rePROFilm Podcast

HEROINES with Katia Badalian

September 30, 2022 Season 1 Episode 12
rePROFilm Podcast
HEROINES with Katia Badalian
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Asha Dahya interviews Katia Badalian - a multi-talented Russian-American visual artist who directed the short film we’re featuring this month titled ‘Heroines’. 

Ten year-old nina is at the home of her neighbor Regina, Waiting for her mother to pick her up. Regina is a coarse-talking woman, dressed in a sexy outfit while chain-smoking in her kitchen, and perhaps emboldened by Nina’s unresponsiveness, takes the opportunity to give Nina the good old’ sex talk - well her version of it! At first, given Nina’s silence as she listens, we assume as the audience that she doesn’t comprehend some of the details Regina is describing. But a twist at the end makes the viewer see, in a shocking way, that she understands more than we realize. 

‘Heroines’ has just wrapped up a successful 2 year festival run, where it received a lot of peer recognition and acclaim, as Katia shares in our chat. 

Shot in only 2 locations over 8 minutes, relying on sound design and carefully designed visuals to be a key part of the story, ‘Heroines’ is a very different type of sex education film, but one that underscores the need for more dialog to disrupt damaging narratives we are seeing around America today. 

This was such a rich, dynamic and inspiring conversation, and we're thrilled to be sharing it with you all! 

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our monthly newsletter where you will get each episode of the pod straight to your inbox. Learn more at reprofilm.org or at @reprofilm The rePROFilm Podcast is executive produced by mamafilm. Looking forward to bringing you our next conversation!

Asha Dahya  07:26
Hello rePROFilm podcast fam, I’m your host Asha Dahya, beginning this episode with a huge sigh of frustration at an article I was just reading on APnews: Apparently a false claim was circulating online recently that, and I quote “The Idaho government is offering materials on “porn literacy” to students as young as 8 years old.”

This is flagrantly false. You can look it up. Do all the Google things. But the most damaging aspect of this is not the claim itself, but the way the narrative has been spread like wildfire online and on cable broadcast TV. You know which channel I'm talking about and played into the existing fear of sex education being taught in schools.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, public schools have become a volatile political battleground, especially leading up to the November midterm elections. Conservatives are doing anything in their power to take away crucial funding, resources and support from public education, throwing around accusations of teachers being “groomers” for supporting LGBTQ+ youth and teaching comprehensive sex education. As it stands sex education is such a patchwork curriculum in the US. Only 29 states today mandate any sex ed teaching, and only 13 require the information to be medically-accurate. Even worse, numerous states mandate abstinence only to be taught in schools, a curriculum which has been proven time and time again to be damaging and unethical.

Later this month I will be talking to an educator and doctor about this, but it made sense to focus on Sex Education as our theme for October. So while I’m putting a pin in the political nonsense for the time being, don’t worry, we WILL return to it, today I’m excited to be speaking with a filmmaker about how creativity and art is a powerful way of shifting narratives and offering a much more nuanced look into complex topics.

And it is here I want to include a Trigger warning for mention of sexual abuse and child abuse in the interview, before I continue.

In this episode, I’m interviewing Katia Badalian - a multi-talented Russian-American visual artist who directed the short film we’re featuring this month titled ‘Heroines’.

Ten year-old Nina is at the home of her neighbor Regina, Waiting for her mother to pick her up. Regina is a coarse-talking woman, dressed in a sexy outfit while chain-smoking in her kitchen, and perhaps emboldened by Nina’s unresponsiveness, takes the opportunity to give Nina the good old’ sex talk - well her version of it! At first, given Nina’s silence as she listens, we assume as the audience that she doesn’t comprehend some of the details Regina is describing. But a twist at the end makes the viewer see, in a shocking way, that she understands more than we realize.

‘Heroines’ has just wrapped up a successful 2 year festival run, where it received a lot of peer recognition and acclaim, as Katia shares in our chat. 

Shot in only 2 locations over 8 minutes, relying on sound design and carefully designed visuals to be a key part of the story, ‘Heroines’ is a very different type of sex education film, but one that underscores the need for more dialog to disrupt damaging narratives we are seeing around America today. 

This was such a rich, dynamic and inspiring conversation, and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you all!  Please welcome Katia Badalian!

Asha Dahya  03:53
Katia Badalian, welcome to the Repro Film Podcast. It's great to be speaking with you today. Let's talk about heroines, your short film that certainly has people talking for numerous reasons, which we will get to in a moment. But first, I'd love to hear how the idea for the film came about and why you decided to make it.

Katia Badalian  04:11
Yeah, absolutely. First of all, thank you so much for having me here. I feel like film does a big chunk of the work, but there's a lot of work that is in the discussions behind the scene of how everything happened. Heroines came to me, honestly. I was sitting in a kitchen and I was kind of in a in a transformation, transformative part of my life, I would say. I was traveling a lot and I came to visit Moscow. I haven't been there in three years, and I was sitting in this post-Soviet kitchen and it was nighttime, and I was just looking at the walls.

All of a sudden I feel like it was like a whole combination of everything that just happened to me and like in my life just came to me as a vision. I saw it like in my head. I saw the entire short in my head as I was sitting there and I looked to my friend and I was like, I think I'm going to make a short film. And she's like, About what? How have you been working on it? And I was like, No, it just came to me and I just started just expressing everything. I see the conversation, the dialog, the meaning, the monologue mainly, and just like just expressing everything.

She was like, Wow, you absolutely have to do it. And then that solely became my mission of like, okay, I understand what my goal is. There is a story that is just inside of me that's been probably boiling up my entire life. And in this moment of my life, I was I was like 20, 24 years old. And I was like, I'm ready to do this right now.

Asha Dahya  5:47
Had you made a short film before?

Katia Badalian  05:48
No, it was my first short film. So it was like a debut to me as a director and film. I have done I have debuted it as a director in an off-Broadway show that I did in New York. And I always thought that theater would be like my would be the format that I would be following. But all of a sudden I was just like, no, the films, like I was doing photography and I felt like this was the right time to finally merge the two formats and like, you know, just finally do it basically create that film and make that story that was inside of you. 

Asha Dahya  06:23
And you are originally from Russia, but you're based in the United States now, correct?

Katia Badalian  06:30
So I call myself the reverse immigrant. Actually, one of my friends gave me that name. I was born in New York. My parents came in the nineties and they were there for work, visa doing business. And then my mom got pregnant and I was born and later on they got divorced and when I was eight I moved to Russia. So I grew up from, you know, a complete other world. And in the 2000, early 2000, we came to Russia and I was like in total shock, like my world flipped upside down because I went to a grocery store and I was like, Mom, where's the peanut butter? And she's like, [in Russian]. She's like, [Russian] Do you think they have peanut butter? And I was like, Really? That's your answer? I was like, okay, I guess they don't. I was like, I thought, everyone does this. It was very strange to me.

Asha Dahya  07:26
Yeah, that would have been quite the interesting experience, especially in such a formative time of your life. So yeah, and coming as a New Yorker, not just American, but a New Yorker as well.

Katia Badalian  07:36
Exactly. So sometimes I realized that when I came back in 2013 to America to just like start my life and live there. Live here. I, one of my friends told me he was like, you know what? But all you know about America is New York and Los Angeles. He's like, and that's like, not really America. Like, there's more to what America is. And it kind of that conversation started when like, Trump got elected because I was in such shock, I was like, wait, this is impossible. And that's where the whole conversation is like, but you only live in these two places that are not really like, you know, fully American. Like there is just like it's a whole like mixture of so many places because all the people that come there, you know,

Asha Dahya  08:20
yeah.

Katia Badalian  08:21
So it was definitely a super big life change and I would always have to go back and forth for the summer time to stay with my father and come back. And that was a big change because of like I had, I was a kid with an accent and I was someone who was American. And like a lot of people at the time, you know, just the country, it was just opening up in a way. So they were just like getting more exposure to the American life. And I was kind of like the one showing it. And a lot of a lot of racism came, even though like, you know, like I am white. But it was the it was the nationality, racism that I've experienced because like being called different names and burger face and stuff like that was just like a part of a part of my life for a really long time.

Asha Dahya  09:15
Well, I'm sorry you went through that, but it seems like this is part of your, I guess, creative process, you know, using film as a way to, you know, talk about these important topics and things that happened to you in your life. So thank you for making Heroines. It's such a great film. And this month's theme is Sex Education and Heroines has a unique take on, there's no doubt because of your clearly very interesting background. And although it's very layered because at first you think it's one of those scenarios where an older woman, a neighbor with clearly a lot of sexual experience, is giving her version of the sex talk to a young woman she's looking after. But at the end, without giving too many spoilers away or if you want to do that, that's fine. You realize the much deeper impact of the information the girl is being given. Why did you decide to have that additional layer at the end? Like it wasn't just a typical sex talk to a younger woman?

Katia Badalian  10:13
I think it came from I feel like as a kid going through a lot of these changes that I discussed earlier, I kind of had to grow up pretty quickly. But oftentimes we I think kids grow. They grow up mentally. But like obviously in age and everything, the perception of how people perceive them is differently. And for me and like I justified everything, like why the character Nina was silent the whole time. It's not because she's mute. It's not because she's it's because I've been in situations where people would talk to me about things that I have total...

Like I have a complete understanding of what they're talking to me about. But I am so scared to say that I know because how would I know? I'm so young I shouldn't know certain things, but certain things just, I think came so naturally from an early age and created a lot of sexual confusion in me . And I feel like I was a very early, like, sexual kid, but I did not understand how to talk about it or like how to express anything because I was labeled as a kid because I was like a nine year old and it's like, how do you know these things?

But the thing is, I lived with a secret for 12 years. I didn't tell a single soul that I was molested and sexually abused, and I just held it inside of me, but always played the role of like, I have no idea what anyone's talking about and just like played dumb in a way to just like give the adults, you know, the give them, you know, the how would you say like they're holding like the totem pole of like, I will tell you something new that you don't know. And I would be like, absolutely. Please go ahead.

Tell me something I don't know. You know? And that's just like who I was. And in creating this film, I just felt like this was my experience. And through my experience, I first of all, wanted to release. I was also on a very like spiritual path of understanding how to like shed a lot of things that we hold in us. And like this was, this is my art form. And like, I knew that I had to release the story, that something that has happened to me.

It's a collection of different things that has happened to me that I put in one story and it came out this way, and it was my way of like letting go and letting the story live. And hopefully, if there is anyone that can resonate with this and if this could heal someone and know that they're not alone and know that if they have ever experienced something like this, like I also have, and maybe we could look at this and we could just let little things go as we watch something like this.

Asha Dahya  13:10
Well, it's so powerful. And thank you for sharing your story. And I'm so sorry that you experienced that. But like you said, I have no doubt that it will give even more people comfort and the knowledge that they're not alone in this. And there are ways that they can see their story reflected in places they can talk.

So I also want to give a quick disclaimer. Hopefully I edit it, will edit it out. But you might hear my daughter in the background, but you might hear Katia's dogs just so you know. But it's all part of being in the rePROFilm fam you know, we have dogs and all the good stuff happening the background. So and I wanted to ask what the significance of the title "Heroines" is? Is it kind of what you alluded to where you look at these adults and. The heroes. They tell you what's what about the world as a child?

Katia Badalian  13:56
Exactly. I feel like I feel like we don't often name women as heroines, only unless we're talking in novels and in literature. And for me, I feel like I've had so many strong, powerful women around me, a lot of single moms.

My mom was a single mom and her friends were all single moms. And so we were just like, you know, in this like community of women that support each other. And for me, it was so important to just give that grace and give that respect that there even the main character, she is a she is a heroine , despite the fact that she has her flaws and she made her mistakes in life. It doesn't our mistakes don't define who we are as women. It's only a stepping stone to be who we are, to give us the allowance, to tell the stories that we have.

And for me, it was just like it was also again, it's the collective character from different women that I've met that I put all into Regina, into her and giving her the voice and and and just like, just like seeing her kind of live. And I just love that that name. And I sometimes describe my friends like, Oh, she's a heroine because she's she's a badass. She's powerful. She stands on her ground, but she also knows what she wants. And she will move with grace and she'll move with a lot of power and strength and wisdom, because I think that women carry so much wisdom. And I think it comes from a maternal feeling. And I think it also all combines into that word as well for me, and that is just solely for me and how I experience and feel about it.

Asha Dahya  15:46
That is the best description of the title of ever heard. I love that and I love that it's so powerful and strong and yeah, it's inspiring, too.

Katia Badalian   15:55
Thank you.

Asha Dahya  15:55
Well, later this month, we're featuring an interview with one of our new resident experts, Dr. Julia, who talks about the horrendous landscape of sex education across schools in the US. She's an OB-GYN and she's worked in the medical field for a long time. She's also a sex educator in schools. Did you know much about this landscape, Katia, and did this factor into your filmmaking in any way or the story?

Katia Badalian  16:19
Absolutely. First. First of all, I received zero sex education. It was only bits and pieces that I heard from different women or men of like what sex is or being a teenager and talking with my peers and like sneaking and watching porn and being like, Oh, this is what sex is and having zero background and understanding in that.

So for me, it was it was just like going into something that I had, I had a feeling but had no, no idea, like an educational side of things. And I think it's so crucial that kids don't get a proper sex education, because I think if they did, it would just alleviate all the other trauma that we experience of like, okay, people talk about protection, but what does protection actually mean? You know, like STDs or HIV aids or am I going to die? You know, it's like, oh, am I going to die if I don't use protection, have sex.

Asha Dahya  17:22
Get pregnant and die.

Katia Badalian  17:24
Exactly and exactly. And I'm like, Well, that's bullshit, okay? They're just trying to scare us. But if it was done in a more like, I don't know, like a sit down heart to heart kind of explanation, like I feel like so many of my friends and me would just, like, not have a lot of trauma or problems moving forward. I had a lot of issues because I didn't know what I was doing and I only knew that I want to do something. And it's like, how do you tame, you know, I'm still a kid, right?

Like, we're still kids when we're teenagers, but we're kind of adults. And like, where do we where do we find our place? And and it it just created so much confusion. And I feel like I feel like kids right now are so exposed to so much information because it's in the palm of their hands. So being exposed to all of this, like I can't even imagine like what their hormones and what their inner emotions go through because I only had the TV and a magazine that I was through [Same], you know. So. Exactly.

So it's like it's it's so it's it's devastating that that people are not putting too much attention to that. Like, I think, like, you know, sex education and taxes are like the number one things that school needs to really prioritize.

Asha Dahya  18:45
Literacy, sexual literacy

Katia Badalian  18:47
Two, It's like, guys, if we get this right, we're good. We're. In life. We could just keep on elevating, but like, nobody takes the time for that because we have like I think we have just like old, old ideas of what education is and it's math and literature and it's like but it's way beyond more than just that

Asha Dahya  19:06
Yeah, I totally agree. And like you mentioned earlier, you know, your story of someone who had experienced abuse at a young age, you know, for others who have experienced the same thing and also not getting the right comprehensive sex education that adds its own difficult layer and it just can compound to unhealthy things. So we need sex education. Come on. You know, destroy that patriarchy already. Yeah, that's a whole other topic. But. And so the film is nearing the end of its festival run. Can you tell me about some of the some of the reactions it has been getting, including some of the most surprising or, you know, ones that took you back, the most unexpected?

Katia Badalian  19:46
All in all, like during the festival run, I have received like wonderful messages, some some festivals I couldn't make in person. And I received so many wonderful emails and messages that it resonated with people and I loved it.

And when we went to SXSW, it was like the coolest experience of my life. And because it has an end twist, it kind of like being in that I guess awkward silence for a second was just so, I don't know, exhilarating and so cool and but at the same time, just how everyone understood it was great once the film went officially online through short of the week, which I was so grateful for it short of the week for doing a write up on the film and publishing it on their website. I came across a lot of comments and particularly mostly from men that would go out of their way and write a really , really in-depth review of like basically bashing the film and saying that I was supporting sexual abuse, which obviously had nothing, nothing to do.

That was like, did we watch the same film or did okay. And it was, it was very strange. And like, of course, like I was a little bit down on myself and questioning myself, is this right? Was this wrong? Is this how people perceive it? But quickly, everyone reassured me that that is not the case. But it kind of maybe shows the lack of like maybe cis men not understanding what we go through in a way.

Asha Dahya  21:29
Yeah, it's it's so interesting that you say that and it's like surprising, but it's also not because, you know, hearing that the way that some of these men have reacted, especially toward the ending and the inclusion of the story about sexual abuse, it also makes me think about how far removed so many cis hetero men are from the reality of what happens for so many young women, for so many marginalized folks, for people of color when it comes to abuse and assault. Yeah, it's just really interesting. And maybe that although I feel like disclaimer to everyone listening and everyone in general never read the comments section because they're awful. But at least this kind of brings up an important discussion about. You know, this is why we need to have films like this and why we need sex education, why we need more dialog about the different things that many women go through. Because how are we ever going to fully see the realization of MeToo? And then if we don't hear these stories, you know, and see.

Katia Badalian   22:03
Absolutely. I agree with you. And I think maybe a part of me was also like wanting to show more stories like that. And I feel like, you know, in the past couple of years, the film has been showing more and more stories that are in that direction, that are more women story driven. And and we always had women story driven it. They were just all like very romantic comedies and like show and women being all, like, excited that he texted back and like, all these, like, fun stories. And it's like, they're great, right?

They serve a purpose to, like, sometimes we want to just, like, lay back and relax. But, like, I feel like that maybe sometimes, like, through films is something you could, you could tell the story across all different platforms of reaching out to a different audience.

And like another question I would always have would be like, Well, if this makes you cringe, then why? Like, what is there? Is there a deeper conversation that you maybe should have with yourself if you're a little bit uncomfortable? What this what this reignites within you, maybe you should have a conversation with yourself again. And I also feel like it's not only like we only should tell women stories of abuse. There are stories of men and abuse.

And, you know, and it's like it would be great to also hear those. And I've heard personally from my friends and what they went through because in a way, like with my film, I became this like open book of like, sure, guys, let's just talk about these topics because like, I don't mind, I've been through this. It's now all out in the open. So, you know, tell me your stories. And I think that through it's different than reading a book. It's just like simple, quick and easy to understand. And it is a shame that a lot of men are removed from the understanding that these things happen.

And I feel like the the general like society of like globally is starting to feel more empathy towards one another. I think that throughout the pandemic, people had time to kind of like tap into those like more human. We like soulfully topics with one another and at least that's how I want to see this world. And maybe I'm creating illusions, but I just really hope that like men and women could just, like, understand that we all go through the same things and like, it's okay to actually celebrate each other versus putting each other down. Because if we celebrate one another, we just keep on elevating and our world becomes a better place because of it.

Asha Dahya  25:22
I don't think that's an illusion at all. I think you're working toward and creating all that you want to see through film, and that's really, really impactful. And yeah, like you said, I think it is important to for us to first ask the questions of ourselves like, well, why does that make me feel uncomfortable?

And it's something I hear about a lot with other filmmakers that I've spoken to through this podcast series who show topics on film, like whether it's endometriosis or something to do with sex or maternal health or abortion, whatever it is, it's, you know, our instinct, because we have social media and the digital world at our fingertips, it's easy to be like, I'm just going to like punch out a review or reaction online and project that onto the filmmaker or other people. But it honestly is our own internal work that we have to do. So I'm so glad you said that.

It's really I constantly have to ask myself when I think, Oh, why did I have to do that? I'm like, Why am I uncomfortable? Let's go back to how I was raised and the messages and the dismantling I need to do. So I really love that. And as a filmmaker, dealing with what can be quite a sensitive topic, not just sex education but obviously abuse as well. What is your process of writing a script? What was your process? Writing script where the visuals do a lot of the heavy lifting, not just the dialog.

Katia Badalian   26:38
It was because it came to me as visuals first and like I saw it in my head, that was something I actually teamed up with a writer who's Sarah Bowers, who's an incredible writer. And I the next day after I saw all of this, I called her and I was like, listen, this is the how the monologue has to sound. And I kind of just started spitballing and telling her, like, like being in the character myself in a way, and then explaining to her that, like, you know, but then we see how, like, because the girl is not talking, we have to show something through her perspective and we're going to use the camera to do that. And so that's why we see those different visuals. And then kind of she sent like in three days, she was so inspired, she whipped out like a 20 page script and I was like, Whoa, this is incredible.

You understand me completely. And then it was all about editing. And then we were. Together in the editing process. And I was cutting out pages and moving dialogs and just like moving all the things in and it kind of just like came together like this. And then I was looking for a DP and my, my partner was my producer and he recommended a VP that he went to school with. And he's like, I think that he, Rafael, would really connect with what you want to say.

And I sent the script to Rafael and he instantly, within a couple of hours was like, Hey, I read it, let's talk. And he's like, I'm so moved by the story. I'm I feel very like this is resonating with me. Let's talk how you see it. And I gave him a lot of visual references. I was like, you know, I want to make this. I'm also a production designer. So I was like, I want to make this feel like we don't know where it is. I want to create a world like I want to dress it up. And I had amazing production designer that was did an incredible job and I was like, I went to go wallpaper shopping and I was like, We need to put wallpapers. We need to have this aesthetic.

Asha Dahya  28:45
it was a great set.

Katia Badalian   28:47
Thank you. I was like, we need to dress this up and make this feel like this. And then I there was like a moment in the film where they're just like, after she finished talking and there's like the train going by. And this was filmed in L.A. There's no trains anywhere. But in my head I always knew that there has to be a train passing by, like over a valise. Like for me it meant like a release of something that I feel like when trains pass by, it's like someone's leaving. Someone has left.

So for me it was like the perfect, like period in my mind and my justification as a director that that was like the perfect like period of the thought. And then we go to like the final part of the film and everyone was super on board with all the reference images that I was showing and like how I wanted to make it feel. And everyone was like, Let's make this. And it was just all about coming together and being very collaborative and trusting each other. And I'm so grateful that everyone trust me so much because I had nothing to prove, you know?

I was just like, Hey, I moved to L.A. with the script. I want to film it, you know? And this is my first work. But everyone, the trust is very important. And Rafael did an incredible visual job. And it's all through a lot of conversation and a lot of prep and being very I like to be very precise with my shots. I allow a lot of improvization during the shoot, but when when we were prepping for it, I knew that I don't want a lot of coverage. I want this shot. I want this shot and I want this shot.

Like I do not want to show a million different things because I feel like a shot should tell a story on its own. And we don't need to like we don't need to we don't need to get the audience to like we don't need to give the audience too much visuals so that they lose what the voice and what the actual words, you know, because that is that is the fundamental of what we're talking about. So that kind of like. Yeah, how it all came together.

Asha Dahya  31:03
That's so fascinating. Thank you for sharing that process. And I love that idea of the the sound of the train because like you were saying earlier, this film is a way of you letting go of something in your life. And so it's kind of like a tie back to you personally. That's so beautiful. I'm going to have to watch the film again if you haven't watched it. If you're listening, please watch it. Zooming out a few levels quickly, let's talk about the connection of the themes in heroines and what we're seeing politically right now, the regression of bodily autonomy across the U.S. when it comes to abortion rights, health care for trans people, schools becoming battleground for the right wing who are accusing teachers of being groomers if they support LGBTQ youth or teach comprehensive sex education, God forbid.

You know, they're sadly doing a scarily good job of controlling the narrative. So what are your thoughts on this, and how can films like heroines become a way to reclaim and set the narrative or be a way of starting a conversation in a in a whole new way? First of all, it's such I mean, it's such bullshit that people are trying to use the phrase grooming, you know, because it's just it's upsetting. It's very upsetting. And it's.

Katia Badalian   32:16
I personally don't even know where do we begin to make a change? It's like we could go out to so many protests and we could sign so many petitions for these things. But it's the actual people in power that are going to have power and they're always going to do what they think is right. So I think, you know what you bringing up that like through films, can we make a change? I think absolutely. I think, you know, kids watch shows and TV shows. And I think that if artists can think about these issues and keep that as their perspective, when they tell a story will truly make an impact because there is no other way to do it. So it's like solely on everyone else.

It's like for me, I tell myself, I have to tell myself, like I have to know that I'm being a good person today. Like if I woke up and I did the things that I could do because my friends would sometimes tell me like , well, if you're like vegetarian, like that is not going to save anyone. I'm like, I'll just start with myself. Like, I'll just feel good waking up and like, it's same with, with like knowing that there are kids that have a lot of sexual confusion and like, don't know how and what and understandably, because they're not being taught . And that is, I think, creating maybe communities for youth. Like, I feel like America does not have for instance, America does not have a great theater system, which I think is such a such a big minus for the youth's education.

Because growing up, as I said, I was a teenager growing up in Russia, we did a lot of like we went to a lot of theater because it's like a normal Thursday night, Friday night, and you see different plays and different shows. And a lot of them were taking old plays in contemporary world so that I my age could understand what they're talking about. And I think that was like an educational, in a way, process for me of going to plays and watching things and learning about love and romance or tragedies or heartache and stuff like that.

And I feel like America doesn't have any spaces for youth like that. And if they do have spaces for youth, they're usually within the community of your school or your sport, and it has nothing to do with culture. And I think that if there were just more centers for culture to just like educate kids on not like not book stuff, life stuff like that would just make such a big impact. And it's, it's such a mission of mine.

Like, I'm dreaming when I like, I don't know, maybe ten years, 15 years, 20 years from now that I could create like a theater in, in different parts of America that will have a bookstore, a cafe, a screening room and a theater so that people of youth and all different ages could come to this safe space where they could have discussions, where they could all read literature together. They could sit at a cafe and wait for people to come from a play and sit down and talk about the play. Like that is like a model that I've been dreaming about for these past, like maybe eight years. That one day hopefully will happen, but that I feel like only places like this should could make a change and they should exist. And unfortunately, there aren't any places like that.

Asha Dahya  35:58
You are definitely a visionary person in your creativity. I can definitely say thank you. But in the meantime, for those who are going to be watching heroines for the first time through the repro periodical, what do you want them to know? To remember, to love or learn or think about?

Katia Badalian   36:13
I guess it's all about coming in with an open heart and just being in a different world that maybe they've never experienced and just trying to, you know, just received and receive and not judge and not react. Just feel it, just feel it. Be in the moment. And if you've experienced something like this and if it resonates, drop a line more than happy to say thank you or talk in depth. And I just yeah, I just want people to just not judge it and just accept it as it is.

Asha Dahya   36:52
I love that. I love that. And finally, where can people see more of your work and follow all your projects?

Katia Badalian   36:58
My website is KatiaBadaliancom. And usually I just post everything on the first page, like all my videos. I have another short film, Anna, that talks about sisters and sisters interactions, and it also stars Nina, the character that is also in Heroines. So it's kind of like I was thinking of making like a little trilogy and get to the third one, so only have the second part. So that's another short film that's out there to watch and some other work, and hopefully I'll just be updating my website or you can find me on Instagram @KBoom and just, you know, that that's that's mainly where I write.

Asha Dahya   37:40
We will definitely share the link to your website and all your socials so people can stay in touch. But Katia Badalian thank you so much for chatting with me today.

Katia Badalian  37:49
Thank you so much for having me. This has been a pleasure and it's been so healing to talk about these things as well.

Asha Dahya  37:58
Be sure to head to reprofilm.org to watch ‘Heroines’, and visit Katia’s website via the link in the shownotes. You can follow her on Instagram @kboom

The rePROFilm podcast is executive produced by mamafilm
Hosted and produced by me, Asha Dahya, 
Edited by Kylie Brown, 
With original music by ParisJane and Marrice Anthony.
The periodical is programmed by Neha Aziz and written by Emily Christensen 
Alex Sgambati is our Social Media Manager and 
Rebecca Sosa is our Distribution & Impact Strategist. 

You can find us on social media @reprofilmofficial on Instagram and Facebook, and @reprofilmfest on Twitter. I look forward to bringing you our next conversation. Bye for now!