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, Brian McLaughlin, who was in attendance, 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 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.