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“Marjaneh Moghimi, the Lead Producer of the Film, Unfortunately Passed Away” | Babak Jalali, Fremont

Anaita Wali Zada in Fremont (photo by Laura Valladao)Anaita Wali Zada in Fremont (Photo by Laura Valladao)

Every production faces unexpected obstructions that require creative solutions and conceptual rethinking. What was an unforeseen obstacle, crisis, or simply unpredictable event you had to respond to, and how did this event impact or cause you to rethink your film?

The way Fremont went into production was influenced by a very sad event. Marjaneh Moghimi, the lead producer of the film, unfortunately passed away a couple of weeks into pre-production, which was also about two weeks before we started shooting. This was a film we had worked on together for a few years. Once we knew about her condition, the rest of the producers (Sudnya Shroff, George Rush, Laura Wagner, Chris Martin) and I moved quickly to make sure that Marjaneh knew the film was going to be made.

So I would say the main unpredictable event and challenge was organizing pre-production and production in such a quick time. 

Rachael Fung came onboard and took control as lead-producer, and this gave a huge boost to the project in order to get it organized and off the ground. Her professionalism and sense of calmness under intense pressure exemplified how a proper producer makes sure obstacles remain mere barriers. And this gave me the confidence that I could make the film that I had imagined making. 

Sudnya Shroff, being local to the area, was of enormous help in enabling us to find and secure locations as well as make sure those who were not local to the area felt at home. Her multi-tasking and problem-solving abilities proved crucial in making sure the film moved forward.

The rest of the production team and the crew were all onboard with the spirit the film was being made in and this I found very moving.

In times when things move very quickly and come out of the blue, it reconfirms that having generous and dedicated people alongside you is vital.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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