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netribution > features > interview with omid nooshin > page one
Panic "Short, sharp and breathlessly paced - everything a short film should be" - Total Film
It seems like an age ago in my blown haystack of a life but it was only in February this year that I first saw Omid Nooshin’s excellent short film, Panic. 35mm’s of comic high intensity with sharp use of sound (the sound engineer worked on Tim Roth’s Warzone) and some fine performances, especially from the young boy. Panic is Omid’s second 35mm short and he’s currently working on his first feature (very hush hush mind!) which, if it has any of the professionalism and vivid personality of the shorts, will be very successful. Panic itself has been represented by The British Council For International Festivals, has just been watched by Mike Figgis and Saffron Burrows at the Greenwich film festival, is streaming on Atom Films on Monday 26th June and will be shown on Channel 4’s next Shooting gallery season in Autumn. Boy, long sentence. Oh yes, Panic will also be screened at the kicking joint that is the Halloween East film club down London’s Brick Lane in July. Mr Success himself showed me around the Park Village East production facility in Camden, his adopted working home, where we chatted over beer and played with boisterous kittens. This old riding school is easily the most beautiful building I’ve ever been in and has since formed the template of my ideal home, full size snooker table included. It also backs onto my favourite restaurant location that has been sitting in mossy smug glee for nigh on 10 years now. I comfort myself that it is the restaurant equivalent of ‘Christine.’
Keep an eye out for Omid though, a very talented young man who laughs in the face of financial adversity and despite my efforts will quit smoking long before your humble interviewer! click, spark, fizz....puff, puff, puff....Glory be! This one’s for you sir!

| by tom fogg |
| photos by tom fogg and additional stills from film|
| in london |
What was your first film influence and what inspired you to make films?
My first significant cultural influence of any kind, let alone film, was Star Wars (which I think was the case for much of my generation). I was only three, so my knowledge of cinema was, let’s say, sparse. But I was inspired, and a few years later I began making shorts on video. I eventually decided to pursue film-making as a career when I starting seeing, and consolidating, the New Hollywood movies of the seventies. These films were stunning – Jaws, Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and the rest. They taught me the true meaning of the words ‘film’ and ‘director’.

Outline for us your short credits to date.

Probably too many to mention in detail, having started so long ago. The earlier shorts were a lot more ambitious in genre terms than anything I’ve made recently; mainly sci-fi, action adventure and horror. I experimented a lot, toying with camera angles and special effects, without paying too much attention to plot. Later on I began taking things more seriously, using scripts and storyboards, and directing a couple of feature-length films on video. My most recent shorts have been Panic (1999, 15 minutes) and Rooftop (1996, 26 minutes), both on 35mm.

Tell us about Panic. Where did you get the idea for it and is it a true
Panic was inspired by a true story of accidental kidnapping which happened in the US, but the film is essentially a work of fiction. While we were working on the second draft of the script, a similar incident occurred in the UK. We managed to contact the mother, who eventually became a creative advisor on our film. This was bizarre, because many of the story details we had invented for the screenplay had happened in real life. Then, months later on the day of our cast and crew screening, there were newspaper reports of another similar kidnapping. That’s when it started getting a little too weird for me.
Where did you first see the script?
Before making Panic I had been searching for a writer to collaborate with on a US-based feature screenplay. After exploring a few writer’s web sites, I eventually connected with Jeff Watson, a Canadian writer based in Vancouver. We discussed the feature script in detail via e-mail, and then decided it would make sense to write a short first as a test run. Everything was written over the Internet, which meant with the time difference that the script was being worked on almost twenty-four hours a day. We had a first draft of the script before even speaking on the phone. When Jeff and I were finished with the fourth draft, I teamed up with a long-time writing partner, Andrew Love, who helped tighten up the plot and add some sparkle to the dialogue. The first time Jeff and I eventually met was on the evening of the film’s premiere, at the (fanfare please) Odeon West End, Leicester Square. We’re now working on the original feature script, which has just gone into development.
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