ASU student creates film based on life

Depression. It isn’t something people like to face, but it is rampant in society. Likewise, it is the way people come to understand and appreciate vitality, rejuvenation and hope.

Chiara Farina tactfully sends this message in her short film, “Iris.”

“I knew I wanted to do something non-linear and psychological, and then the story itself came from my personal experiences with depression that I’ve dealt with in my life and then how I found hope at the other side of that,” Farina says. “It’s really about hope. No matter how dark things are, it is still beautiful, there is still light in that darkness.”

“Iris” came from four years worth of what Farina calls “word vomit,” which she watered down into monologues. She says, “The story is how you get from one monologue to the next.”

Her decision to pull from her personal monologues is a testament to how much Farina has poured herself into her education.

“Since it is a thesis, I wanted it to have more meaning since it’s a accumulation of all my years thus far and what I’ve learned, so I figured that would be a good experiment,” she says.

Her interest in filmmaking came from reasons as deep as the movie “Iris.”

“I like to be able to affect people. I like to make people think. I like to explore themes, characters, experiences and how you can get through things. I really like to help people find meaning through art. If you can change one person’s heart, I think that’s worthwhile,” she says. “Film is a really special medium… As cool as words on a page are and how powerful they can be, I think taking it into a visual medium adds a whole other potential to it that’s different. It affects people in different ways.”

“There is a sunset monologue scene that was a really nice scene. Lacy is talking to Alex, the main character, about sunsets and how they are a metaphor for hope, without going too much into it. It’s a really moving scene anyway,” she says.

Farina recounts this last scene as one of her favorites, which was a finality on so many different levels. She says, “It was the last day and the last shot.”

If the film sounds interesting to you, you may want to check out some of Farina’s favorite works and works that have inspired her, including “Breaking Bad,” “The Hundred” (get past the first 5 episodes), “Outsiders,” “House of Cards,” “Walking Dead” and “Flash.”

“My favorite film of all time and the one that inspired ‘Iris’ is on Netflix, it’s called ‘Mr. Nobody.’ It’s really psychological and non-linear, and it’s all about the power of your choices and how that affects your future and all the different choices you can have based on the choices you make and the butterfly effect.”

During the period of Farina’s life that the film is based on, she says, “I basically wrote myself out of depression. Writing stories and putting other characters through similar things and figuring out ways they got through it, got me through it. It’s kind of odd, and it shouldn’t have worked, but it did… Writing it down is my self-therapy.”

Farina struggled to come to terms with her sexual orientation since elementary school.

“When you don’t have anyone to talk to — anyone to turn to, can’t talk to your parents, can’t talk to your friends, can’t talk to anybody, and you are hollowed up inside like that — it makes you feel disconnected and that makes you feel lonely, and that loneliness eats you up, and it kind of destroys you,” Farina says.

Ultimately, she wants everyone to take the deeper message out of the movie.

“I look back on those darker times. You have no idea what’s around the corner. You just don’t know and if you look, there is always something,” Farina says.

Chiara Farina graduated from ASU in December 2015 and is now plotting her next move in the industry.

“In August, I plan to move to California to pursue writing for TV... TV is a really cool medium now… It is becoming bigger than film… You can explore moralistic gray areas, you can explore human nature in more interesting ways. People like those edgier shows,” she says.

“Iris” cannot be publicly shared while it’s on its festival circuit, but if you want to follow the journey this movie takes, visit a festival or show your support by following the “Iris” Facebook page.

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