Your new movie Seeking Valentina - in a few words, what is it
about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?
it's a short film, there is a lot to mention about Seeking Valentina.
It's about Benjamin (Ali Bavarian [Ali
Bavarian interview - click here]), a Jewish Iranian-American writer, who
is grieving the loss of his wife. When he takes in a whimsical and
engaging tenant Valentina (Kristin West [Kristin
West interview - click here]) and she mysteriously disappears,
it is for the audience to decide is she a ghost, a hallucination, a dream
or a runaway.
I play Ana, Benjamin's sister, who is concerned for his
emotional well being. Armin Nasseri [Armin
Nasseri interview - click here] was the writer and director of the
film and he produced the film with Kristin. They all did an amazing job
and shot the film in some very scenic locations.
did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much of Vida
Ghaffari can we find in Ana?
I liked about this role was that she was just a woman who was worried
about her brother. Coming from a close-knit Iranian-American family, I
thought of how I interact with my own immediate family. She didn't have to
wear a veil or fit into a stereotype like most of the roles I play.
How did you get involved
with the project in the first place?
have the good fortune to have the same manager, Matt Chassin, as Kristin.
He thought I'd be perfect for the role of Ana and pitched me to Kristin
and Armin. I've got to say as an actress it's great to be repped by
someone who really believes in you and stands by you and Matt truly
can you tell us about your director Armin Nasseri [Armin
Nasseri interview - click here], and what was your
really knows how to direct actors on set. Since he's also a trained actor,
he really knows how to give the proper adjustments to propel the scene
Do talk about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere!
Armin Nasseri, Kristin West, Vida Ghaffari
had my shoot in one afternoon and we shot it in the LA area. Since I'm
used to playing such character roles, I was surprised that I didn't play
the stereotypical LA Persian woman I've played before. You know tight
clothes, too much makeup and lots of bling! Or the other extreme, which is
a meek veiled woman. Armin wanted to break away from stereotypes and cast
against type and he truly accomplished that with this film and with none
of my mom's costume jewelry collection to boot or my veil
"collection" that I've amassed for shoots and auditions!
Any future projects you'd like to
just shot a fun role in a comedy sketch on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show.
It should be airing any night now. I also recently shot
Strangers in Book, another film where I had the pleasure of working with Kristin
West [Kristin West interview -
click here] yet again. Christy McGinity from Little Women: LA also acted
in the film and so did Carl Bressler (The Usual Suspects, Battlefield).
The film has a great ensemble cast which also stars a few of Matt's other
clients like Jon Mack (Saw VI), Marv Blauvelt (Jurassic City), and
of course Kristin (Expel the Wicked).
West Los Angeles Chamber Vice President Steve
Little, Chamber President Roozbeh Farahanipour, Phil Bennett of the
City of Los Angeles, honoree Vida Ghaffari and Board Member Elham
Photo courtesy of Albert L. Ortega/Gettyimages
also recently given a Certificate
of Appreciation of behalf of the City of Los Angeles for all my hard work
and dedication to the city, which was signed by 5th District Councilmember
Paul Koretz. In addition to that, the Chamber also held an event in my
honor, where I received an honorary membership to the Chamber. I
was truly honored by Roozbeh Farahanipour, the President of the Chamber
and the rest of the Chamber's members to receive this incredible
commendation, especially as it's one of the largest and oldest Chambers in
Southern California. There was a lot of press coverage and a lot of my
celebrity friends attended, so I was truly humbled and very grateful for
What got you into acting in the first place, and
did you receive a formal education on the subject?
always loved performing. I got a minor in theatre at the University of
Maryland, College Park and have taken many acting and improv classes over
the years to hone my craft and stay sharp. I recently took an amazing
acting workshop with actress and acting coach Porter Kelly that I highly
recommend and I plan on continuing to study with her.
you still remember your first time in front of a movie or TV camera, and
what was that experience like?
got my start as a reporter, so I was used to being in front of the camera,
but from more of a journalist's point of view. I started out by acting in
some shorts and student films and it was an amazing experience to portray
another person and put myself in their shoes.
What can you tell us
about your filmwork prior to Seeking Valentina?
getting my start in student films and shorts, I then progressed to
being cast in indie films, especially in the horror genre, as well
as in TV. I acted in The Mindy Project's pilot on Fox as well as Mind
of Mencia. I am also a voiceover artist and have voiced commercials,
narration projects and just made my animated film debut, voicing two roles
in Lovesick Fool, which stars Fred Willard, Lisa Kudrow, and
Janeane Garofalo. This film was written and directed by Dominic Polcino (The
Simpsons, King of The Hill, Family Guy). I have worked in all sorts of
mediums... on-camera actress in TV and film, voiceover artist and
reporting/hosting for some international satellite TV stations.
far as I know, you do have a background in sketch comedy and improv. Now
what can you tell us yout that aspect of your career and your very own
brand of comedy, and how did that help you with your acting career?
love improv and have studied up until level 5, the graduate level, with the Uprights Citizens
Brigade, UCB, where Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) was one of
the founders. I
think improv helps with everything, be it voiceover on or on-camera acting
roles. Even as a reporter. It helps you to think fast on on your feet,
make strong choices and requires teamwork and listening skills, which is
so important for a performer.
Actresses (and indeed actors)
who inspire you?
Vida with Seeking Valentina co-star Mel
Oh so many. I like the ones who make
strong, powerful choices like Meryl Streep, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Viola
Davis, Kate Blanchett, Jodie Foster, Dame Judi Dench, and Helen Mirren,
but I'm also a big fan of classic actresses of the golden era like Bette
Davis, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn,
Katherine Hepburn and so many others. For contemporary actors, Robert
Downey Jr., Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis, and Sean Penn are
outstanding. As for the classic stars, I really like Marlon Brando, Sidney
Poitier, Laurence Olivier, James Dean, Cary Grant, Richard Burton and many
Your favourite movies?
Too many to list
but I really do like the modern classics like Being There, Harold and
Maude, Annie Hall, The Godfather and The Godfather
2, Chinatown, Scarface, Cinema Paradiso, Amadeus and A Clockwork
Princess Bride, The Last Emperor and so many other films from the
60's, 70's and 80's. It's endless. I also like the old school classics
like Sunset Boulvevard, Gone With the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire,
The Wizard of Oz, Mildred Pierce, and countless others as those films
hearken to the golden era of Hollywood, which I'm a big fan of.
and of course, films you really deplore?
I'd rather focus
on the good than the bad, lol...
Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
You can find me on Facebook,
Instagram and Twitter at vidaghaffari. My IMDb is
Anything else you are dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I am trying to
create my own projects that I am motivated to get off the ground. First
and foremost, I am in pre-production on a documentary about my dad, Dr.
Abolghassem Ghaffari, who was a renowned scientist and mathematician. I
wanted to do it sooner, but I lost him about a year and a half ago, so
it's still very challenging for me, but there is so much interest about
him on a global scale, especially in the math and science academic
communities, that I'd like to do so. He had a love of life and a joie de
vivre that I'd like to capture more than anything else. I screened a
featurette at a memorial about him last year and everyone in attendance
who saw the film really enjoyed it and convinced me to make one. I will be
collaborating with a dear friend, noted composer David Raiklen whose
father also worked on Apollo 11, though I'll never know if our dads ever
met, but I have a feeling they did.