it taught me a great deal about trusting others creatively and being willing to watch your project change and grow in ways that perhaps you hadn’t originally anticipated.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?

Things that inspire me right now are:
– Chapter 23 of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
– Pedro Almodóvar
– Any time a child between the ages of 2 and 6 says anything

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

I’m currently working on a large writing project that I hope to transform into a feature film after the book has been published.

Can works of yours be viewed online besides on the CologneOFF platform? Where?

My website: