NaghmehOut of all male nominees, Naghmeh Shirkhan won Best Director for her feature film Maki at this past week’s Chelsea Film Festival, a victory that both surprises but makes sense to the filmmaker. “It’s been such a long road for me, and I have kept at it. To me, it should not matter whether you’re male or female, the work should stand on its own,” Shirkhan told So Booking Cool.

Maki, which took 18 days to shoot, captures the story of a New York-based young Japanese woman’s coming-of-age. The film explores the themes of love and loss, power and manipulation.

Film_coverShirkhan, an Iran native, knew she wanted to work in film when she was in high school. She worked at a video store throughout her teens and early twenties in her hometown of Boston, and then attended film school. Once she graduated, she stayed committed to her passion and moved to New York where she worked in advertising and editing on the production side. While she knew she wanted to be an independent filmmaker, she lacked connections in the industry. But Shirkhan held onto her vision and eventually made her debut, critically-acclaimed film, The Neighbor.

Listen to the full interview to learn more about Shirkhan’s journey to filmmaking; Maki; what she thinks can be done to increase the amount of women filmmakers; the advantages that aspiring directors have today; her views on making movies on phones and casting; her love for books and how novels influence her; and more! For more information, visit http://maki-film.com/ and follow Shirkhan on Instagram.

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