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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview With Persian Actress Golsa Sarabi

Interview With Persian Actress Golsa Sarabi @ AFM 2022

Golsa Sarabi is an international star and an action actor, who was born in Tehran, Iran and now resides in Los Angeles. Golsa boasts a diverse experience in performing arts, which includes film, stage, producing and scriptwriting. She was one of the executive producers on the film Dreams I Never Had and was nominated for the Best Actress Award at the Burbank International Film Festival for her lead role opposite Malcolm McDowell and Robin Givens. She has produced four short movies and has finished the short, First Title Above Billing, which received three nominations. She also played one of the leads in the TV pilot By Design

Golsa was the first winner of the "Young Acting Award" at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, where she completed a two-year intensive method acting program. Motivated by the desire to empower women, she was the first Persian woman after 35 years since the revolution who represented Iran at the Queen of the Universe Pageant, and won the coveted award. Currently, she is in development on her first feature titled Mia, as one of the main producers and will star in the lead role. The film is based on a true event that happened in Iran about 40 years ago. She is an executive producer of the feature film Back In The No



Can you tell us about your path to becoming an actress and producer? Did you always know you would pursue this path?

GOLSA: Well, I come from a Persian family that is like any other Persian family that cares about education more than anything else. My journey to become an actor had its own process. Thankfully, they’re happy and proud now. But, that wasn’t the case in the beginning of my career, which often led me to not being able to trust my own choices. My first inspiration to become an actor was watching the movie “Ghost” when I was a very little girl, and witnessing the beautiful performance of Demi Moore. Also, I think acting has always been a spiritual path for me to understand and know myself as a human being.


Being from Iran, what has been your biggest challenge/s and your biggest reward/s thus far following your career?

GOLSA: I think my biggest challenge has always been about understanding this industry as someone who hasn’t been born and raised here, and able to find my place in it. My biggest reward has been the magnificent journey I’ve taken from being the first Ms. Iran after 35 years since the Revolution to winning the Queen of the Universe Award. As well as from being able to study at my dream school - “The Lee Strasberg Institute” for two years on a partial scholarship to getting nominated as best actress at the Burbank International Film Festival for my first movie in Hollywood. Further, all the incredible people that I’ve met and co-creations that we’ve done together. The journey still continues….


Do you believe it is necessary to have multiple talents to be a filmmaker these days? And do you prefer one more than the other?

GOLSA: I believe that in order to be able to make movies and put the producer hat on, you definitely need to understand and have different skills than those of an actor. Also, you need to understand when you need to put that hat down and be open to take on a character’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors.


Can you tell us about some of your previous films and series? 

GOLSA: I’ve made four short movies with the goal of putting my reel together. My reel got me my first job, which was a lead opposite Malcolm MacDowell and Robin Givens in the movie called “Dreams I Never Had”. I played as one of the leads in the pilot “By Design," as well as the lead in the short movie “Dinner with a Stranger” which got to the top three in Sundance. I worked on a movie titled “The Persian Rug,” which was a soliloquy about whether to wear the hijab or not to wear it, and is still in development, and "Maia", which is in development as well. There are also a few other projects that we’re in negotiations about right now.


Do you have a film that you are most proud of?

GOLSA: I love and enjoy every work that I’ve done, in Iran and here in the USA. Obviously, "Maia" is what I’m most proud of, because I was involved in the whole journey from the script to bringing the story together with our amazing director and writer.


Can you tell us about your new series "Cyrus" without revealing too much about it?

GOLSA: It’s a very strong and captivating story about Cyrus The Great, which I believe is very time sensitive and can bring a lot of awareness and courage to Iranian people, especially at this moment in our lives.


Do you think the roles for women in film and entertainment are improving or remaining the same? 

GOLSA: They’re definitely improving and each of us has a huge impact on its change.


You recently attended the AFM. Why do you think it's important for actors to attend markets and networking events?

GOLSA: Well, this industry like any other industry (if not more) is based on relationships, communications and interactions. We are storytellers, so we can’t hide in our caves and talk about world experiences. We are the world and we are those experiences. That’s what makes some stories rich, strong and heartfelt, and some not.


You recently spoke on a panel for "Production Without Borders" during the AFM. How was that experience and what was most rewarding about this eclectic conversation?  

GOLSA: It was such a beautiful experience and I truly appreciate everyone involved on the panel, especially people like the founder of Kultura PR International, Nicole Goesseringer Muj, and all those who put such incredible events together. I was able to speak about my projects, about women's life freedom and the bravery of Iranian people right now. I also met so many incredible people in the industry with whom you don’t usually get to interact on a daily basis.


What will you be working on next?

GOLSA: I would like to finish "Maia", and see what will happen with a couple other projects that are on the table. And I will continue being open to this magnificent universe, which is full of unlimited possibilities! 


Interview With Persian Actress Golsa Sarabi @ AFM 2022

Golsa Sarabi at "Production Without Borders" panel. AFM 2022

Interview by Vanessa McMahon


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