Tuesday, May 26, 2015

'Seeking Valentina' A New Psychological Thriller About Grief Showcasing A Diverse And Gender-Balanced Cast Featuring The Talented Actress Kristin West Coming July 2015

Currently In Post Production

   - NEWS BRIEF: SEEKING VALENTINA which was written and directed by Armin Nasseri, follows Benjamin (played by Ali Bavarian), a Jewish Iranian-American writer, in the pangs of grief. When Benjamin takes in a whimsical and engaging tenant who then she mysteriously vanishes, the director leaves it up to the audience to decide is she really a ghost, a hallucination, a dream or a runaway. The captivating actress Kristin West (Hell's Kitty, Circus of the Dead), and Mr. Nasseri's producing partner, also plays the title role of "Valentina." 

  The charming Kristin West said the following
                 on behalf of her compelling project... 
    "I have always believed in Armin Nasseri's vision for Seeking Valentina and at this moment, with the controversy swirling around the Middle East and specifically with America's relations with Iran and Israel, the film we've worked so hard on for a year-and-a-half is now more important than ever. Our film put real Iranian-Americans in a psychological thriller as an American Jewish Iranian family... not jihadists, not terrorists, not stuck in the 1970s, but living, breathing today's society."

    Mr. Nasseri vigorously resisted stereotyping throughout his production, which attracted acclaimed Persian-American actress Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project, Mind of Mencia) to "Seeking Valentina." Miss Ghaffari said, "I was really drawn to this project as it forgoes all the ridiculous stereotypes I often have to portray as an artist." She adds, "It's refreshing and empowering as an artist to portray someone who is just a human being living her everyday life with no labels." Miss Ghaffari plays Benjamin's sister Ana in "Seeking Valentina." Portraying a Persian-American family was a priority for Mr. Nasseri, as quite often, minority characters are not given the context of a family in much standard programming here in the U.S.

    Kristin West and Mr. Nasseri point out that they both committed to not only having an ethnically diverse cast but also a gender balanced cast and crew. Five of the ten crew members were female. Of the principal and supporting cast of nine, five were females and four were male. Nasseri also made an atypical casting choice in Miss West for the title role of Valentina. "I am not a size 0," says Kristin, "I usually get supporting character parts, not the romantic lead in a film like this." Kristin West's past roles have included playing a diverse array of character roles such as a fortune teller, ghoul, duchess, crime scene investigator and almost everything in between.

    Nasseri and West's production took them over 500 miles, over three counties throughout Southern California, in the course of six days, filming in North Hollywood, Big Bear Lake and Ojai. They shot each day of those six days... no small feat for any production. On the last day of production, it snowed in Big Bear, which is seven thousand feet above sea level. "We were packing up our gear as the snow began to fall," Kristin West said. Though the film very prominently features Iranian-American actors, Mr. Nasseri cites the work of Ingmar Bergman as a strong influence for "Seeking Valentina." He believes that his short is very much a "film with universal themes," toying with what's illusion and what's reality throughout the short.

   "I grew up in the south as a minority. I live in America, but my heritage is Persian. Obviously, the two countries haven't had a diplomatic relationship since the 1979 Revolution," Mr. Nasseri added, "There is no prediction on when their relationship will ever heal, but I do hope through artistry, that movies will showcase a universe where minorities, especially Iranian born citizens or Iranian Americans, can be seen as superheroes, agents, diplomats, writers, athletes, professors, restaurant owners, engineers, physicians, lawyers and homeowners." Mr. Nasseri and Kristin West anticipate the film will be screening at film festivals sometime in 2015 and 2016. - Daily Film Forum


  • Genres: Short | Thriller
  • Official Sites: Official Facebook Page | Official site
  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Language: English
  • Release Date: July 11, 2015 
  • Filming Location: Big Bear Lake, California 
  • Production Company: Polar Underworld Productions 
  • Color or B/W: Color
  • Synopsis: The story follows Benjamin (played by Ali Bavarian), a Jewish Iranian-American writer, in the pangs of grief. When Benjamin takes in a whimsical & engaging tenant who then mysteriously disappears, it is for the audience to decide is she really a ghost, a hallucination, a dream or a runaway. Kristin West (Hell's Kitty, Circus of the Dead) plays the romantic lead & title role of "Valentina." Music by Skykross. "Red River Valley" sung by Kristin West.

  Important SEEKING VALENTINA Links                                                      

September 13, 2014 - Actress Vida Ghaffari attends the Pars Equality Center's 1st Annual Los Angeles Autumn Gala at Hilton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
Photo:  Vivien Killilea/Getty Images North America
    Diabolique News: - Share Everywhere! - The Vivacious & Alluring Actress "Vida Ghaffari" has been cast as "Ana" In Director Armin Nasseri's SEEKING VALENTINA. Coming July 2015 -  Also Starring The Award Winning Producer & Actress Kristin West (Hell's Kitty, Circus of the Dead) in the romantic lead & title role of "Valentina." Full Details & EXCLUSIVE Photos Here: http://horrorunlimited.blogspot.com/2015/05/chasing-valentina-new-indie-ghost-story.html The story follows Benjamin (played by Ali Bavarian), a Jewish Iranian-American writer, in the pangs of grief. When Benjamin takes in a whimsical & engaging tenant who then mysteriously disappears, it is for the audience to decide if she's really a ghost, a hallucination, a dream or a runaway?

 Exclusive Behind The Scenes Shot Featuring Actress Vida Ghaffari as "Ana."  
Here, make-up artist is performing her magic before Vida shoots the next scene.

The Sultry Beauty Vida Ghaffari

The captivating Kristin West in the lead role as "Valentina" and
 Ali Bavarian "Benjamin" talk in the kitchen.

    Diabolique News: - Share Everywhere! - Coming July 2015 - Director Armin Nasseri's SEEKING VALENTINA. Award Winning Producer & Actress Kristin West (Hell's Kitty, Circus of the Dead) plays the romantic lead & title role of "Valentina. "The story follows Benjamin (played by Ali Bavarian), a Jewish Iranian-American writer, in the pangs of grief. When Benjamin takes in a whimsical & engaging tenant who then mysteriously disappears, it is for the audience to decide is she really a ghost, a hallucination, a dream or a runaway. Full Details & EXCLUSIVE Photos Here: http://horrorunlimited.blogspot.com/2015/05/chasing-valentina-new-indie-ghost-story.html

Emily Heffner "Amy" expresses concern in a tense scene 

Diane Silvester (Pamela) speaks with Ali Bavarian (Benjamin) as he
 holds a picture of Valentina (Kristin West).

     CAST & CREW                                           

    Directed by 

    Armin Nasseri

    Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)  

    Armin Nasseri


    Kristin West...
    Ali Bavarian...
    Vida Ghaffari...
    Armin Nasseri...
    Srinivasa Kapavarapu...
    Dr. Lodi
    Mel A. Gibson...
    Diane Silvester...
    Emily Heffner...
    Lacey Huskey...
    Bowling Alley Employee

    Produced by 

    Matt Chassin...associate producer
    Armin Nasseri...producer
    Kristin West...producer
    Maureen Whelan...supervising producer

    Cinematography by 

    John Wilbers

    Film Editing by 

    Armin Nasseri

    Makeup Department 

    Leah Galindo...hair stylist / makeup artist
    Anissa Renteria...hair stylist / makeup artist
    Shirley Sal...hair stylist / makeup artist

    Second Unit Director or Assistant Director 

    Maureen Whelan...assistant director

    Sound Department 

    Chris Bailey...sound designer (credited as SkyKross) / sound editor (credited as SkyKross)
    John Lacascia...boom operator
    Armin Nasseri...sound designer

    Camera and Electrical Department 

    Dwayne Blackmore...grip
    Andrew Kowalski...gaffer
    Michael Landin...grip
    John Wilbers...key grip

    Music Department 

    Chris Bailey...composer: theme music (as SkyKross)

    Other crew 

    Chris Bailey...production assistant (credited as SkyKross)
    Nadia Davari...legal services
    Mel A. Gibson...production assistant


    Agota Acs...special thanks
    Jack Beranek...special thanks
    Shabnam Blaney...special thanks
    Matt Chassin...very special thanks
    Derek Dow II...special thanks
    Diane Dusick...special thanks
    Gordana Gehlhausen...special thanks
    Vida Ghaffari...very special thanks
    John Gibson...special thanks
    Emily Heffner...special thanks
    Judith Hooge...special thanks
    Susan Huskey...special thanks
    Katrelle N. Kindred...special thanks
    Jennifer Larkin...special thanks
    Joshua Larkin...special thanks
    Ali Nasseri...special thanks
    Jamari Perry...special thanks
    Josefina Sanchez Rojas...special thanks
    Sohaila Salem...special thanks
    Diane Silvester...special thanks
    Dan Taylor...special thanks
    Zohreh Tehrani...special thanks
    Donna Trewhella...special thanks
    Megan Tucker...special thanks
    Joy Van Ek...special thanks
    Maureen Whelan...very special thanks

    Details On The SEEKING VALENTINA Team

       Persian-American screenwriter, director, actor and editor Armin Nasseri has been acting since the age of 14 and has worked on both studio and several independent projects beginning in Wilmington, North Carolina. In his early 20s, Armin moved to Southern California with his family and now calls Los Angeles his home. He studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and has studied film production at both L.A. City College and West L.A. College and has 28 film production credits and 12 acting credits to his name. As an artist, Armin loves anything that is edgy and pushes boundaries. His creative endeavor, "Jump” screened at the Intercollegiate Film Festival in Los Angeles. He followed up his success with Jump as a producer on Miracle Mile Girls, which screened at Cannes as well as the Beverly Hills Film Television and New Media Film Festival. Seeking Valentina, his latest work, is a psychological thriller that’s already received international attention due to its gender and ethnically balanced casting and compelling themes and storytelling structure.

        Producer and actress Kristin West is a Texan talent with cosmopolitan appeal. Raised in rural south Texas, West’s training includes the Globe Theatre in London, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the University of Texas Semester in Los Angeles Program. West's work has garnered the attention of film festivals. “Miracle Mile Girls,” was screened at the Cannes was also an Official Selection of the Beverly Hills Film, Television & New Media Festival. "Phoenix Song," a project she produced, was an Official Selection of LA New Wave Film Festival, the Indie Fest, Action of Film Festival, Bel Air Film Festival, Shockerfest International Film Festival, Orlando Film Fest and CINEWEST of Sydney, Australia among many others and won multiple awards. Miss West may best known for her guest star role on Bravo’s "Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills." Kristin also played Investigator West in Billy Pon’s much talked about horror feature "Circus of the Dead," which was shot on location in Odessa, Texas. Her most recent credit is playing the title role of Valentina in Armin Nasseri’s thriller short “Seeking Valentina.”

        A native of Rhode Island, Iranian-American actor Ali Bavarian was a financial advisor before dedicating himself to his acting and musical career. In a short span of time, Ali has been seen on screen and on TV both in the US and in Japan. His previous credits include “Andrea: Side Two,” directed by Tim Russ of Star Trek Voyager fame, and a memorable recent appearance on a Japanese television documentary directed by Yuki Gorouku. Even if you haven't seen Ali’s work, it’s possible that you may have heard Ali. He has several voice over credits Bavarian’s star continues to rise in “Seeking Valentina,” directed by Armin Nasseri, playing Benjamin, a writer unraveling in the aftermath of the death of his beloved wife. Bavarian regularly hones his acting craft at various workshops in Los Angeles. A multi-talented performer, Ali has 28 years of experience playing the piano and singing as well.

       Vida Ghaffari has been active on the Tinsel town scene as an actress, journalist, and voiceover artist. This talented, charistmatic character actress has recently shot a supporting role in Savage Cinema’s campy horror flick,”Pond Scum,” directed by legendary indie Aussie filmmaker Mark Savage. Vida plays the role of a pious woman betrayed by her abusive husband. Savage was so struck by her acting talent, that he will also cast her in a major supporting role in his upcoming thriller called “Circus of Dread,” starring acting powerhouse Bill Oberst Jr. A comedic actress who also likes to embrace quirky roles, Vida has also played an Iraqi wife in an episode of Comedy Central’s “Mind of Mencia.” This comedic powerhouse also landed a co-starring role in much buzzed about FOX sitcom, “The Mindy Project.” Vida also made her web series debut in “Green Manor,” where she acted along side Tony Moran, the original Mike Myers from “Halloween.” She has also acted in many plays at established Hollywood venues such as the Zephyr Theatre and Theatre/Theater. She also has a very strong background in comedy as an improviser, stand-up, and sketch comic. She has also performed stand-up at the Improv and the Comedy Store.

       With her rich, smart, and sassy signature voice, Vida works steadily as a voiceover artist. Vida recently voiced two characters in an animated film called “Lovesick Fool” created by Emmy-nominated director Dominic Polcino (“The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” and “King of the Hill”). Acclaimed actors Fred Willard, Lisa Kudrow, and Janeane Garofalo also voiced roles in this film. Vida also freelances as an online and broadcast entertainment correspondent. Her ebullient and charismatic personality has led her to report from many Hollywood red carpet film premieres and galas, where she conducts engaging interviews with a wide range of celebrities such as Oscar winners Melissa Leo and Cuba Gooding Jr. to the likes of internationally known musicians such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Chris Isaak. With her quick-witted humor and her vivacious temperament, Vida has been coveted by various media outlets as an on-air host and as an associate producer for ATV, GEM TV, and PNG TV. Born and raised in the DC area, she comes from a long line of diplomats, scholars, actors/directors, writers, and poets. Vida wants to uphold the family tradition through the arts and the media. As a print journalist, she has written for the Iran Times International, the Persian Mirror, and Namak Magazine as well as many local papers in the DC metropolitan area. 

       Mel A. Gibson has enjoyed filmmaking since he was 15, even starting his own production company, Red-IX. A true renaissance man in the making, Mel also enjoys inventing and designing products all while preparing to transfer to a university. “Recently I had my most significant learning experience on the set of Seeking Valentina”, Mel says “where I learned about the operation and function of the cast and crew.” Mel is very much supportive of the message of Seeking Valentina as well, saying, “…with any of the work I do, I care about sending a message in this film.” He explains, “I wanted people to realize not all Middle Easten-ers are dark skinned and brown-eyed.” Mel plays Benjamin’s grieving teenage son, Jacob in Seeking Valentina, his first acting role. Mel plans to continue to pursue practical and educational experience in filmmaking and continues managing the day-to-day responsibilities of running Red-IX.

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