Jasmin Mozaffari’s first feature film,Firecrackers, premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim. Since the festival, Jasmin was nominated for a DGC Discovery award, became the first woman to win the coveted Canadian Screen Award for Achievement in Direction and, most recently, joined the Guild! Ahead of Firecrackers release on iTunes, we caught up with Jasmin to discuss her journey from film school to award-winning Director.
JM: I grew a lot as a filmmaker after film school. I made two other short films after making (the student short) Firecrackers in 2013. During that time, I experimented a lot more with improv, and I also decided to make the camera a lot more mobile. When it came time to make the feature Firecrackers, I was much more confident in my abilities as a Director and brought the skills I had honed on my shorts into shooting the feature.
I always knew that Firecrackers was going to be a blend of naturalistic atmosphere and tone with super-heightened stylistic moments. Thea has an incredible talent for making sure spaces feel lived in and real and we were obsessed with making sure everything felt authentic. Simone and I really embraced a lot of hidden cuts and jump cuts in this film. We rarely shot traditional coverage, so the film has a bit of a rough-around-the-edges feel, which was intentional.
On having an ambitious vision on a micro-budget
If you don’t have a lot of money, you need time, especially with a film this ambitious. This meant we cast the actors a year in advance of shooting to start building character through improv. We spent months in prep, ensuring we found the right locations, even bringing our cinematographer and AD into the rehearsals. Everyone was very prepared, which meant we had less to figure out on the day and could move faster.
On telling stories from the intersectional feminist point of view:
Taking an interesctionalist point-of-view means that I need to be constantly acknowledging that feminist portrayals on screen should also consider examinations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability. I will be the first to admit I do not always get this right, but I have made it my mission to honour these explorations more carefully in my work.
Her advice for young aspiring female Directors:
Be bold and unrelenting in your vision. Don’t compare yourself to others. Develop your own unique voice. Never give up.