L'Observateur (2019). Sayna Fardaraghi
Exclusive interview with indie filmmaker Sayna Fardaraghi
Via. Sayna Fardaraghi

Since the start of the industry, indie filmmakers have been the heart and soul of the movie industry. With film making tools becoming more and more accessible to the wider public, the field is finally able to be broken through by young creatives. One of these talented makers is Sayna Fardaraghi. Fardaraghi’s most recent work is entitled, “L’Observateur’. The short tells the story of a young girl receiving binoculars for her birthday; a gift that unlocks a love for people-watching. While Sayna is no stranger to creative pursuits, this was by far the most impressive of her creations! Sayna was kind enough to sit down with Scratch Cinema and answer a few of our burning questions about her process.

Via. Sayna Fardaraghi

Scratch Cinema: First of all, thank you so much for kindly taking the time to speak with us. We want to get to know who you are from your own perspective. Can you spend a few words presenting yourself and your work?

Sayna Fardaraghi: Gosh, presenting myself is always so difficult but let’s give it a try! I’m Sayna Fardaraghi, and I’m a creative currently based in Brighton and will soon be moving to a university in London to peruse a career in film and digital arts. My work is heavily influenced by the theme of nostalgia and personal stories, it is a goal of mine to always make people smile but also remind them of things that they may have forgotten.  I think there’s something really magical about making an audience reminisce, smile, but also feel connected to one another purely through distant shared memories. 

SC: You say you are inspired by nostalgia, what memories from your own youth inspired your short? Did you spend a lot of time people-watching?

SF: For L’Observateur it wasn’t specifically my own youth, but stories i collected from other people! The whole thing really started with me people watching and meeting strangers on my daily travels, realizing there are so many sweet untold stories around us that need to be noticed. And so from that I spoke to others and asked for what they look for when people watching, and the stories i was given slowly blossomed into what became the structure of my film!

L’Oservateur (2019). Sayna Fardaraghi.

SC: You’ve mentioned before that L’Observateur was heavily influenced by the works of Wes Anderson. Of course the topic of people watching is a theme in his film Moonrise Kingdom (2012), but did you have his influence in mind during any other areas of your filmmaking process?

SF: I suppose the biggest influence his work has had on me is his close tie to art direction, his set building and close ties to costume is an art directors dreeeeaam! And so when it came to the process of this film it was really important to me to have strong visuals, especially since before doing film i focused more on fine art & design. Seeing his work throughout the years definitely made me realize that it’s okay to have a heavily artistic film, things don’t have to be just one thing or another, you can mix different mediums and still create something exciting.

L’Observateur (2019). Sayna Fardaraghi.

SC: You’ve said that you were not a film student at the time of making L’Observateur, in what ways did that hinder you? Do you think the lack of traditional education & tools helped you in any unconventional ways?

SF: That’s right, not being a film student at the time was difficult because I didn’t have any access to appropriate resources or guidance, it was just me turning this silly idea into a film with the help of my friends. I must say, although it was stressful planning and figuring out how to do certain things, it actually added to the charm of the film but also the whole event of making it, it helped me persevere and creatively think of alternatives to “studio spaces” and proper camera kit. I think moments like these really shape you as an artist but also show the whole charm of filmmaking.  You don’t need to have access to the best things to create something that means a lot to you and (hopefully!) your audience, sometimes turning up to a classroom space with 4 ikea bags filled with props from home can be more than enough to make something magical.  

SC: Finally, what would you say to someone who wanted to pursue filmmaking? 

SF: 3 words: go for it!!!!  If you truly have a passion for something then you must pursue it, don’t ever let the lack of resources or your fears stop you. Just look at your ideas and grab whatever you can to turn them into a reality, and sure sometimes it might feel scary venturing into something new, but if you don’t go into the unfamiliar you won’t feel uncomfortable, and when you don’t feel uncomfortable you can’t challenge yourself to venture into new horizons. 

Ps: I know it’s scary but share the things you make with the people you love and slowly work towards putting your stuff out there, you never know who’s gonna see your work someday, and how much it might mean to them.  ❤️

Special thanks to Sayna Fardaraghi for speaking with us, you can follow her @ ocean.grrl on Instagram and watch L’Observateur below:

Aubrey Carr is a Public Health major with a passion for film. She is a lover of all things horror and holds a love-hate obsession with New French Extremity. She is also a co-creator for Scratch Cinema and enjoys writing about feminist & lesbian issues in film.