An interview with SIMIN VASWANI | TIMELESS LOVE | VMA 2022 | February Edition
The language of emotions used in the narrative short TIMELESS LOVE is a precise stylistic choice with which Simin Vaswani, filmmaker, writer, producer, actress, and dancer has debuted on the indie film scene.
Winner of 13 awards in the February 2022 edition of the Vegas Movie Awards™, Simin has immediately highlighted her multi-potential personality by writing, and then performing through dance, one of the two main characters of Timeless Love.
The short film is entirely focused on non-verbal language that transports the viewer through music, gestures, glances, and Viennese Waltz Ballroom steps into a never-ending love story between the two characters, moving from the initial emotional tension to unconditional love.
A brave choice for a debut, dictated by Simin's extreme confidence in her instincts and emotions and her strong vision that guided her throughout the process; a choice that was amply rewarded here at the Vegas Movie Awards™ for the quality and care shown in this first production.
• Welcome Simin, and first of all, congratulations once again on your wins here at the Vegas Movie Awards™! With this film, you have officially made your filmmaking debut, and we are honored that you chose the Vegas Movie Awards™ as one of your first festivals to attend. What has it meant to you and your Production Company to win big here in Las Vegas?
Vegas Movie Awards™ set a platform for our production company to take flight. What we loved about this festival is their heart-centered approach. When you make something for the first time, it’s nerve-wracking and you don’t know where you stand. I felt like my film was nurtured and our work was appreciated in the most genuine way. To be judged by a panel with a high level of standard and excellence, gave us great feedback! It was a pat on our back, like someone said, Great job! Continue to do what you are doing, you got it right!
• In ‘Timeless Love’ you're a writer, producer, and performer. Which of the three roles best brings out your talent and makes you feel most comfortable?
It took me a long time to realize that I am a multi-talented personality. I see a vision, I write it down, then I produce it, and I love witnessing that vision take shape and form. Then to be able to perform the part, get to live the character and embody it in dance, is the next level of experience in the manifestation of the vision for me. Each of these parts give me the opportunity to feel and live the process of the vision coming to life.
One day, when I was meditating, I saw a vision, it was a dance film and I was dancing in it. The vision’s energies were very strong and the film started to play in my mind’s eye.
• You told us that 'I write deeply emotional stories about relationship dynamics while integrating dance into the narrative. To me, human emotions are pathways to embodying one's essence and dance is a medium of that embodiment.' Could you elaborate more on this wonderful concept of yours?
Emotions, physical body, creative energies and human evolution are connected. In my studies of core energetics which is a form of body psychotherapy, I personally experienced how emotions integrate one’s essence in the body and how our life force can be expressed in a profound way, when we simply get comfortable in processing our emotions. Dance can become an expression of emotions, energies and movements when expressed through technique. The body is an instrument that can tell a story from the past, present and future. When the body moves with a certain intention then it becomes a powerful container. On the other hand, choosing simple life stories that highlight relationship dynamics or how we show up in our relationships in our struggles, triumphs, and everything in between, is a topic I feel very passionate about. Thus I write stories that integrate these two elements.
• When did dance, writing, and filmmaking find a point of conjunction in your professional life?,
In 2019, one day, when I was meditating, I saw a vision, it was a dance film and I was dancing in it. This happened after I chose to leave IT and become a full-time caregiver for my son and my mother. The healing process of motherhood opened my heart and I was ready to express myself as an artist. The vision’s energies were very strong and the film started to play in my mind’s eye. In 2020, I started with expressing the story in verbal words to the choreographers first, and then I wrote the entire screenplay for the film. Simultaneously, I was also naturally playing the role of a producer for this film and that is how dance, writing and filmmaking came together.
• Your project, made of music and body language, tells through dance the poetic and deep emotions of a love relationship that shines again, breaking the silence of loneliness. How did you get the idea of creating, a short film that tells a love story through gestures, looks and ballet as the only form of expression and communication?
After witnessing many men struggle in expressing deep love, I felt inspired to make 'Timeless Love' from a man’s point of view. I started to meditate, on what can make a man feel safe in expressing the depth of his love and I got the answer that it’s the divine feminine. That persona that embodies sensuality, softness, and strength can become a man’s inspiration to feel deep love in his heart.
I see energies in my mind’s eye and the energies of this vision were gold and white in color and they were circular and twirling. When I further meditated on how to express these circular energies, then I saw the progression of this film from silence to grandeur of music, the character of Travis moving from a smaller room to a slightly bigger hallway to the ballroom, the circular rhythms of Viennese Waltz and finally the emotional unraveling of the character of Travis, from feeling lonely and inward to feeling open and free in expressing his heart.
Also, the American Smooth Style of Viennese Waltz is contemporary but rooted in the traditional style of Viennese Waltz Ballroom. In this evolved style of dance there is an interchange of the lead-follow roles. This dance style is known for its expansive natural rhythms, it moves swiftly but needs grounding of the feet into the dance floor along with a fluid open articulation of the upper body. It’s rhythm is expansion-contraction, which is similar to breathing and the heart beating. Thus this dance style was suitable to express a poetic, romantic, love story.
• Could you explain to our readers this stylistic choice of yours?
A story when written with space can create a deeper narrative, a space where traditionally one would insert music or dialogue we chose to insert silence, a space where we let the body's rhythms tell the story, a space where two characters allowed emotions to flow without uttering a word. These spaces were created with the intention to keep the story open to audience interpretation, so they can then attach a personal narrative, which could become a segue to healing.
It is so important for me to keep the choreography simple to tell a story through film. Sometimes technique can remove the audience from being able to relate to the movement while other times technique can create the structure and intention required to perform a piece. However, by keeping dance simple, the story can be told in a more profound way because then the audience can relate, stay engaged and be present.
• What were, if any, the difficulties you encountered from storytelling to filming?
There were a few difficulties along the way, including my hamstring tear, covid for the lead actor, two team members quitting, increase in budget than the original plan. All of which were overcome by surrendering to the desire of manifesting this vision.
• What were, instead, the things that have further enriched your personal and professional experience through the realization of ‘Timeless Love’?
My personal evolution, growth, and education in filmmaking, is the most valuable gift I have received from the making of Timeless Love. Also, watching the team bring their expertise and give so much to this film, truly touched my heart deeply. I am a better communicator, a more confident filmmaker and I am learning each day to be nurturing towards myself and those involved in this process. In the end, all of us are learning to express our hearts while healing our hearts, both at the same time.
• For your short film you worked with Breton Tyner-Bryan who, besides being an award-winning filmmaker, is also a choreographer. How much did her experience as a dancer and filmmaker help in capturing the visual and emotional nuances told in your script?
Breton completely understood my vision and respected me as a writer and devoted themselves to the manifestation of this vision. Their knowledge in dance, choreography, and film made it super easy for me because we spoke the same language. Additionally, their experience as an award-winning director and amazing talent in coaching us as actors and dancers on set, made the entire experience seamless and so fun! Breton made the whole experience exciting, ecstatic, and super fun!
• How was the creative process designed between script, choreography, and visual storytelling?
The creative process started in November 2020 which is when dance choreography was set to the writing. There was a Viennese waltz dance track that told the story I was trying to communicate and we used it as a rehearsal track. I also had found the location by then which helped the choreographers envision the dance in the chateau and once the dance was choreographed, then I started seeing visions of what angles the dance should be captured from. In my studies of classical realism fine arts, lines and angles are studied in depth to express the right emotion through the medium of fine arts. That background helped me envision the visual storytelling.
The Choreographers did an amazing job in using dance figures that expressed the story and emotions beautifully. They also placed the dance sequence in the chateau wonderfully, thus when the dance was captured from various angles it brought much more depth to the story.
The Director was amazing in putting this entire concept to film and further expanding it to a whole new level of excellence.
• Let's talk about the future. What are your aspirations for the future? Do you plan to develop more projects of such high quality?
We are currently in production of our next short film which is a story about a woman discovering the depth of her own resilience. Our future plans are to produce another long short about a couple’s struggle in their sexuality and intimacy. Both these stories integrate narrative with dance.
Striving for excellence, creating something high in quality, comes naturally to Harish Vaswani and myself. Together we make a great team as founders of Sarina Film Productions. We surrender to our calling and sincerely follow our heart’s guidance and devote ourselves to manifesting the vision.
• Thanks for being with us today, Simin, it has been a great pleasure having you as a guest for this interview and as a multi-award winner at VMA. Would you like to dedicate these recent wins to someone in particular?
Thank you Vegas Movie Awards™ for this opportunity to be interviewed and share my experience.
I would like to dedicate my recent wins to my spiritual teacher Ronit Singer, who has been my guide for over a decade, has empowered me and continues to do so, my husband Harish Vaswani who truly believes in me and my visions, my mother Sadhana Zaveri, who has shaped me and taught me to always give my best and never settle for mediocrity, and finally my son Karan Vaswani who came into my life and healed my heart, so I could go out in the world and be nothing but me.
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