PHOTO BOOTH is a romantic comedy drama set in 1970s London, where an immigrant couple attempt to navigate Great Britain -- and each other. Mina and Feras are a typical couple: they laugh, they cry, they fight, they make up. Today they are taking the perfect ‘couples photo’ in their local station’s photo booth, but as their opposing views on the relationship start to unravel, their future together seems to slip further and further out of frame. A mix of irreverent humour with social realism, the film is a testament to those living life on history’s sidelines.
Director Roxy Rezvany -a British filmmaker of Iranian-Malaysian-Chinese descent from London -' ‘Photo Booth’ is something I wrote out of both passion and frustration. First and foremost, I was creating characters that would celebrate the immigrant generation of my parents. This was not just in terms of a migration story, but a specific “first generation” paradoxical personality that I wanted to bring to life. They are street-smart but naive, thick skinned but devastatingly vulnerable, innovative in both humour and work ethic, and yet perpetually overlooked. Their challenge was to figure out a way of loving and supporting each other, whilst also learning to love yourself - in a country whose social context was set on getting in the way of that. It’s a long history of those born abroad being labelled ‘aliens’ or ‘other’. It’s a legacy that me, my sister, cousins and friends have inherited, and what we still see remnants of in England today.
However, I also wrote this film because I was and still am frustrated with the film industry’s failure to invest in interracial onscreen couples or explore the narratives these relationships can hold. By setting the film in a photo booth, my intention was to present these characters in a neutral space, so you can see them for who they are - their quirks and personalities - rather than boxing them into immigrant stereotypes. It was also a place of great intimacy, truly giving you an insight into their relationship.
The film you see was shot in one take, to show the full spectrum of who these characters are and the breadth of spaces and expressions they can inhabit even in the course of seconds. The film does not keep these characters at a virtuous distance, or seek to have them as caricatures or “exotic additions”. Additionally by setting the film in the 1970s, I wanted to draw attention back to a time when a lot of the original immigration debates and legislature that still shape institutions and culture today happened, and ultimately show how history has detrimentally had a way of repeating itself in a supposedly post-Colonial Britain.
Last of all, I hope the film’s one-shot format draws attention to the performances of our actors, which carry the film. I knew in writing the story that I would have the chance to work with actors who don’t often get to play romantic leads, and hope this serves as a showcase for new British onscreen talent.'
Writer/Director: Roxy Rezvany
Producer: Elly Camisa
Executive Producers: Scott O’Donnell & Aneil Karia
Director of Photography: Jeremy Valender
Production Designer: Soraya Gilanni Viljoen
Costume Designer: Emma Jayne Lipop
Editor: Ross Leppard
Sound Designer: Guy Chase
Casting Director: Lara Manwaring
Mina: Lorraine Tai
Feras: Elham Ehsas