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Nazli Khodabandeh Lou talks to Examiner about the success of her short films

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Hi Nazli, since we last interviewed you, you have been a busy girl, not to mention the success you’ve been having with your short films, ‘For the birds’ and ‘Parts of disease’. How exciting has this been for you and what film is your personal favorite?

It has been a busy period and very exciting to see both projects blossom. Of course, both projects have been a pleasure to be a part of, but ‘For the Birds’ has been very close to my heart due to the topic.

What led you to being involved with ‘For the birds’ and how did you prepare for this role?

I was introduced to the director of ‘For the Birds’ and when she told me the synopsis, I was taken back and inspired by the message this movie would deliver to the world. The story is based on a true story and I remember hearing when this horrible act happened. Preparing for the part took many months of research and character development. It was not a light role to take on, but it was important to me, therefore I did all it took to make sure I brought this topic to the surface as best as I can.

‘For the birds’ has won best short at the Cleveland Film Festival, Spokane Film Festival, Best Female director for short films at the Directors Guild of America and World of Women Cinema in Sydney. Which award and festival out of all of these, surprised you the most and why?

It's always a surprise when a project one is involved in wins a prize. It’s part of the process and journey a project takes. I am glad that ‘For the Birds’ has been so successful as my main objective was to raise awareness on juvenile executions that are still happening in many parts the world and to take a step closer to putting a stop to it.

Having received all these awards and recognition for ‘For the birds’, it seems to have created a domino effect for more nominations in other Film Festivals, including: Cannes, Montreal, Vancouver, Sedona, Rome, Bend, New Port Beach, Hollywood Reel, New Film Maker LA, Cinequest, Denmark and the movie is getting into more almost every month. How does this feel to touch so many audiences worldwide and be a part of short film history?

It was my goal to touch audiences globally, so it feels great that the movie is being seen in so many countries. The reception everywhere has been overwhelming and has brought this issue to the surface! If ‘For the Birds’ gets to save one life, I believe we have made a difference, but our work does not stop there!

What would you like audiences to take away with them after seeing ‘For the birds’?

The knowledge that juvenile executions are still happening and that we need to put a stop to it. We who live in absolute human freedom are very privileged and need to know that this is still happening to innocent children who deserve justice. Also, hopefully move the audience enough to help us spread the message and make a change.

‘Parts of disease’ was screened at the Pan African Film Festival in LA. You were cast in this Independent feature film where you play the wife of a potential terrorist and also an FBI agent who is heavily involved in an investigation. What drew you to these roles and what did you learn from getting into these characters?

I was informed of the role, I auditioned and was lucky to be picked. It was interesting to me to portray a Middle Eastern woman being stuck between who she is and the job she has to do. I learned that we see this happen in our everyday lives where we pass judgment based on what we see and hear.

The movie received great reviews, what would you like the audiences to take away with them after seeing ‘Parts of disease’?

That we all play a role in being part of the problem or solution.

You are also part of the Persian Improv Comedy Group and recently had some exciting news when you were selected out of around 600 people for the Persian version of SNL (Saturday Night Live). How did this happen and was this always a dream of yours?

A few months ago I was approached to audition for the group and I was one of the few to be picked out of over 600 people who auditioned. I love improv comedy so it’s a pleasure and a privilege working with this talented group.

This is all really exciting stuff happening for you Nazli, what can we expect to see you involved with next?

I am currently focusing on the improv shows as well as working with the director of ‘For the Birds’ on the next project that is a feature film.

Last, but not least, what is your advice to other artists trying to make it and dealing with struggles along the way, what kept you from giving up?

I always say be realistic, know your skills and trust yourself. It’s a very tough business we are in and very unpredictable, so it’s easy to be on a high one day and on a low the very next day. Just believe and love what you do. Giving up was and will not be an option for me.

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