Howdy Funky Film Fest Lovin’ Folks!
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2015 kicked off this week and I managed to score an interview with the director of opening night film “Desert Dancer” the true story of Afshin Gaffarian, the Iranian man who defied his government and set up an underground dance company. The film stars Reece Ritchie (as Gaffarian), Freida Pinto, and Tom Cullen and is Raymond’s feature directing debut. It’s a beautiful film made more lovely from the choreography by Akram Khan. It will be released stateside in April by Relativity Media.
We sat down for a chat at the El Encanto hotel in a private room full of wine and Dom Perignon (we didn’t drink any, thanks!)
Topics discussed include:
The quick Desert Dancer pitch
How producing a film can also prep you for directing a film
Bringing Philip Ridley back out of retirement
How avoiding the British Gas Board led to a job in cinema in Pinewood Studios
Richard’s early homemade movies
Working with Richard Attenborough and Anthony Hopkins on Shadowlands
Working with Jon Croker on the script and meeting Afshin Ghaffarian
How instinct works better than storyboarding and blocking
His loathing for shooting on digital and how film increases the stakes
Shooting in Morocco and Paris and London
Getting extras from Twitter
Working with Akram Khan and how Khan’s own story mirrors the film’s message
Ideas about capturing dance on film
Landing Reese Ritchie for the lead role
Shooting a test film in Jordan and a tale of intolerance
The Sisyphean struggle of making a film
How funding came from a former Russian dancer and Florida’s Youngarts.org
Richard’s next film, Freetown and the story of David Richards
Keeping Sierra Leone on the radar after ebola
The trailer for Desert Dancer
Thanks to Andrea Sumpter and Relativity Media for helping set this up.
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