Jasmin Mozaffari: The Firecracker igniting women's roles on and off the screen

Mozaffari talks about the emotional reaction that audiences are having to her debut film Firecracker and why she wanted to put bold, unapologetic women front and centre.
Jasmin Mozaffari with host Tom Power in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

"I didn't see a lot of films that portrayed women who were already proudly sexual or proudly confident about who they were," filmmaker Jasmin Mozaffari told host Tom Power live in the q studio.

In her debut feature film Firecrackers, Mozaffari redefines how teenage girls are portrayed on screen. Touching on themes of misogyny, abuse and the strength of female relationships, the film follows two bold teenage girls named Lou and Chantal.

Lou (Michaela Kurimsky) and Chantal (Karena Evans) in the film Firecrackers. (Prowler Film)

Originally a short film for her student thesis in 2013, Mozaffari created the characters based off of women she grew up with in Barrie, Ont.

Lou and Chantal want to escape the patriarchal oppression in their small town and break through expectations of how women should behave. The film doesn't just focus on women - it also explores how men can feel this same pressure.

Mozaffari is reflective on the audience reaction to her debut film. "I think when you make a film that takes a lot of risks you're not going to please everyone,'' Mozaffari told Power.

Firecrackers debuted at TIFF last year at the height of the #MeToo movement. Although Mozaffari created the concept before #MeToo, she said that Firecrackers is a part of the ongoing discussion

"I feel like exploring anything that's happened in my life that's tough or challenging through art has always been helpful and I think that's why I'm a director," Mozaffari shared. "It's sort of making sense of the realities that I've known through artistic practice."

Mozaffari worked with a majority female cast and crew: female producers, cinematographers, production designers and costume designers. The filmmaker said that the women who worked with her truly understood what she wanted to do because they all had personal experiences that helped them understand her vision.

Mozaffari's film Firecrackers comes out in theatres in Toronto and Vancouver on Friday, March 29. It's nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards this weekend.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full interview.

Produced by Cora Nijhawan. Words by Enrica Ammaturo. 

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