Farbod Khoshtinat’s live-action short Two Little Boys which shares the story of a bullied boy who professes his love for a closeted bully. A film packed with high emotions and brilliant acting by a young cast, we are not surprised that this film is a finalist at Manhattan Shorts Film Festival and has screened at the Oscar-qualifying film festivals Nashville Film Festival and Out On Film: Atlanta’s LGBTQ Film Festival, with more film festivals coming up. We spoke to the talented director about his film; asking about the inspiration behind the film, the scene which sticks to him the most, the casting of the brilliant three young boys, and what he has coming up in terms of projects.
Hi Farbod, how are you doing?
Farbod Khoshtinat: I’m doing great, thanks for having me!
Congratulations on your poignant and important short movie, ‘Two Little Boys’. Where did the story for this movie come from?
FK: The inspiration comes directly from my childhood. When I was 7, I fell in love with my best friend. When our families found out, we were shamed and punished and I never saw my friend again.
Growing up in Iran where homophobia is a societal norm; my adolescence and school days embodied many similar stories of homophobic incidents that stayed deep within my unconscious.
When I decided to write Two Little Boys, the words poured on the paper. It wrote itself in a day, I realized I was longing to talk about this.
The entire cast gives such beautiful performances. How did you come across the three actors?
FK: We auditioned around 80 candidates within 4 months without avail. But as soon as I received Trace’s video audition, I knew I had my Josh. I immediately drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco to audition him in person. Trace had a long history of being bullied and I could believe his delivery. I could feel the pain in it because it was real.
Asa Germann who plays Tyler, on the other hand was an amazing method actor. In contrast with his character, he has one of the kindest personalities. It just shows how good of an actor he is that he can transform that kind personality into a raging homophobic monster.
Jordan Kyle who played Sam was also a brilliant young filmmaker who really portrayed his role well and helped glue the two main characters together.
There are many feelings in this movie, but what is the scene that stuck with you the most?
FK: I think it’s definitely the flashbacks when the film explores the childhood of the characters and we learn about them the most. It is also where we look at the audience and deliver the message of the film.
What was the most challenging part of making this movie?
FK: For me personally, as an immigrant who’ve just moved to Los Angeles, there were a lot of barriers. It’s harder to get permissions, to assemble a crew or even rent equipment when you are new to the city and have a “weird foreign accent” so I think It’s really important to understand and support the new comers with their cause and message as behind the language and cultural barriers we are all human deep inside, yearning to connect with each other.
Many of your movies are about emotions and though times. Why is it important for you to put those very human feelings on screen?
FK: In this fast-paced era everyone is stuck in the moment, flooded by news, opinions and voices. As I dissect these events, the core is usually a very simple one, a primitive human behavior; fear, love, hatred, faith and so on. These simple words are ones anyone from any background can understand; we all share these one way or another.
With my films, I aim to directly speak to that peeled core of my audience. To link a particular issue to our basic thoughts and emotions, something everyone can relate to.
Where did your passion for movie come from?
FK: In my teenage days back in Iran, I happened to be a part of the group of friends that pioneered the Iranian Underground art, from music to murals. I was that 90s kid with a handycam and skateboard all the time, documenting the movement. Eventually some of my content got attention and film makers took notice of me. They reached out to me for collaborations and through that, I entered the world of filmmaking.
Do you already have other projects coming up?
FK: I love to explore different ideas throughout my path in film making and for my next film I’ll be talking about the concept of faith in the modern era and whether it still has a place in our society. I will also explore agnosticism, which I believe needs to be talked more about but it is rarely discussed.