Mina Malekpour [Tehran- Iran] Filmmaker

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Here on GET OUT we always love to share experiences with other people and let them know more about each one’s potential specially that all of you guys in Kuwait are trying to make a difference.

And I’m so happy to have you on board!

Shall we start Mina?

Tell me about yourself. Where did you grow up? What’s your background? When and what made you get into filmmaking?

Well i’m Persian/Australian. I was born in Tehran, moved to Australia when I was 2…did the whole high school thing there and moved to Kuwait when I was 16. My parents both have a background in Cinema and Theatre so I guess you can say thats where I got it from. But I didnt take it seriously until I was in College.

Did you study filmmaking or it was self-taught?

I learned the basics of film-making in college but i believe the majority of what you learn is self-taught. I took a few classes that involved film and video production when I was doing my bachelors…and I also have a masters in film but personally I think watching a lot of movies def does help boost the learning process quite faster than a degree.

How did your parents take to your desire to becoming a filmmaker?

I mean, it depends on their mood. They didn’t want me to get into this field, especially based on their own experiences, but I think they have come to accept it over time. Mixed reactions.

Do you focus on a specific filmmaking type or you go with everything?

I think as a film-maker, I mean a good film-maker, you should explore different techniques and styles. So that’s what I try to do lately. I try to switch up my style as much as I can. But when it comes to films, I’m def into the abstract/avant garde style of film-making.

Do you have a day job?

Yeah, being awesome. nah, lol. I have had day jobs in the past. I was a post-producer/colorist for a while and I was also the creative director of a company…but day jobs aren’t really my thing. I like to be in control over what I do.

Describe your state of mind just before your very first screening?

I don’t really like sitting in my own screenings. I’m weird about my work like that. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing once your work is being displayed and you have that sense of achievement but when it comes to sitting in a big crowd and watching your own work… Im adjusting to it.

What was the BUDGET of the film?

What budget? This is one of the most difficult obstacles we come across, especially here in the region. The budget. My last budget was out of my own pocket (for the film INFINITY) and I spent like 1000kd for that. Unfortunately there isnt much support out there to fund film-makers here, especially in Kuwait.

Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

No. I always wanted to be a musician but I never had the singing voice…and I didn’t just want to play an instrument in the band or orchestra. I still do play the guitar but it’s just for fun.

What inspired you to become one?

I’ve always had a creative mind. Ever since I was little, I was always in la la land. Buut what really inspired me was believe or not the movie Scream…and thinking how fun and awesome it would be to make a movie like that haha.

At what age did you finally become one?

Well…the first short I made was when I was 17…but personally I didnt attach the label film-maker to myself until I was 21.

What’s the best thing about being a filmmaker? And the worst?

The best thing is you never get bored. You are consistently doing something new and different and you get to meet a whole bunch of interesting people and experience amazing locations. Not to mention you have created something that expresses what is within you. The worst thing…being a one woman crew and not getting the recognition you truly deserve.

What’s the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

I think between 20-30 projects (including promotions etc).

Who’s your favorite filmmaker?

I have 3. Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick and Wes Craven.

What is your favorite movie?

I can’t choose one. But my top 5 would go like… 1. A clockwork orange 2. Death Proof  3. Drive 4. Romeo and Juliet 5. Scream

How has your life changed from becoming a filmmaker?

A lot and I don’t think its going to be slowing down any time soon. Like I said, it’s never boring and with every project comes another opportunity and a new adventure.

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Tell us more about your filmmaking in Kuwait since you have been here for a while?

Film Making in Kuwait is of course like everywhere else in the world dominated by the male presence.  There are some really good female film-makers here but they are not consistent. No one took me seriously at first when I started out making films here but consistency can do so much for you, especially as an artist. I applied it to myself and I did a lot of free work for people, just to show them what I’m capable of…after that…well…I proved my point basically.  Some months its easy to get projects and some months…well…thats when I travel.

How do you find the scene of filmmaking in Kuwait?

I wish I could say it is moving forward…but….It’s still where it was 3 years ago. In order for that to change…we need funding and support. Music videos however…the Hip Hop scene is changing that and mashallah there’s a lot of good work being produced.

How many project you worked on since you came?

I’ve been back to Kuwait since December last year.. I;ve worked on 4 music videos so far and a bunch of promotional stuff. But i’ve also been shooting my documentary…so I’ve been quite busy.

Any upcoming ones?

There are a few more music videos that i’m planning on shooting within the next few months but the focus right now has shifted towards my documentary. However, I will be shooting my next short film in September…and I;m pretty stoked about that.

One piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in the movie business?

Stay focused…be consistent and make sure you have strong walls that don’t let bullshit affect you.

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