For me, cinema is life—intensified, exponentially radiant, moving, surreal. It has the power to change a person's perceptions and can be a wonderful tool in bridging cultural divides. I was born in Iran and came to America when I was five. The duality of being both Iranian and American has found its way into this story. Much like the two main characters, Shirin and Leila, I've often felt adrift between two worlds. In The Neighbor I wanted to present women living apart, yet somehow linked by their cultural threads. I also wanted to make a Farsi language film that would stand on its own, unique in its portrayal of Iranian women. We shot on location in Vancouver where there's a large and growing Persian ex-pat community. The process of making an independent film with limited resources and a micro-budget has reinforced my belief that anything is possible. The Neighbor is my first feature narrative.