Pedram Abasi (Reza Sholeh) and Donya - Dream girl (Shiva Negar) in LOST JOURNEY, a film by Ant Horasanli. Photo courtesy of Mongrel Media.
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Lost Journey (2010/2011)
Opened: 05/06/2011 Limited
|Music Hall 3||05/06/2011 - 05/12/2011||7 days|
|Town Center 5||05/06/2011 - 05/12/2011||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Canadian Romantic Drama
Arriving in Toronto from Northern Iran, Pedram Abasi embarks on a journey shared by millions of people every year, adapting to a new language and culture.
To the delight of his aunt and uncle who have taken him in, Pedram seems to be making progress. However, his life drastically changes course when he meets Nima and Chrissy who introduce him to a world he's never seen before, a world of all-night raves, promiscuous sex, and dosing ecstasy until sunrise. With his education in peril and his life on a downward spiral, Pedram must now regain control before all hope is lost.
Arriving in Toronto as a foreign exchange student from Iran, 19 year old Pedram Abasi embarks on a journey shared by millions of people every year -- moving to the West in order to have a brighter future, all the while learning a new language and culture.
He is picked up at the airport by his cousin Arya, who, although also born in Iran, has grown up in Canada and already embraced the North American way of life and value system. While in Canada, Pedram stays with his Aunt Farnoosh and Uncle Fereydoon who are only too happy to be a part of their nephew's education and promising future. Having to grapple with a new identity proves challenging in this unfamiliar country, but Pedram remains both grateful and optimistic. Much to the delight of his aunt and uncle, who have taken him in, he is determined to learn the language and culture. Although he is starting to make great progress in assimilating to this new lifestyle, Pedram's life begins to alter direction when he meets Nima and Chrissy -- friends who introduce him to a never-before seen reality.
Pedram's traditional family values start to clash with his newly found enthusiasm and head-on approach to a fun-at-all-costs attitude. It isn't long before this polite introvert is seduced by this life of all-night rave parties, promiscuous sexual encounters and taking Ecstasy until sunrise. Barely recognizing himself anymore, Pedram manages to cut off everyone from his life except his new friends. Arguments begin to erupt between him and his cousin Arya who were once on the same path, but who now see themselves on two radically different routes -- Arya is still focused on goals, financial stability and dreams of success, but all this now seems silly to Pedram, who believes that such ambitions are futile.
Pedram's bond with Nima keeps growing stronger even though their all-night adventures lead to unavoidable consequences for him; he realizes that he has spent all the money his father had borrowed to send him to school, he breaks off a long distance relationship with the girl he believed would one day be his wife, and he even manages to get fired from a job that his dad arranged for him.
Before long, Pedram's adopted family begins to resent his irresponsible ways and regret ever taking him into their home. Struggling to regain control of a life that has spiralled uncontrollably, Pedram must return to being the person he once or succumb to the hardships of the journey.
I've wanted to make films since the age of 12. It was always about making a sequel to Terminator 2 -- though I missed out on that one. After film school, in 2003, I started a production company specializing in commercials and music videos and have since produced, directed, and edited over 70 projects for artists and clients that span the globe. As rewarding as that has been, the goal of making a film and transporting an audience to another world, was constantly on my mind.
I've always been fascinated with films relating to culture and sci-fi. My first documentary, Redline (2003), for example, was about street racers -- people who share a passion, or perhaps even an obsession, for building and racing cars. This culture of street racers is present throughout the world. The Trance/Electronic music scene is the same -- it represents massive numbers of people worldwide who share a tremendous passion. I'm interested in exploring worlds that remain a mystery to most people, worlds that usually consist of a unique lingo, philosophy, or code of conduct. So for my first film, having music play an integral part, not just as a medium but as an element of the story itself, has allowed me to explore the culture of Trance music and at the same time utilize the skills I've learned through many years of directing music videos.
In doing so, I ended up with Lost Journey - a film that follows the life of a young Iranian exchange student adapting to a new, anything-goes lifestyle in Canada, while set in the world of underground raves. The characters in the film are reflections of several people I have known on various levels. Pedram, for instance, is a composite of young adults I've witnessed who have come to study from overseas only to get caught up in the newly-found freedoms of a society whose moral boundaries are more lax. Pedram tries to hold on to the lessons instilled in him, but can't give up the temptation of living life to its fullest without worrying about the consequences. At its core, Lost Journey reflects on the hopes, disillusionments, and excesses that are apparent in today's society.
This film hinges on the idea of finding balance in one's life. You don't want to play it so safe that you regret never having experienced anything, but at the same time, when you do venture out and explore new things, you have to be ready for unexpected consequences -- the risk always lives.
Making Lost Journey has been a weird and wonderful experience. Directing actors in a language you don't speak and having to micro-manage so many jobs was gruelling even on the best of days, but the set was always a second home and the cast and crew, a family. If I had to, I would do a second tour of Lost Journey...probably.
Ant Horasanli held auditions for Lost Journey in the Greater Toronto Area. The cast was selected from over 200 Persian and English actors. Reza Sholeh was cast in the lead role as Pedram Abasi. Rehearsals took place over a one-month period prior to principal photography. Finding all the locations for the film proved to be the biggest pre-production challenge - there were over 30. After scouting more than 100 sites, Ant finally locked down all the locations.
From the initial stages, Ant had a clear idea of the look he wanted to achieve. He wanted to draw from his past experience in music videos and create striking images for the club scenes that would place the audience in that world - bold compositions and playing with frame rates were key to creating this visceral experience. By contrast, the more dramatic scenes, where Pedram runs into constant conflict with his family and friends, were inspired by films such as Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), where the camera is unobtrusive and the scene focuses only on performances.
Lost Journey was shot in 44 days, spanning five months, due to conflicting schedules. Ant, however, was very fortunate to have such a talented, hard-working and dedicated cast and crew on board to make it possible to reach the finish line.
For his debut feature film, Ant Horasanli and talented cinematographer Nadeem Soumah, shot in DVCPRO HD with 35mm adapters to accommodate cinema lenses. A Zeiss Super Speed prime kit was required since the adapter system drastically reduced low light capabilities. Shooting much of the film at T1.3 was challenging for the focus puller and these lenses were mainly used in controlled environments. For the chaotic club sequences, the production switched to a six camera setup utilizing Sony EX-1s. Ant wanted to place the audience in his character's world and make them experience the sensation of being in a room with 3000 people, at 4am, wide awake, with adrenaline running through them...knowing everyone is feeling the same energy. He captured these lengthy and complicated club sequences with their unforgiving schedule, by playing out the entire scene like live theatre and capturing it from various angles. Cast and crew rehearsed every aspect of the scenes - from blocking, to lighting, to camera motion - and then ran six cameras. "I wasn't sure it would work but there was no other way to film so much material within our budget or schedule. In the end, those scenes are probably some of the best in the film."
Picture editing for Lost Journey was completed at N5 studios on an Avid Media Composer by Ant Horasanli with supervising editor, Wiebke von Carolsfeld. (Wrecked, Fugitive Pieces, The Five Senses). The musical composition and track selection were a fundamental part of the finished project and, thus, required careful consideration. The song Battleship Grey, performed by DJ Tiesto and Kirsty Hawkshaw, along with other tracks by world famous DJs, such The Thrillseekers, provided just the right mood and tone for the film during pivotal scenes.
Cast and Crew Biographies
REZA SHOLEH (Pedram Abasi)
Reza Sholeh has wanted to become an actor since childhood. All throughout high school he performed in his school's plays. After graduating, however, he went on to university to study architecture in order to appease his family, but left after the first semester to follow his own dreams. He enrolled in a drama school in Iran where he studied theatre and performed in Persian reproductions of Shakespearian plays, but was never in front of a camera. Lost Journey (2010) provided Reza with the opportunity to jump start his career on the big screen. Never having auditioned outside of Iran before, he found the experience quite harrowing but was able to draw inspiration for the character from his own background. In Lost Journey, Reza plays 19 year old Pedram Abasi who leaves his native Iran to study in Canada. However, the introduction to a different, more liberal lifestyle that includes alcohol, drugs and clubbing, changes Pedram's life and puts into peril his father's dreams of a brighter future for his son.
ANDY MADADIAN (Mr. Zand)
Known by many as "The Prince of Persia", Andy Madadian is one of Persia's own musical legends. Although Andy grew up in Tehran, he is a naturalized American and has been living in Los Angeles for a number of years. When he's not playing to sold-out venues all over the world, this Persian/Armenian award-winning pop star sensation is showcasing his talent as an actor. Having first made his mark on television in 2001 on ABC's production of The Princess and the Marine, he has since made appearances in films such as: Dreamworks' The House of Sand and Fog (2003) alongside Sir Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly, where he sings and contributed to the movie score; Irangeles (2003); Guide Company Films' The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam (2005) with Academy Award winner Vanessa Redrgrave, where Andy plays the governor of the ancient city of Samarkand; and indie film Futbaal: The Price of Dreams (2007). In his latest role, Lost Journey (2010), Andy plays Pedram's English language teacher who becomes, to some extent, his mentor. In identifying with his students, Mr. Zand tries to guide Pedram towards making the right choices.
PEDRAM ZIAEI (Arya)
In Lost Journey (2010), Pedram Ziaei plays the character Arya, Pedram's cousin. His personality is quite different from that of his cousin and his long-time friend Nima. Goal oriented and focused, Arya is studying to become an automotive designer. The two things that give him the most pleasure in life are talking to people about his portfolio, and getting into arguments and fighting -- actions that expose conflict within himself.
HAMID SAVALANPOUR (Nima)
Actor Hamid Savalanpour successfully won his role on Lost Journey (2010) after pleading his case with director Ant Horasanli, as he was convinced that he would be the best person for the role. Having grown up in Toronto housing, Hamid was able to connect with his character from the very beginning. He was capable of channelling his rough childhood through the camera's lens to portray the misguided and lost teenager, Nima. One of Nima's major problems is that he doesn't take anything seriously. His party-for-life-and-damn-the-consequences attitude jives perfectly with Pedram and the two click almost instantly. Nima is the one who introduces Pedram to Chrissy, Ecstasy, and a new home called the Warehouse.
STEPHANIE BELL (Chrissy)
Toronto native Stephanie Bell is no stranger to the world of performing arts. Although her journey began in a dance studio at the age of five, she later enrolled in a Performing Arts School where she pursued acting. After graduating in 2007, Stephanie took to the stage and has been cast in theatrical reproductions of Beauty and the Beast and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Lost Journey (2010), her film debut, Stephanie plays a carefree socialite with no responsibilities and who enjoys having a good time. Her character, Chrissy, begins to take an interest in Pedram after meeting him at a party she goes to with her old-time friends, Nima and Arya. The thrill of introducing Pedram to a new way of life is a new and exhilarating endeavour for Chrissy.
SHIVA NEGAR (Donya)
Actress Shiva Negar was born in Iran and started her career there as a child performer. Musically inclined, she began by performing at piano and guitar recitals and then in singing competitions. In high school, Shiva did a lot of theatre and that quickly became her art of choice. She followed her passion for acting and went to film school in Toronto and has taken several workshops in Toronto and Los Angeles. In her first feature film, Lost Journey (2010), Shiva plays Donya, Pedram's first love -- the One. Although Pedram leaves her behind in Iran, he plans on returning to her in a couple of years to marry her. After arriving in Canada, one of the first things Pedram does is call her. Donya makes being away from home that much more difficult and as the movie progresses, she keeps infiltrating his thoughts to serve as his subconscious and remind him of the reason he went to Canada.
ANT HORASANLI (Producer, Director, Writer, Editor)
Award winning director Ant Horasanli has created a diverse body of work ranging from music videos, commercials and shorts, to a full-length documentary and feature film. He received his BSc in Film and Television Production at Humber College in Toronto and pursued Cultural Studies at York University.
After graduating in 2003, Ant established his own production company, N5 Pictures, and began his career in commercials and music videos. From 2003 to present, he has written, produced, directed and edited over 70 music videos and commercials for international artists.
His first short film about a highway patroller obsessed with mysterious radar readings, 220 (2002), went on to play at local film festivals and was soon followed by his first documentary entitled Redline (2003), which explores the world of street racing. Redline won the Best Documentary Feature Award at the 2003 Long Island, New York Film Festival.
As with his previous films, Ant's first feature film, Lost Journey (2010), was inspired by personal and family history. He wrote, directed, edited and served as co-producer on his debut film. The film has recently gained great industry recognition from TeleFilm Canada and distributor Mongrel Media, who has acquired the film's Canadian Rights and set a theatrical release date for April 2011 in Toronto. Follow-up theatrical releases in Los Angeles, California and Houston, Texas are in development.
Independent filmmaker Ant Horasanli is establishing himself as one of Canada's unique, young, gifted and emerging directors.
JOHNY MIKHAEL (Co-producer)
Johny Mikhael began his film career in sound design. He studied sound engineering at Humber College in Toronto and completed the electronics technician certificate program at the DeVry Institute of Technology.
In 2000, one of Johny's songs won 1st Place in the Songwriter Category for Bandsearch 2000, promoted by The Upper Room. Soon after, he began producing music videos and musical scores under his company, Jam Music Productions. He has since coproduced a number of music videos for international artists and has also produced and recorded music CD's for a variety of musicians.
For Lost Journey, Johny served as both co-producer and sound technician. He is currently working on a second film entitled 36 hours to Istanbul.
NADEEM SOUMAH (Cinematographer)
Nadeem Soumah is an experienced cinematographer who has been working in the film industry for almost a decade. He graduated from the Toronto Film School in 2000 and has been working on films and music videos ever since.
Also known as The Sharpshooter by many in the community, this renowned Toronto music video director has worked with some great Canadian and American hip hop artists such as Belly, Bishop Brigante, P. Reign, Aristo, Angerville, Joell Ortiz of the hip hop super-group, Slaughterhouse and many more.