INTERVIEW WITH JOSEPH KARIMBEIK
-Can you explain to the audience your career?
I was born in Tehran, Iran, as the son of the working-class Iranian parents Alamtag Ghandehary and Yadolah Karimbeik, a shoemaker. I was brought up in Tehran finished my high school at Darolfonon and immigrated to the UK in 1975 and auditioned for drama school and ultimately I was accepted by the London drama centre where I graduated as a theatre director in 1980. Then in 1986 I immigrated to the States and became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
I run my own theatre company but I am best known for portraying the character Raschid in Mona Lisa (1986), Colonel Hassan Ali in Half Moon Street (1986), Hossein in Brothers (2004) and Lugash secret policeman in Curse of the Pink Panther (1983), as well as television series like the Cold Warrior (1984).
In 2015 I started pursuing my career in film directing.
-How many years have you been making movies?
I have been shooting movies professionally since 2015.
-Why did you start making movies?
My first experience of film making was when I made a movie about fishermen in the north of Iran who were forbidden to fish by Shah of Iran as for nine months a year they needed to find jobs in other places which brought lots of poverty to people’s life and caused separation among families since the men had to go to other cities to work and some of them never came back and prostitution had become more and more common and acceptable at the time. This moved me and I had to go and make a film about that. But it was confiscated at the time. So, when I came to the UK I could not enroll to film school because it was too expensive for me and I had to work as a dishwasher but I was accepted to the London Drama Centre to become a theatre director which was a miracle because it was the most unlikely place for any student to be accepted, especially foreigners, especially with my limited English but obviously they liked my directing abilities of Othello. At the same time, I became an actor so I played in many movies, theatre and cinema and you can say London Gangstah is my first movie as a director. I didn’t find any major challenge I couldn’t handle. The only challenge was that I only had £7000 as a budget that translated in only five days shooting with less experienced talent and crew and lack of more sophisticated equipment such as camera’s, cameramen and less qualified editing and at the end my partner came to my help in editing without any prior editing experience.
-Tell us a little about your project. What will the audience be able to see in your film?
It’s a gangster movie without violence spiced up with romance and comedy
-Why did you do this project?
The inspiration came from my childhood as I lived in a Ghetto. I wrote and made this movie to show that I can make different genres easily and also I care for the lack of opportunity for a female main character in movies and I think it is time that our James Bond should be female.
-One of the problems some directors encounter is directing actors and dealing with some actors, especially in the amateur world. How do you see this topic? What kind of work do you do with them?
Film making is a collection of work of artists. You have to allow them to express themselves. My job is to guide them in the right direction.
-A good movie takes care of all departments. But normally we can not allocate all the resources to have a good photography or spend a lot of money on sound post production or budget to hire actors. In your project what % have you allocated to. I don't just mean money but time as well. Of 100% of the time/money, what % did you dedicate to each department?
-Work with actors 4%
-Art direction/locations: 4%
-If you could go back, what would you change about this project? (1 thing only)
I would make a feature film out of this but it would have been impossible because I did not have the money.
-What are you happiest about this project?
Shooting it in five days
-Make a wish to the movie gods. What do you ask?
Give me enough budget and a profesional producer to do one feature movie a year so I can give the audience one enjoyable movie each year.
-What movie would you have liked to direct?
-What kind of cinema do you like? Genre, directors, actors?
I like suspense & stories. There are many good directors & actors I like, e.g. Federico Fellini & Sophia Loren
-Imagine that all the movies are going to be lost. If you could save 3 movies, what would they be?
Room with a View
If you have more projects underway, can you give us a bit of information?
I hope to find a producer to make a feature film of London Gangstah. I think it would be a great and very funny movie and we can make a successful trilogy of it. Hopefully a producer will come along after this festival. I have more original scripts I am working on in new genres and unusual, beautiful, interesting stories which I am open to share with producers who are interested.