Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Shawna Khorasani

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

TGG: I recently discovered this young filmmaker on a facebook group (it’s going the way of MySpace, I know, but still good for something)… and I’m so happy to be able to interview her today… Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

SK: Hi, I’m Shawna, and I’m an indie lesbian filmmaker who loves telling stories about women, the queer community, and people of color. I got my start with a literary webseries I created, wrote, directed, and produced in college back in 2016. It was my first time ever working on such a large scale project (with no film training either), and it was such a fun and great learning experience! As a queer filmmaker, I like seeing lighthearted, feel-good queer stories. Some of my favorite female filmmakers are Desiree Akhavan, Olivia Wilde, Patty Jenkins, Shonda Rhimes, and Alice Guy-Blaché (look her up—she was literally the first ever female director!)

TGG: Could you please tell us about your latest film, “LoverGirl”?

SK: LoverGirl is a lesbian romcom about Dakota, a lovestruck teenager using grand romantic gestures to ask out her crush Danny. It was the kind of film I wish I saw when I was a closeted high schooler. I drew inspiration from Love, Simon and Juno. I wanted to tell the classic high school romance story, but update it to normalize queer romance and crushes as a young LGBTQ person. LoverGirl even won an award and had a very successful film festival run; it is now available on Youtube, and has stolen the hearts of thousands all over the world.

TGG: Your film references a lot of 80s films, what are your favourites, and why were you so inspired by them?

SK: Yes, good catch! LoverGirl was definitely inspired by classic romantic comedies of the 80s and early 90s. Some of my favorite 80s rom-coms are Say Anything, When Harry Met Sally, and The Breakfast Club. I think I was so inspired to emulate these movies because for one, who doesn’t love a good romance? But also I wanted to take the recurring theme of characters using huge sappy gestures to win over their love interest and place it into a queer context. It’s a running joke that lesbians and queer women are bad at telling their crush they like them–so how would a nervous but hopeful lesbian ask out her crush? It was really fun coming up with all of Dakota’s romantic gestures.

TGG: How did you find your lead actor? Shoana’s a star!

SK: Great question. I am so, so lucky I found Shoana T. Hunt, who plays Dakota, the main character. I don’t even remember how they found the casting notice, but they reached out to send over an audition tape. Shoana actually auditioned for both Dakota and Danny, but as
soon as I saw them read for Dakota, I knew I’d found my lead! Gotta love a happy coincidence. And can you believe this was Shoana’s first film project? They’re just THAT good.

TGG: Readers might be interested to see “The Decision”, another wonderful collaboration with Shoana and Shawna:

TGG: So, what’s next for you?

SK: Well, I can’t bask in the glow of LoverGirl’s success forever, can I? Currently, I am preparing to shoot and fundraise for another romcom short about a marriage proposal. Can you sense a theme here? (I just really love feel-good queer stories, okay?) I also am collaborating with a friend on a new mockumentary-style satire/comedy web-series about the wacky staff of an LGBTQ community center under the first year of the Trump administration. It’s going to be a busy year, and I can’t wait!

TGG: We can’t wait to see what you do next. How can we best support you?

SK: I’m currently building new social media channels to showcase my work and am in the process of building a website as well. But you can check out my Youtube channel:


and follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shawnakhorasani
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shawnakhorasani/
and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shawnakhorasanifilms

I also have a Ko-Fi account if you want to help fund my next project:

I hope you like LoverGirl!

TGG: We love it!

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