Meet an AWC Alum: Faroukh Virani

Learn about one of our past AWC alumni from Class of 2016, Faroukh Virani, who directed the short film "Sameer and the Giant Samosa."

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has opened its call for Fellows for its 2017-2018 cycle. Applications are due October 6, 2017. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.


What’s been keeping you busy? How has life been after AWC? What projects are you currently working on right now?
Things have been productive after AWC; I’m currently editing a few short projects and writing a feature script I hope to shoot one day. I’ll soon be returning to the post-production team on season 4 of CW’s “iZombie”- a couple of editors on our show are AWC alum! I also met some great collaborators after our AWC cycle, and hopefully I’ll be moving forward with on some projects with them.

How did you first hear about AWC? What made you decide to apply?
I had been attending “Digital Posse” screenings before I applied, and I was hooked by the diversity of stories and genres the program fostered. I left each screening feeling inspired to try and develop my own voice as an Asian American filmmaker. I met and became close with a few artists who had completed the workshop and they were the most wonderful people. Their advice to me: apply! So I did, and I’m so grateful I was selected. 

Tell us, how has the program experience challenged your filmmaking process?
It’s definitely an intense boot camp experience: Coming up with a good idea is hard enough, but by the time you’re wrapping up a decent draft on your script, you’re confronted with how to actually shoot it in an efficient way. Then, you’re pushing to get a working cut that is to time, and then it seems before you know it, you’re screening at the Festival! I appreciated the challenge and process during the program’s script workshop. We really have to clarify and distill the story we want to tell and why we want to share it. You have to maximize five minutes of screen time and make it count!

How did it feel to be a part of the AWC Fellowship - working amongst AAPI filmmakers?
The best part of AWC is the family of AAPI artists you become part of. The talented filmmakers I’m fortunate to have met during our cycle were all super encouraging and supportive. During the process of making our films, we helped on each other’s shoots and tried to find creative solutions to challenges posed by everyone’s scripts. We learned a lot from each other, as each fellow had their unique way of approaching storytelling. We’re still very much in touch after the program ended – and I’ve found the support runs deep, with alum from past cycles too!  

Who do you think would benefit most of the AWC Fellowship?
Anyone with a desire to improve as a filmmaker, build their community, or tell a great, unique story. We need to cultivate honest, authentic voices to continue to contribute to the media landscape, and AWC is a space that helps you hone in on what you’re trying to express. I wasn’t quite sure what the result would be when I set out to make my short film (working with a genre I hadn’t before), but the mentors and fellows always had my back and made sure I came out with the best possible film I could.

Screengrab from "Sameer and the Giant Samosa"

Screengrab from "Sameer and the Giant Samosa"

What did it mean to you to have your film premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival?
It was an honor to premiere at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. I’ve been watching films at LAAPFF since I moved to Los Angeles; and I owe a lot to all the inspiration soaked up from taking in the best and freshest in AAPI cinema. So, to see my film on screen at the Festival and as part of the conversation was a trip. Being able to share my work with our community is an amazing opportunity; VC truly supports and cultivates artists of all different styles and at different points in their careers.

The Armed With a Camera Fellowship for Emerging Media Artists has opened its call for Fellows for its 2017-2018 cycle. Applications are due October 6, 2017. For submission guidelines and more info, click here.