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An Interview with Keyvan Sheikhalishahi, Director of Nox

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2019

Films directed by Keyvan Sheikhalishahi on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Nox - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Itís about a lot of things, but particularly about Peter and Claire, two burglars on East Coast. They break into a Senatorís villa on election night andÖ

 

What were your inspirations when writing Nox? And as weird as this may sound at first, is it in any way based on personal experiences?

 

After Vesper, I wanted to keep the genre but to make a very different movie. The challenge was to make a pure action movie without dialogue. I was inspired by the movies of the silent film period. They knew how to tell stories and even suspense stories without saying a word. Thatís the strength of cinema. Of course I was also inspired by Christopher Nolanís movies, particularly his first feature Following about a burglar. For atmosphere, I was of course inspired by Lynchís movies. But, you know, when Iím writing a movie, things come always naturally, and the first element I had, and I event didnít know why, was the water. I wanted to make a movie about water. And, even if the water is not a key element in Nox, you can see that water is everywhere in the frame!

The story was not based on personal experience. But I think when you make a movie, youíre always inspired by what youíve been through.

 

With Nox being basically a suspense piece, do talk about some of your techniques to keep the tension high!

 

It is the assembly of all the techniques which keeps the tension high. I mean, the actors must be nervous. The cinematography has to be atmospheric. The music has to be full of tension, likewise as the editing. Regarding my work in particular, I wanted a non-chronological story to lose the audience in the mind of the main character allowing the audience to understand progressively whatís happening inside this house. As for the safe scene, it absolutely needed intercutting between Peter and Claire. I also played with clichťs. You can guess that the safe will be opened but you donít know what will be inside. Probably money. But in this movie, the opening of the safe unveils a flashback.

 

You of course also have to talk about your movie's location, and what was it like filming there? And how did you find such a place even?

 

The location was considered like a character in its own right. I was looking for a Cape-Cod style house. The advantage of this house was that it was located on an island just in front of the Seine. The illusion worked so well that I was asked if the movie was shot in the New York area!

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

When Iíve got the story, I have the movie in mind as well. Everything is clear in my head. But Iím always open to the people in my crew. If they have better ideas, then of course Iíll choose their approaches.

 

Do talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?

 

I watched The Glades when I was a young teenager. I remember that one very well. Itís always impressive to work with actors you watched before and you know their work. From each movie or TV show I watched I learned something on cinema. Then working with Matt Passmore was so nostalgic and moving and he was amazing. I canít wait to work with Matt again! I knew the work of Brigitte Millar [Brigitte Millar interview - click here] when she was announced for the last Bond. She was perfect for the role. As for AgnŤs Godey [AgnŤs Godey interview - click here], she also made a great link with the previous short.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

I was much more relaxed than at my first shoot I must admit. Things were precisely on time to the second as planned! As Matt told me, there was kind of a feeling to work on a big or feature movie. Thatís great!

 

The $64 question of course, where can Nox be seen?

 

Thereís already a screening planned in Los Angeles on May 25th and May 26th during the LA Neo Noir Film Festival!

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Nox yet?

 

Iím very happy! For now, I have only very good reviews. People who liked Vesper tell me that Nox is even better, so I canít be more happy.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Iím working on a big thing. Giant.

 

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Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

My website: www.keyvan-sheikhalishahi.com

My IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm7307833

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Yeah, you forgot to mention your favorite movie. Want to know :)

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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directed by
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written by
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starring
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