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AN INTERVIEW WITH Joseph Karimbeik, Producer & DIRECTOR

As a filmmaker, please introduce yourself.

I am Joseph Karimbeik, film and theatre director. I studied at the London Drama Centre in London

Why you became a filmmaker as director?

I am heavily dyslexic so for me telling a story is more about images and my every day hobby as a child was to collect my friends in the street 

and tell them stories and that idea came to me by going with my father to tea houses in Teheran where they had story tellers, a kind of theatre, 

one man show and that gave me a lot of inspiration which made me practice on other children every day.

Give some more information about yourself and the films you have made so far, about your experience?

My first experience of film making was when I made a movie about fishermen in the north of Iran who were forbidden to fish by Shah of Iran 

as for nine months a year they needed to find jobs in other places which brought lots of poverty to people’s life and caused separation 

among families since the men had to go to other cities to work and some of them never came back and prostitution had become more 

and more common and acceptable at the time. This moved me and I had to go and make a film about that. But it was confiscated at the time.

So, when I came to the UK I could not enroll to film school because it was too expensive for me and I had to work as a dishwasher but I was accepted to the London Drama Centre to become a theatre director which was a miracle because it was the most unlikely place for any student to be accepted, especially foreigners, especially with my limited English but obviously they liked my directing abilities of Othello. At the same time 

I became an actor so I played in many movies, theatre and cinema and you can say London Gangstah is my first movie as a director. 

I didn’t find any major challenge I couldn’t handle. The only challenge was that I only had £7000 as a budget that translated in only five days 

shooting with less experienced talent and crew and lack of more sophisticated equipment such as camera’s, cameramen and less qualified editing 

and at the end my partner came to my help in editing without any prior editing experience.

What are the films or people that had impacts on you and deeply inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I could easily see from childhood that cinema at the time was a better option for story telling than story telling alive in tea houses.

One of the latest movies that really inspired me was “Being there” with Peter Sellers, especially of the story and the performance of 

Peter Sellers. But as a child I liked Khartoum where you could see epic sceneries and characters bigger than life portraite on a screen. 

It was much easier to see images of characters bigger than life on screen than describing them on stage in so many words. 

Cinema was the answer for my imagination. That was my discovery.

You have made your film which got official selection in the 

"American Golden Picture International Film Festival" 

As a filmmaker, why you decided to make it?

The real reason is I wanted to show that I can do different genres in one movie. So I would have a better chance to be selected 

by producers for their genres. But also, I had natural locations: the street, a park and a hotel. And I have cut on many things like 

stunts, wardrobe, makeup etc. to be in budget. It was cheaper to use what we had.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this specific film?

I made this movie in five days and my budget was only £7000 as I said above and therefore all the shots were only taken in one take. 

That was a challenge. Also, the editing became a huge challenge as it was hard to find an Editor with reasonable experience within my budget, s

o we had to send the film to Albania to edit but than in the end we had to edit it ourselves as other’s were messing up my story.

Let us more about your experience in this film?

I enjoyed every second of it and I felt like a fish in the water. It was one of my happiest moments in my life 

and I believe I have a lot of ability to direct.

What was it like to work with your team?

My experience tells me that your cast is what you are, and correct casting is the major skill in film making. 

If the casting is correct, actors will do the part easily. 

Every actor must require certain experience and understanding of the character in his life to portray it.

For you what was the biggest lesson you had to learn after making this film?

You have to know how to market and how to sell your film.

What keeps you inspired to continue filmmaking?

The Love of making it.

The most important part is distributing the film. What did you do for distributing this film?

I found out that I know nothing about distributing films.

What are your filmmaking goals? 

I know I have what it takes to make one of the most successful movies of the year, especially artistically and not once, for example my play “UNCLE” which has 29 characters, after I sent it to the National theatre in London they told me if I would edit it to 7 characters they would stage it as otherwise it would be too expensive to produce but I can do this easily with 29 characters in a movie with less budget which is a hot topic of today. I have many projects that are half done, or half written because my mind just jumps from one project to another. I am just waiting for the budget or/and the right producer to start any of them.

What is your next project?

This depends on my producer. I am waiting to meet a producer to start on my next project since 

I am very flexible to do new scripts or my own scripts.


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