Italian Made

Armen Perian

1) How did you get into directing?
My interest in directing really started when I enrolled in photography class my senior year in high school.

I used to sneak into the labs after hours to develop my black & white film - it’s where I learned the foundations of the medium.

When DSLRs started having video capabilities, I began experimenting with moving images. My sister is a writer; her constant story-telling rubbed off on me and directing was a natural fit.

2) What is your most recent project?
I’m currently in pre-production for a short film titled KEZIA. The story is about a Jewish prostitute in WWII who is set to be executed after murdering a Nazi officer for a cigarette.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
The intersection between the concept and how you’re going to execute it is always most exciting to me.

When you’re writing or in pre-production, it’s easy to get carried away & dream big but bringing in real world limitations (time, money, etc.) is where the challenge is – it’s like a riddle the entire crew is working to solve.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?
I wish directing had a hands-on aspect. I love working with my hands and at times I don’t know what to do with them on set! Depending on the shoot, you might see me bring a ukulele or Spanish guitar along just to have something in my hands during down time or when discussing a particular shot with my department heads.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
My current focus is commercials. I think the tone of my commercial work is very much influenced by internet humor where the less it makes sense, the funnier it is. The trick is to make sure that despite the nonsensical premise, there is a solid concept that comes across to the viewer.

I do also have my eye on the world of features. My sister & I are working on a script at the moment.

Whereas my commercials are comedic, my narrative work deals with a lot darker subject matter, as evidenced by the short film mentioned earlier.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?
This is a hard one – I have my phases with directors. Right now, I’ve been really into Robert Bresson’s work. I recently saw a 35mm print of Pickpocket and it blew me away. His philosophy on cinema is also very unique and I think against the grain of many other greats.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
My favorite film has to be Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. I’ve been waiting for a Criterion Collection release for over 2 years (though they’ve added other Tarkovsky films into the collection, which is always a good thing).

My favorite commercial is for Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival, where a group of office workers sit in a break room talking warmly about what it’s like to have a moustache, only to find there’s an impostor amongst them. It’s simply told and beautifully absurd.

9) Tell use about your background (i.e. Where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I was born & raised in Los Angeles, CA. My first love was soccer (still get up at 4am to watch European matches). I’m also a classically trained guitarist, having attended the Pasadena Conservatory of Music for 7 years. I received my B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design.