After her family immigrated to the U.S. from India in the 1970s, Meera Menon split her time between Indian dance concerts, the mall and filming her friends in the backyard with her father's camcorders. She grew up in a house of artistsand now with "Farah Goes Bang," has finally finished her first feature film in the form of an extremely personal ode to adventurous youth.
What it's about: "FARAH GOES BANG is a road movie about a young woman in her early twenties hitting the campaign trail for John Kerry in 2004 with two of her best friends. Along the way, and encouraged by her friends, she tries to lose her long lingering virginity. FGB is a valentine to the adventure of youth, female friendship, and political idealism."
What else should audiences know: "FARAH GOES BANG is about the humor and heartache that comes with the loss of innocence, for both an individual and for a country. In the US, we have been at war for an entire decade, the length of my twenties. I believe it has been a formative period of time for a generation, and FARAH GOES BANG tries to explore that by setting a funny, personal story against the cruder realities of this politically volatile decade. Within this context, we wanted to create a set of characters that aren't often seen as "American," but who are in fact a total part of American life.
Our three leads, Nikohl Boosheri (Farah), Kandis Erickson (KJ), and Kiran Deol (Roopa), created the heart of this film. The relationships they formed with each other are real, as is the love and light that pours out of it. As such, the film is an incredibly personal document of a moment in time for everyone involved."
What was the biggest challenge in developing the project: "As is probably the case with any small budget film, the biggest challenge in developing this project was how to balance what was ideal with what was possible. The big ideas in the script were consistently challenged by the necessary restraints of working with limited resources. Every step in making this film required a sort of negotiation between the two. This to me, however, is the most satisfying point of tension to try and relieve while making anything."
What they hope audiences will walk away with: "I would like audiences to feel connected to the story and see aspects of their own friendships and journeys mirrored in the experiences of our three main characters. I hope the film encourages a sense of appreciation for those moments in a culture and in a life that inspire great hope, great passion, and great friendship. I also hope that the sense of time and place evoked by setting our story in 2004 will make people think about how the world has changed since then, if at all.
But mainly, I hope people laugh. A lot."
On films that inspired them: "At its heart FARAH GOES BANG is an ode to those tales of the young, hip, and lost that I loved growing up- THE BREAKFAST CLUB, CLERKS, DAZED AND CONFUSED. And then of course THE GRADUATE, which was a singular reference point for us in creating our quietly confused protagonist, lightly stumbling towards her sense of purpose in the world. Writer/producer Laura Goode and I were also inspired by the spirit of female friendship and adventure in THELMA & LOUISE, and we admire the play between personal and political in films like Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN and THE DREAMERS. The sentimental, nostalgic tone draws more from TV shows like THE WONDER YEARS and FREAKS AND GEEKS."
What's next: "Laura and I are developing a few feature ideas for her to write and for me to direct. Laura is currently working on a script about an Indian American family's story set in New York City, focusing on the relationship between a father and his three daughters, and loosely based on the structure of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. We are also interested in creating more political content. I made a five minute short film at USC about the Mark Sanford affair called "Mark in Argentina," and I always think about how his weepy press conference in 2009 would make an excellent opening sequence to a story about how when the mighty fall in America, it really is quite a show."
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.