Interview with Filmmaker Nedda Sarshar (RACHEL AND RAHA)

RACHEL AND RAHA, 16min., Canada, Relationship
Directed by Nedda Sarshar
Rachel and Raha is a short film about second chances, and how the people in your past make reappearances at strange moments in your life. Rachel is a grad student living in her parents house in North York and enjoying her summer break, when her old best friend (a girl who ghosted her in middle school) moves into her grandparents home across the street.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

– When everything stopped in the pandemic, I suddenly found myself with a long stretch of free time and a weird sense of nostalgia. I kept thinking about places and people that I had not seen in years, and had no real sense of anymore. Usually when I get thoughts like this I’m tempted to push them away, but this time I thought ‘why not lean into?’ and before I knew it I had a script about two people who used to be friends, then weren’t, then had a chance to reconnect again.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

– It took three months to go from script to production. I realized I wanted to do a short film in the beginning of summer 2021 and that I had a script that I wanted to take place in the summer. Hence production needed to be done by the end of September max before the trees started turning. But post! Post took forever. It took over a year before we were finally able to do the final export! And I felt every single one of those days.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Queer and immigrant.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The biggest obstacle I faced was when we lost footage. It happened on the first day. My first day directing a set on my own project and the worst thing that could have happened… happened. I spent that night debating whether or not to call the whole project off. It required us to find another day to do pick up shots before the leaves changed colour for the season. But we did it! And if anything, the shots came out even better the second time.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was so so happy to hear people resonated with the story! They LIKED the characters?! They could see the connection between family and food?! It was a very moving tribute. I’ve watched it a few times since and it never fails to give me butterflies.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I was a PA on Lu Asfaha’s short film, Fresh Meat, in 2020. The energy and care put into the project and the commitment to the director’s vision made me realize how much I wanted to continue to be part of these spaces.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Farewell by Lulu Wang. I love every second of it..

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

I absolutely love it! This is my first time in the festival circuit, and I’m so grateful to have a streamlined platform that hosts all these incredible festivals. I would not have been able to find LGBT Toronto Film Festival.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Soup dumplings!

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently in post-production for my Canada Arts Council-funded short film, Unibrow.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: