Keyvan Sheikhalishahi is a 19-year-old film director and screenwriter. After several amateur films made as a young teenager, he made his first short film ‘Vesper’ when he was 18 with German film star Götz Otto who he knew from a very early age by ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. Götz Otto and Agnès Godey star in this thriller short film as two characters haunted by the past and the stars. Otto particularly portrays a mysterious ghost who haunts his wife and makes her face reality. The short won more than 40 awards in international film festivals.
Now, Keyvan has just finished his new short film, ‘Nox’, a suspense thriller short film with Matt Passmore, the Australian film star of ‘The Glades’, ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘Jigsaw’. While we’re waiting for more infos and the trailer, we only know that Passmore plays a professional and enigmatic burglar alongside Brigitte Millar and Agnès Godey.
London Prestige Interview with Director and Writer Keyvan Sheikhalishahi
London Prestige: How long have you been making films and videos?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I’m making movies since I have a camera, I mean I began when my mother bought a travel camera when I was 11 or 12, but I admit I was already fascinated by my grandfather’s, a DV one.
London Prestige: What is your recent film “Nox” about?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: ‘Nox’ tells the story of two burglars who break into a Senator’s villa on east coast…
London Prestige: How did you go about casting for the film?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I had some ideas in mind, but definitely Matt Passmore I knew when I was a young teenager by ‘The Glades’ was the perfect choice. I mean Matt is a charismatic actor and he has a real screen presence, more over he never did that kind of role. I contacted him and he was immediately interested by the project. You know, it’s always fabulous to work with actors you knew before and who taught you something in cinema and movies just by watching their work and movies.
London Prestige: What do you hope people will take away from the film?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: The movie is about an idea. I mean everyone has ideas, at any time, I mean you’re always wondering what if you were this kind of person, what if you did this and that… The movie is very subjective so I think it is a film and a character everyone can identify with. That was the most exciting part for me and Matt I think, that his character can be the reflection of everyone.
London Prestige: What do you hope to achieve by making the film?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I hope the audience will be entertained by the movie. After, everyone can think about the complexity of the character and maybe learn from it. I mean I hope the film won’t remain indifferent.
London Prestige: When is the next screening and tell us about any competitions/festival submission.
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I’ll tell you in a few weeks when it will be finalized!
London Prestige: Tell us a bit about the other films you’ve made.
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I was so happy that my previous and first short film, ‘Vesper’, won so many awards. It’s always fabulous when your work is recognized by the others and particularly the industry. And we worked very hard with Götz Otto, Agnès Godey, DP Jean-Claude Aumont and composer Gréco Casadesus in particular.
London Prestige: What makes beautiful art in your opinion?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I think in movies a meticulous and creative cinematography with an amazing music can get the audience immersed in the atmosphere of the movie… Recently, you have Hans Zimmer with Roger Deakins in ‘Blade Runner’ or with Hoyte Van Hoytema in ‘Dunkirk’. That’s beautiful art, isn’t it?
London Prestige: Which other documentaries/films that you’ve seen have made an impact on you, personally?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: Of course, I grew up with movies, especially action, thriller movies. I was immediately interested to understand how you make a movie at a very early stage. When I was 5 or 6, I made a lot of comics which were more kind of storyboards to better understand the making of movies. ‘Batman Begins’ was one of them, will definitely never forget this movie.
London Prestige: How has your style evolved?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: With my amateurs movies, I began to make action movies, as a little boy, that made sense. As a teenager, I was certainly happy in my life but had a lot of questions inside myself, still have I think, then watched ‘Mulholland Drive’. I thought, well, that’s what I want to make, without forgetting what I liked before watching a James Bond movie or a Nolan’s one.
London Prestige: What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: Definitely, you have to work hard and know what you want to do. There’s no room for hesitation.
London Prestige: What other hobbies do you have?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: My life’s entirely devoted to making movies. It is definitely a tiring activity with a lot of sleepless nights, but very exciting in the same time!
London Prestige: What are you thinking about doing next?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I’ve something special and secret soon I hope… it’s going to be very exciting!
London Prestige: Where does your studio want to go from here?
Keyvan Sheikhalishahi: I created my film company mainly for my short films, but I receive a lot of movie offers, short films, feature films! I must decline them.
*On the cover photo: Keyvan and Nahid Sheikhalishahi on the set of ‘Nox’