short film by Heliya Alam
The List – Trailer
Heliya Alam is a Persian American director, producer, and writer who committed to a mastery of all facets of filmmaking as a student earning a degree in Film Studies from the USC Cinematic Arts school. She built production expertise working for companies like Warner Bros. and Fox Broadcasting Company and began releasing independent content in 2019. Her prolific work ethic and visually lush creative style have since led her to produce over a dozen shorts and music videos, including “The Birthday Cake” (now in theaters and available on Apple TV) and “On Our Way”, a non-linear psychological suspense film starring Jordana Brewster and James Badge Dale that recently premiered at the Tallin Black Nights Film Festival.
“The List” explores a theme integral to Heliya Alam’s work—the psychological pieces that drive a character and how it relates to our collective human experience with our mental health.
We spoke with Heliya Alam about her filmmaking process and here’s what she had to say about shooting her second directorial feature, “The List”.
Where did you guys shoot and when?
“We shot The List in May in Los Angeles.”
How long was production?
“Production was only three days.”
Any stories you’d like to share from production?
“So many wonderful moments happened on the three amazing days we shot this film. I have to point out my amazing producing team. I have worked with such amazing creative producers and I was lucky to have Brenden Hill, and Suzann Toni on this journey with me. I absolutely couldn’t do it without them.
I think my favorite moment was when we were on our third to last shot of the day and Kyle Leblanc, our painter, had to draw an art piece on the white floor of our set and he had maybe twenty minutes to do it, in order for us to make our day. I had left for a quick coffee break and when I came back I saw our G&E team playing music and my 1st AD, my producers, and everyone on the floor, helping Kyle with this piece and it was the greatest moment seeing everyone helping each other and having fun doing it.”
What was your post-production process like?
“At that time I was living in Miami and my editor was in LA. So the process of working with him over Zoom was interesting. I was lucky enough to work with some amazing post-production crews, from my sound designer to my editor and composer. I can strongly state that Dylan Martin was one of the most patient editors I have had the pleasure of working with. Because as I’m sure you can imagine, the difficulty of not being in the same room and having to constantly go back and forth. He brought my script to life and we had a great time editing this piece. We were on a hard deadline when our composer Topher Mohr came on the project. We had three weeks to finish the film and he had a vacation planned two weeks after we spoke. I had heard such amazing things about him and his work that we had to make it work. He was my composer. So Topher brilliantly came up with the score in less than two weeks. And last but not least, the amazing Jacob Proctor, my sound designer. This film lives in two worlds, our main character’s subconscious, and the future. So as you can imagine, Jacob had a lot of freedom creating these new sounds especially in our main character’s subconscious. Anything and everything could work and he did an incredible job.”
What’s your favorite shot in the video?
“This is really hard to answer.
But if I had to pick, it would be my main character in a white void standing, wondering where she is. This is my favorite shot because it’s extremely simple but so powerful. Despite Caarlo Alberto Orrechia‘s incredible work as the DP, Izzy Marshall brought her all to this character and worked with very little prop, very little set design, and absolutely no dialogue and delivered an amazing performance.”
Is the film available for viewers to watch now? If so, where?
“Currently it is not. It’s going through the festival circuit.
What are you looking to direct next? What are you excited about now?
“This short taught me a lot as a director, as a storyteller, and as an individual. I’m always looking to learn more and grow in what I do and who I am, so the next step is directing a feature film. I’m in the process of reading/writing and finding the right story. I will definitely be dragging my producers, Brenden and Suzann, with me on these so watch out for us!”
THE LIST – BTS
Fable House is a video production company based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that specializes in production for film, video, commercials, and TV. Our team are experts in physical production, post-production, and VFX. We produce content for major brands, TV networks like Syfy and Lifetime, and provide production services to Louisiana’s never-say-die indie filmmakers.