About Sara Zia Ebrahimi

Persian bohemian, indie films cheerleader, Social Media Specialist at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Love to: write, read, sew, eat, cook, run.

Davis Feminist Film Festival: call for entries

Davis Feminist Film FestThe Davis Feminist Film Festival is currently seeking submissions for the 2015 festival. Films should fill at least two of the following criteria;

  • Films created with an eye for gender and social justice issues
  • Films that link local and global issues
  • Films created by people underrepresented in the media field (women, people of color, queer/transgender, disabled)
  • Films made by people from the Davis/Sacramento area

Visit the submissions page for more information. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2014

AFI directing workshop for women: deadline January 7, 2015


The Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) at the American Film Institute is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally in screen directing. They are now accepting submissions (due January 7).

Each participant is required to complete a short film or series by the end of the program. DWW is open to women with three years or more of professional experience in the arts. The program is tuition-free though participants are responsible for raising the budgets for their projects.

Guidelines and application

Seidl & Von Trier & Haneke


I started watching Ulrich Seidl’s film “Paradise: Love” this weekend on Mubi and only made it through the first half.

I couldn’t tell if I was offended or just highly uncomfortable. I almost felt embarrassment for the main character and her cohort instead if the anger one might expect at someone so blatantly racist.

It felt like how I feel when I watch Lars Von Trier films (who I love and hate all at once): beautifully shot, but seems to be evocative just to be different or get attention.

I posed a question on my Facebook page asking friends for their thoughts on the film. It resulted in some interesting conversation, which included some comparison between Seidl, Von Trier, and Michael Haneke (whose film Cache is an all time favorite).

A fellow a Temple MFA grad, Natasha Ngaiza, answered with the following breakdown that I thought was so on point I’d share it here:

I agree that the main character is so pathetic it’s embarrassing. That’s what I loved about it though. It seems to strip racists of their power and reveals them to be just these very sad, insecure people. I think that power dynamic was only possible by showing male prostitutes and female tourists. It’s too loaded the other way around. I think the difference between Haneke and Seidl is that Haneke genuinely respects his characters (even when they’re serial killers!) whereas, Seidl has a lot of contempt for his. It seems like Von Trier actually identifies with his characters. Both Haneke and Seidl observe from a distance

I’m planning on watching the rest tonight.

MUBI: online streaming of indie, international and cult films

MUBII swear this post isn’t an ad, even though it’s going to maybe sound like one. I recently signed up for MUBI, a curated online service that allows you to watch a selection of independent, international and cult classic films. I’m sharing this because I think it’s a cool service and I’m looking forward to it as a way to continue my ongoing film studies.

Rather than the Netflix model of offering hundreds of selections, MUBI only offers 30 films at a time (one new film a day). The curators select and post a film, and then it remains available for 30 days. The selection so far seems really fantastic, and stuff that is unique and not readily available on Netflix (see the screen shot for a sample of some of the current offerings). It also has an app that allows you to watch from an iPad or other devices.

Best part? It’s only $3 a month if you subscribe for a year.

If you’d like to try it out for a month free of charge, you can use this referral and give it a whirl.

A handy list of video editors for your next project

20141118-202319.jpg I’ve been in the midst of a search process for an editor for the webseries I shot a little over a month ago (after my sweetheart had to reluctantly back down due to a family member’s serious health issues).

I sent out an email to several friends and fellow mediamakers asking for recommendations, and collected a stellar list of folks with impressive work.

If you’re looking for an editor for an upcoming project, here’s a handy list for you of a few of the recommendations:

Dan Feeny

Erin Greenwell

Justin Crowell

Todd Dayton

Valerie Keller

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow!

PAAFFThe Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival kicks off tomorrow through November 22nd! They’ve got an impressive collection of films, panels and parties lined up.

I’m of course curious to see Farah Goes Bang and see what my fellow first generation Iranian American mediamakers are up to.  I’m also excited to check out this panel, Reflections on the Evolution of Asian Cultural Influences in the Hip Hop Community which includes legends like Jeff Chang and DJ Rekha.

Submit your digital storytelling projects to SXSW

Film_DigitalDomain_2013If I ever make it to SXSW one day, the Digital Domain workshops would probably be my top pick to attend–they’ve looked so interesting the last few years! My project is not ready for submitting this year unfortunately. One day, one day.

If you’ve got a project ready though, jump on this opportunity!

Media makers are invited to submit their work to be presented in the Digital Domain for SXSW 2015.The Digital Domain, a SXSW Convergence track tackles new directions in storytelling across a range of exciting new digital platforms. Works can include interactive documentaries, web series, apps, experimental performance work, augmented reality and more. Deadline to apply is December 12, 2014.