LOS ANGELES, CA
The Culver City Film Festival announced the prizes in feature filmmaking at the 2016 awards ceremony, with the top award for Best Feature Film going to Polaris. Polaris played to a packed house at a sold out screening in the largest theater at ArcLight Cinemas. At the conclusion of the film, Writer/Director Soudabeh Moradian; Producer Christina Jo’Leigh, p.g.a.; Actress Alicja Bachleda; and Actor Coby Ryan McLaughlin were introduced and the evening was turned over for engaging questions and open conversation with the audience.
The intimate and personal appeal of the film was captured in the reactions which, for varying reasons, revealed a significant impact on a large part of the audience. Polaris is a moving drama in which a psychologically traumatized war photographer is locked in a desperate struggle to protect her secrets from her husband and escape her inevitable return to the Middle East. Following the screening, audience member Brian McLaughlin stated the film “masterfully reveals itself bit by bit in a deliciously compelling manner, leaving the viewer with questions to ponder. I was intrigued throughout, always wondering what would come next and how it would end – which I had to figure out by myself.
The acting is exquisitely nuanced, with all the characters being appealing and flawed.” The drama stars acclaimed international stars Alicja Bachleda (Ondine, Trade) as ‘Baran’; and Bahram Radan (Ice Age, The Wooden Bridge) as ‘Poorya’; and American-born actor Coby Ryan McLaughlin (Parenthood, Graceland) as ‘Daniel’. The cast also includes Elisabeth Röhm (Angel, Law & Order, Heroes) as Daniel’s wife, ‘Christine’; and Roya Taymourian (Women’s Prison, The Music Man) as Baran’s mother. Producer Christina Jo’Leigh, p.g.a. of Cinematic Artistry said, “We are deeply appreciative of the recognition that Polaris has received and humbled by the very personal and emotional responses. It is quite moving that so many identified with one or more of the characters and the issues they were dealing with.”
Writer/Director Soudabeh Moradian stressed that filmmaking “is not a monologue, it is a dialogue with the audience”, encouraging interpretation on a deep and meaningful level. Soudabeh Moradian was an accomplished documentarian in Iran and traveled abroad creating many insightful films about Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq before immigrating to Los Angeles and creating Polaris, her first narrative feature film. Her evolving body of work includes over 70 documentaries and TV series for European Channel ARTE and the BBC.
Polaris is an intimate and pivotal moment in the life of a half-Persian immigrant in Los Angeles, Baran, straddling two worlds, and attempting to cross the cultural divide. She exemplifies the silent struggle of women who have had the strength to escape war-torn countries wrought with persecution, only to live in an aftermath of the trauma, still subject to the conventional constraints from which they came, while facing an ongoing struggle for independence and equality in the Western world that does not accept them, and in which they do not fit in. Baran and her husband, Poorya, become stranded in a back alley of Los Angeles confronted by police barricades, unable to return home.
The situation quickly spirals out of control when the lights, sirens and civil unrest trigger an episode for Baran, a psychologically traumatized war photographer, who collapses on the street. Poorya is forced to accept an offer of refuge in the home of a reclusive, enigmatic neighbor, Daniel with questionable motives. Baran awakens to find all is not as it seems and finds herself suddenly locked in a struggle to protect her secrets and escape her inevitable return to the Middle East. As the night unfolds, underlying conflict and hidden secrets emerge until the situation ultimately reaches a point of no return.
Polaris was written by award-winning playwright Naghmeh Samini and Soudabeh Moradian, and scored by multi-award winning composer Karen Homayounfar.
Produced by Christina Jo’Leigh, p.g.a.
ON THE WEB Official Site: http://polarismovie.com/