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BABA Interview ---Sundance 2023


A middle-aged Iranian man makes a desperate bid to keep his apartment as his relationship with his son unravels.

By Emmanuel Itier

Meet Anya Chirkova and Meran Ismailsoy, the filmmakers of “Baba”, which played at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the Shorts Program 2 section  

1/ Inspiration and goals for this film?

The inspiration came directly from my own personal experiences with my dad. The film essential is about a father and son who drift apart because of a language barrage. My Farsi was getting worse, and his English was almost nonexistent, so communication was agonizing.

My goal would be for people to relate and connect to this story. I would hope that it could bring closure or a sense of catharsis to some families. 



2/Challenges to put it together?

Finding the right actor to play the dad. I wish I was exaggerating, but we probably approached every middle-aged male Iranian actor in Toronto. A lot of them just didn’t understand the film and character. Iranian men are very traditional and the main issue for them was the swearing and subject matter, but we were lucky to connect with Amir Zavosh. It’s pretty surreal because he shares the same first name as my dad. 



3/ Themes explored in this film? what is it truly about?

At its core, the film has always been about a son who parents his father, trying to get him out of the hole he’s dug himself into. It’s presented in the style of dark comedy.



4/ Being in Sundance, what does this mean and what type of expectations?

It’s amazing to get this kind of recognition. I was lucky enough to premiere my short film Bump in 2022 and to be back at Sundance again feels like a dream.



5/ what comes next for this film and for you?

I have a feature film I'm working on, that feels like it’s in the same world as Baba. (absurd and dark) It’s based on a real-life criminal trial.

Meet the Artist


Panelist Name

Anya Chirkova


Anya Chirkova is a Ukrainian-Russian film director and producer. In her work, she's always looking to tell painful, yet cathartic stories that feel strikingly personal. She is the co-founder of a Toronto-based production company Funny Bone Pictures and a Humber College alumna. Currently, Anya is in pre-production of her first feature film.

Panelist Name

Meran Ismailsoy

Meran Ismailsoy is a Toronto-based, Azerbaijani filmmaker with directing and acting backgrounds. Meran approaches film as the art side of philosophy, and believes that this art form can introduce the world to humankind.



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