#miniMUFF Profile: Jasmin Mozaffari & Caitlin Grabham
“The main goal of our filmmaking is to explore ideas that stem from a feminist perspective, but are not limited to stories about only female characters.”
Have you been on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out what amazing short film we would be pairing with this month’s screening of All I Wanna Do? Well… drum roll, please! Our August Mini MUFF selection is Firecrackers, directed by Jasmin Mozaffari and produced by Caitlin Grabham.
Although, had you been following MUFF’s Facebook page (which you definitely already are but in case you’re not you can do so here), you would have already seen this announcement on our All I Wanna Do event page! Aaaaaaand you would have also seen that Jasmin and Caitlin will both be in attendance for the screening — it’s not to be missed!
Lou and Chantal are gonna blow up. One day. Somehow. But girls don’t get out of Coberge, Ontario by playing nice. All they’ve ever wanted, was to feel what it’s like to be free.
Jasmin and Caitlin met at Ryerson University through the Film Studies program. Although Caitlin was already looking into film school at just 14 years old (having a love of photography and group projects), Jasmin says it took her some time before she figured out that she wanted to be a filmmaker. “On the one hand, I like making films because I like the medium and I have always loved visual storytelling, whether it be through drawing, photography or film. On the other hand, I am a filmmaker because I want to create the stories that I’ve always desired to see represented on screen — especially ones that centre around complex and varied female experiences.”
Caitlin, although she knew she wanted to be in film, didn’t catch the producing bug until after she started attending Ryerson. On being a filmmaker she says, “I like seeing a project through from beginning to end and watching it grow and develop and change. Filmmaking challenges me in many ways, but I find it to be very rewarding. I find it necessary now to focus on projects not only about women, but most importantly by women. That is the kind of content I am drawn to watching and it is the content that I am drawn to making.”
Firecrackers was the thesis project for both Jasmin and Caitlin in their last year at Ryerson. It had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and has gone on to screen at a number of festivals across Canada and internationally. We think it’s a perfect pairing forAll I Wanna Do. While different in tone, both films star strong, unapologetic women who are struggling for freedom and who understand the important role of friendship and believing in yourself when it comes to reaching your goals.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT FIRECRACKERS?
Jasmin Mozaffari: Firecrackers was the film Caitlin and I made as our thesis project in our last year of film school. I had wanted to make a film about females who were completely unapologetic about the decisions that they made in life. I’m also quite interested in the idea of females and freedom or the lack thereof. Firecrackers explores a world where two female best friends feel trapped in their physical world (Northern Ontario) but also trapped by the constraints of misogyny and limited circumstance.
I had lived in small Northern towns as a child and incorporated my memories of that atmosphere into the film. The characters are sort of loosely based on girls I knew growing up who were very confident and assured in their sexuality and had a fascinating wayward sense about them.
Caitlin Grabham: The first time Jasmin talked to me about Firecrackers I knew I wanted to produce it. I could relate to the characters and I wanted to see their story on screen. I felt it really stood out from a lot of the other shorts I had been involved with in school.
The shoot itself was the most challenging we have ever done. We had to travel all over Ontario to get the look and feel of the town. We had two months of pre-production and six days to shoot so it came together quite quickly.
TELL US ABOUT WHY YOU ARE A FEMINIST AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOUR FILMMAKING.
JM: I am a feminist because, quite frankly, I need to be. It’s impossible for me to turn a blind eye to the inequality, mistreatment and misrepresentation of women that still exists in the world today. I consider being a feminist such an integral part of my identity, and thus it’s only natural that some feminist ideas will manifest in the films that I create.
I think, for Caitlin and I, the main goal of our filmmaking is to explore ideas that stem from a feminist perspective, but are not limited to stories about only female characters. For us, feminism is linked to not only female issues and perspectives, but also ideas surrounding race, gender, misogyny, and the constructs of the notions of masculinity and femininity. With the films we produce, the aim is not so much to push a particular viewpoint onto the audience, but rather to make the viewer question their own perspectives and feelings about these aforementioned subjects.
CG: I completely agree with everything Jasmin spoke to. I would love to see the industry become more diverse in so many ways and film is an important tool that helps to shape and influence our culture. I love when I can relate to and feel empowered by the films and television I watch and I really can feel the sense of community this brings to women, especially in our industry.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WOMEN WORKING IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?
JM: Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Emily Kai Bock, Amy Schumer.
CG: Jenji Kohan and my Sherman-Palladino. Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson.
IF A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE WAS CAST/CREATED, WHO WOULD STAR AS YOU AND WHAT GENRE WOULD IT BE?
JM: If it was a comedy? Jenny Slate. If it were a drama? Felicity Jones.
CG: at Dennings in a dark comedy.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT FILMMAKING YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
JM: Trust your gut.
CG: Films can be made good, fast or cheap, but rarely can they be all three.
WHO IS THE BEST/SUPERIOR BATMAN?
JM: Michael Keaton.
CG: I haven’t seen enough Batman films to answer this accurately.
PUT TOGETHER YOUR DREAM TEAM (WITH YOU IN ONE OF THE ROLES, OBVS!)
JM: This is a hard question because it’s hard to just choose one person for each of the roles. I really love the cinematography of Sara Mishara, Robbie Ryan, and Harris Savides — so working with any of them would be a dream. As for actors, if I were to dream big, I think I would like to work with Charlize Theron — I was quite amazed at her underrated performance in Young Adult and she obviously has quite a range.
CG: I really love Diablo Cody’s writing. And Tilda Swinton is amazing in anything she does.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO JAM?
JM: This changes all the time, but for now I will put “Heavy Metal and Reflective” by Azealia Banks.
CG: Right now I can’t seem to get through a day without listening to “Wish You Would” by Mykki Blanco.
WHAT MALE POP CULTURE ICON OR MOVIE/TV CHARACTER ARE YOU DREAMING WOULD GET A GENDER-SWAP?
JM: James Bond.
CG: Definitely James Bond.
RECOMMEND ONE #MUFFAPPROVED FILM FOR OUR BLOG READERS.
JM: Fish Tank, directed by Andrea Arnold.
CG: The To Do List, directed by Maggie Carey.
You can learn more about Jasmin and Caitlin’s projects through their production company, Prowler Film.