INTERVIEW WITH: Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed
FILM: "THE LONG GOODBYE"
Q. Congratulations. I'm over here.
A. Thank you.
Q. Congratulations. How are you feeling right now? You just won
an Academy award.
A. (Aneil Karia) Yeah, we did. Yeah. It feels really quite odd.
I think I'm still processing it. Yeah, it's unbelievable
really. It's, you know, we were saying that, uhm, if you could
have seen a five-minute snapshot of our shoot, the kind of
chaotic, low-flying nature of, you know, of it all, on the cold
streets of Leatherhead, quite underwhelming town in England,
you can understand why it was a leap to imagine ourselves here
today. So, yeah, it's a mad one. It feels good in conclusion.
Q. Riz and Aniel, congratulations on your win. How important is
it to tell immigrant stories that, you know, us, South Asians,
not only are we getting a platform, there's more visibility,
and how important is it to tell these immigrant stories that,
you know, they are different from other immigrant stories. We
have our own struggles? So, personally, how important -- what
drives you to tell these stories?
A. (Riz Ahmed) I think it's really important to tell all kinds of
stories, stories about joy, stories about suffering, and about
all types of people. That's really the point of what we are
doing here as storytellers. You know, a story is a place where
you can imagine yourself into someone else's experience, and by
doing that it increases your empathy. It opens your heart and
your mind, and it broadens your horizons about who you can
relate to and how we are all the same. So, of course, in a
time when lots of migrants, refugees, and immigrants are being
so, kind of, dehumanized, I think it's really important to tell
stories that change that. And what we've tried to do with our
film is, yeah, show the challenges, the dangers of where we
might be headed, but it's also to celebrate the joy and the
community of the immigrant family at the heart of this story.
So we will continue telling stories that complicate and elevate
our experience on screen so people can really empathize.
Q. Hi, I loved your film so much and voted for it and all kinds of
different things. Congratulations to you. And we know Riz
from, you know, acting. And you've leapt ahead and got the
Oscar, which we thought you would get eventually anyway. What
do you think about how the movie has been embraced?
A. (Aneil Karia) Yeah, it has kind of blown our minds. Really,
really, like I say, we made it from a really personal place.
It was an exercise in not being kind of strategic about how you
develop an idea. It was exercise about looking inward and kind
of -- and kind of, I guess, like, wrenching out what's deep
inside them, what you feel like you need to make rather than
what you think you should be making. And it was -- it was an
incredible experience, cathartic, and liberating to do that.
Challenging in its own ways, but none of us expected the
reaction it got. The way it touched the, kind of, the South
Asian community was really moving, and then it went on to win
these kinds of accolades and awards. It's just something we
never expected and to end up here is insane, to be honest.
Q. Hi, guys. Congratulations. I'm from Poland, so, actually, I
would love to ask you if you have seen the other nominees in
your category, and if yes, I would love to hear your opinion
about the Polish --
A. (Aneil Karia) Yeah. I mean, it's a complete honor to be
amongst the other four films. They're beautiful, eclectic
films. I thought THE DRESS was really genuinely stunning
filmmaking, naturalistic, and kind of beautiful. At the same
time, really kind of personal and intimate, the exact kind of
filmmaking I, you know, aspire to in many ways with an
unbelievable performance at the center of it. Yeah, I thought
it was fantastic.
Q. Hi, congratulations. I'm not sure if you were able to catch
the edited version of your acceptance speech. But, Riz, they
only featured you in that, and so I just wanted both of your
thoughts on that.
A. (Aneil Karia) Well, I mean, Riz does speak beautifully, and
that's one of the reasons -- one of the many reasons I've
enjoyed working with him so much. He's able to articulate
really complicated and abstract and challenging kind of
emotions and feelings into such beautiful kind of pros or
poetry or words. I find that amazing. You know, my -- I guess
my preferred medium of communication is filmmaking. Riz is
really tremendous at talking. I love to listen to him, and
they were beautiful words he said. So, you know, so why not
choose those words? So, yeah, it certainly doesn't take away
from anything from this experience with -- this is the
culmination of an unbelievable ride and, actually, also the
beginning of a real friendship, and, you know, hopefully a long
working relationship. So, yeah, it's a big win basically.
Q. Well, this is awkward. That last question was actually what I
wanted to ask, but I just didn't want to give up my question
because I wanted to say a huge congratulations. I'm so excited
and thrilled for you.
A. (Aneil Karia) Thanks. Good seat.
Q. Congratulations on the beautiful, timely film, which I really
hope our government from the UK gets to watch and learn from.
Could you tell us, obviously, why was short film the best art
form to combine your craft, Riz; and then with your filmmaking
Why was short film, basically, the best format to tell
that story and combine the different art form that you were
A. (Aneil Karia) Yeah. I grew up watching a mixture of
everything; television, commercials, music videos, films. They
kind of all -- I've marveled at all of those mediums in
different ways. I mean, it's another story, but they felt far
too abstract and far away for me to ever contemplate doing that
as a career. But I think this -- this kind of medium that we
use, short film -- yeah, it's a good question. I'm not
quite -- you know, why was it perfect for it? I think it -- I
don't -- I'm not answering this very well. You go.
A. (Riz Ahmed) We didn't have enough money for a feature, all
right? We didn't. This was all the money we had and that's
why we made it this short.
Q. Hi. Just congratulations on your win, and I just wanted to --
you know, you just addressed how you felt your speech was
delivered on air. I'm just wondering what your feelings are in
general about the category being announced not during the
A. (Riz Ahmed) I mean, obviously, ideally, everyone's speech, all
of the categories get an equal number of air time, and, you
know, there's no feeling that there's a hierarchy of awards.
There's a lot that's being said about that. I mean, I agree
with that -- that point of view myself personally. But, for
me, what is important is that that doesn't become the story.
And the -- ultimately, we are here to celebrate filmmakers,
like Aniel, and the film that they have made.
And it would be kind of weird if, you know, the story became,
oh, how come we didn't get to celebrate these filmmakers
enough? By making it a story we are actually adding to the
problem. So I think the focus here is the amazing film that
Aniel has made. The amazing craft that's gone into all of
these categories, and, yeah, this wonderful gift from our
creative community in, you know, taking these statues on.