All posts by audreyneri17

WHERE WE STAND by Audrey Neri

My film is about gentrification, specifically how it affects San Francisco and New York City residents. It is visually told through footage of the Mission murals and San Francisco neighborhoods. Currently running as 2 minutes and 9 seconds, the film is pretty short and follows a more poetic documentary style. One of the films I watched in preparation was called “Exit Through the Giftshop” about street art and how fake the art world can be. I watched this because it was recommended to me by one of the people who helped me out with this project, but it turned out to be really helpful in seeing how to film artwork well and how to incorporate those shots into a larger story. I ended up using some footage from YouTube as well as some voices from interviews online.

I think one of the challenges with making a documentary is that you kind of have to be prepared for anything. There’s not really a lot of preproduction to it so you end up shaping your film after the footage you get. I didn’t expect my film to get this deep, but after going through all the content that I had, it just became how it became. And I guess that’s what I like most about it; it is genuine and is shaped around something that’s very real and close to me.

F2F: Film Noir Festival & Musee Mecanique/Exploratorium

I thought that our first face to face meet up for the Film Noir festival at the Castro theatre was really cool. It was pleasantly surprising to me to see how much of a film community we have in the Bay Area. I didn’t expect so many people to be at the theater but it was packed, and that was awesome considering that they were showing old movies that many of these people had already seen before. It was good to see that the movie theater culture is still alive despite modern technology which allows us to watch anything without ever leaving our homes. I also got to become more connected with the Castro theatre which was amazing and I am curious to see what other events they have coming up!


The other thing I thought was really unique was our trip to the Musee Mecanique. This was definitely a place that I would never have stumbled upon without this class. It was such an interesting and strange place, and had so many awesome antique games that I would never have been able to experience otherwise. I also really liked the Exploratorium. Even though I’ve already been there a few times, it is always so cool to go through the museum and find new things that I missed previous times. Then having our own private film festival there was awesome and inspiring. That was the first time that I saw such abstract and non-conforming methods of film and cinematography and I am so glad that I got to experience it. I’m eager to learn more about what other crazy but really cool kinds of filmmaking are out there that I have yet to discover.


“Plastic Soldier Motion Study” by Audrey Neri

This assignment was to create a motion study (animation) using a minimum of 72 frames. We studied Muybridge as well as old animation machines at the Musee Mecanique and the Exploratorium in order to get inspired for this film.

I decided to make this film about plastic soldiers that come alive. It was really difficult to shoot an entire film only using pictures, and I was surprised at how difficult that makes the editing as well. However, seeing the final outcome was really cool even if all that work only resulted in a minute or so of footage.

“The Box” by Audrey Neri

This was the first Bay Area Cinema Assignment that was assigned this semester. The assignment was to create a noir style inspired film and to also have it take a place at a particular Bay Area location that we are interested in. The film had to be black and white, less than 2 minutes, and feature a variety of unique shots.

I enjoyed making this film and ended up doing a color version as well. I went to the beach at sunset with my friend and tried to capture as much of the beauty of the landscape as possible. The story is fairly simple because I tried to focus to attention on the cinematography/visuals/audio.

The color version is the only one publicly accessible at the moment on Vimeo.

No Land’s Song



Filmmaker: Ayat Najafi

Country of Production: France/Germany/Iran

Year: 2014

Length: 93m

Language(s): In English, Farsi and French with English subtitles

Genre: Documentary

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No Land’s Song, a documentary directed by Ayat Najafi, took me on an emotional and fascinating journey into one of the more underrated struggles of Iranian women. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have been forbidden to sing in public. The film follows Iranian composer Sara Najafi in her mission to organize an illegal concert featuring female solo performers. Sara bravely dives into her quest, reaching out to European musicians and recruiting supporters for her musical project. She also goes deeply into the history of the taboo, questioning orthodox religious leaders as well as women who were affected by the passing of the law. Of course she gets her fair share of problems too; continuous discouragement from the government, lack of support, and lots of hard decisions make it apparent that Sara was making a big statement on forbidden territory. But the determination, strength, and love behind Sara’s project is impenetrable, and stops at nothing to liberate the female voice in Iran.


Ayat Najafi skillfully captured so much emotion in this film. Every moment seemed so significant: the somber stories of old women who would cry in the middle of the night because they couldn’t sing, the tense encounters with clerics, the late night rehearsals the group had together, the long distance skype calls, the singing in the kitchen while making dinner, and much more. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the film tracked the ups and downs of Sara’s journey without using too much external explanation at all. I also really enjoyed how Najafi was able to feature all of the group’s music and their inspirations within the film in a way that worked really well and added to the connection with the viewer. Speaking of that connection, I think that the reason why this film was so impactful to me is because of my role as a young female musician. I never realized how much I took my own voice for granted. Music and performing are my self-expression, my creativity, my outlet, and my identity. I cannot imagine how life would be if I were stripped from all of it. I respect Sara and all those who are standing up for the Iranian woman’s right to sing, and I am inspired by their fortitude and passion.


There are a number of points of views being portrayed through this film. Not only does the film portray the perspective of the Iranian women, but also the perspective of the European allies who are part of the project, and the government/religious leaders opposed to it. One of the scenes where the perspectives clashed head on was when Sara went to visit an Iranian cleric to ask him about the policies passed after the revolution. Sara sat in a room the man, straight posture and wearing a black chador, a contrast from her attire in the rest of the film (either just a hijab or nothing at all). Using carefully crafted phrases as to avoid a tone of disrespect for the man, she asks him the reasoning behind the anti-singing policy for women. He explains that the reason that women are not allowed to sing goes back to very orthodox values. It was said that God created the voice of the women to be in a different wavelength/frequency, one that should not be heard in public because it is too arousing for men. It is improper for men to be distracted/aroused in public, and the female voice was created to trigger such things.


Obviously the perspective of the cleric contradicts the point of the film, but it is there to provide context about the type of people and the reasoning that Sara is opposing. Sara and other women do not believe in the reasoning the cleric provided, or at least they think that it is outdated. Sara later talks greatly about one of her idols, Qamar, a female Iranian singer of the ‘50s who was known for performing without a hijab. Women like Qamar and other singers before 1979 had great influence on Iranian women and youth, inspiring many women to perform music as an outlet, empowering force, and source of entertainment and connection. The revolution stripped women of that one very valuable aspect of their lives, and banned the ability to even purchase music with female singers. Despite the very apparent difference in ideals and the restrictions for women within Iran, the liberation movement never faltered under the pressure of those trying to bring it down. Not only did Sara make history, but she opened the doors for generations of Iranian women to come.

MY ARTWORK: Continue reading No Land’s Song