I know that you did the production work for “Obsessions,” during Covid when there were many restrictions in place. Please tell us when you started filming, and how you were able to complete this production during Covid with restrictions in place. I am sure that you had your share of challenges. How did you overcome these challenges to complete the production?
Honestly speaking, Obsessions was created only to fill the void, Covid had created. Covid had set us all back in time, where most of us were sitting at home, not knowing if and when would we be able to surface back again.
I was all set to do away bigger feature, EMILY, (a film on human trafficking) which was to be shot all over the world. Now with Covid times where travel was not an option, I was motivated to do a film right here in Hollywood. That's when I decided to do, Obsessions.
Once I make a decision, nothing can stop me, or at least that's what I like to believe. Sure it was challenging but I totally thrive on that and was fortunate to handpick my crew and cast who were as ‘bad’ as me :)
Give an example of your most challenging time (s) filming during a pandemic, and how the cast and crew rose to the occasion achieving the success of finishing the film, despite the obstacles given the restrictions in place during Covid?
Every day was a challenge in one way or another, just like life! One has to be ready and have the ‘never give up attitude and we should be able to sail thru… and we did.
Please introduce your lead actors and how they were cast? What is remarkable about the lead actor(s)/actress (es)?
The cast of Obsessions is led by the gorgeous, Olga Safari who plays Maria Breeze, a celebrity, a rock star, someone who has it all and still doesn’t. I’m certain a lot of stars would totally relate to that character. Then we have this wanna be actress, Lily played by Andrea Figliomeni, an amazing actress from New York who gives up acting for a steady job of a journalist but her heart is still in Hollywood and least said, is the biggest fan of Maria Breeze. Danny Pate who plays an upcoming film Director, played by Bobby Slaski and Peter who own a TMZ style gossip magazine played by Kevin Bernstein are the love interests of the leading ladies.
What did you enjoy the most about the filming of “Obsessions?
Unlike my recent film, AFREEN where my writer and I had to really work super hard for more than a year on the research and fact finding, interviewing war journalists, victims of ISIS, and more, Obsessions was fun writing and directing. A good part of the film was shot in Beverly Hills and that was great but a bit restrictive and then shooting on the beaches of Ventura was more fun. I feel from day 1 I could feel my team, both my cast and crew warming up to the overall mood of creating a real ‘thriller’… and I think that itself says a lot.
Please describe the storyline of this film and why you decided to make this feature?
Synopsis - After a freak tragedy, celebrity pop star Maria Breeze and her boyfriend, director Danny Pate arrange for an exclusive tell-all to settle the rumors surrounding her accident. But when Lily Miller, lead reporter of "Off the Record" arrives, the lines between professionalism and fandom quickly begin to shift. As they welcome her into their world, secrets are exposed, trusts are betrayed and truths - more sinister than could be expected - are revealed. As the facade of perfection begins to fade, one thing remains clear. Fame is just an illusion and infamy is an unstoppable obsession.
Why would the audience want to see this film? In your words.
Simply said - total entertainment! Gorgeous actors… Great music. Obsessions is a breath of fresh air… it's fun, it grips you and doesn’t let you go! Even when it ends… you want more!!!
Please describe where you hope to secure distribution of this film. Has there been any interest yet (second question for my knowledge)?
Yes, we’ve been fortunate that Obsessions got its first Official Selection for ‘Best Film’ from a very prestigious film festival and would be screened there in January. We have initiated talks with some distributors too.
What is your anticipated date for distribution/when you hope to have a distribution deal in place for your film?
Honestly, that's too early to say!
How was the story brought to your attention in the first place? I see Sarah Stunt is the screenwriter. Please discuss what you like most about her story.
I already had a story for which I needed someone to work with on the screenplay and dialogues. We had given out a posting for which we got an overwhelming response of talented writers but Sarah’s energy is what appealed to me. The best part about working with Sarah is that she delivers way more than you think she would.
Describe the best thing about working with this particular cast and crew? What were the cast and crew's greatest strengths collectively?
Overall it was and always is a collective effort when you’re making a film. Everyone gave their 100% as it was a welcome change after sitting at home due to Covid for nearly a year. the overall energy was ‘let's do it! I feel we had a great cast and an amazing post and visual effects team without which we would have never achieved the amazing look that we were able to, at the end of it.
Please describe your directing style on this film, and also please elaborate a bit about your accomplishments.
There is no particular style as such, for me, it's always about telling a story and touching the hearts of my audience. I’m told I did very well with my last film, AFREEN which has won over 60 Awards, nominations including National awards from all over the world. AFREEN was about terrorism, the consequences of war, western worlds vs Jihad and so much more but the core of the film was a love story. Obsessions is simply a thriller which is designed for people to watch and enjoy… a total whodunnit where you would think something would happen and the exact opposite surprises you. An overall glamorous film with gorgeous actors, amazing music, and great locations.
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