Sedi Ghadiri moved to Berlin in December last year and spending the past ten years in London where she worked as an Editor while writing and directing several short films. After growing up in Cologne, she attended film school and graduated as a director. At the start of her first feature film script she felt the urge to include childhood experiences in the script – which meant the story had to be set in Germany.
However, the institutional discrimination in the school system she experienced growing up as an Iranian refugee in Cologne made the return an emotional struggle. Her move back has helped her confront the topics she’s writing about. With the prior sense of identity crisis transforming into creative inspiration. With a new mindset, she has come to Berlin in order to work on her first feature film.
I considered self-doubt to be a source of a lot of my problems. Now I embrace doubt as a vital tool in the creative process. It helps me progress and grow.
What is the biggest roadblock you’ve faced professionally? How did you overcome it?
As a teenager I joined a local youth theatre group and enjoyed acting very much. But I was a very shy kid so I didn’t want any speaking parts. After a year playing flowers and trees I got bored of improv work. I also developed a passion for writing stories and directing them with actors. I told myself I will direct films one day but I wasn’t sure how to pursue this dream and didn’t have money for a camera. At that time I couldn’t just Google biographies of famous directors and there were no artists in my immediate surrounding to ask for advice. So I would go to the library and read books about Charlie Chaplin. In fact, even though I would watch a lot of films, Chaplin was the only director who triggered my curiosity, maybe because of him playing the protagonists in his own movies.
Ten years later, after completing my MA in Politics I applied to all the national film schools in Germany and to several film production companies for intern vacancies. The rejections I received only strengthened my perception that I wasn’t able to achieve what I desired in Germany. The will-power was there so I thought I had to move somewhere else in order to create the life that I wanted for myself. Since moving to London I have been actively pursuing a career as a filmmaker.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
I once watched an interview with the late Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who explained that doubt brings you closer to the truth. First I thought what he was saying was rubbish, because I considered self-doubt to be a source of a lot of my problems. Now I embrace doubt as a vital tool in the creative process. It helps me progress and grow.
Who inspires you the most?
Friends and strangers inspire me – conversations, random incidents in public places, like on a train or in the swimming pool, things people achieve in life, how they handle challenges and even how they reveal weaknesses, in which I see mine mirrored.
What is one thing you love about Berlin and what is something you would change?
I love the many nature reserves that Berlin has to offer. It takes me only a short ride with the train to retreat to a lake or a quiet green spot. It allows me to get my thoughts together, breathe some fresh air and enjoy quality time in nature.
The one thing I’d like to change but I’m not really sure how is the housing issue. Berlin has become very popular over the past few years and I’ve experienced some horrifying viewings, which were attended by 200 plus people, all trying to squeeze into a one-bedroom apartment in order to view it. You could barely see the space let alone imagine the selection process of the letting agent. Especially freelancers working in the creative sector can struggle in the flat-hunting competition due to irregular income and the uncertain nature of our work. Remaining persistent and networking with many people in order to find something via word of mouth helps.
Where is your favorite place to visit in Berlin?
Tegeler See. But I’m still new to the city and there is so much more to explore.
What events or projects are you excited about in the next year?
I am currently working on my first feature film script and aiming to get funding for the production next year.