The Director of the Decade
Celebrated for his ability to capture the nuances of human behavior and evoke profound empathy through his films, writer and director Ramin Bahrani is dubbed the “The Great New American Director” by film critic Roger Ebert. Associate Professor of Professional Practice, Film, and Columbia College alumni ’98, Bahrani is known for his films Goodbye Solo (2008), Chop Shop (2007), Man Push Cart (2005), and the incisive portrayal of the American foreclosure crisis 99 Homes (2015), which features Andrew Garland and Michael Shannon.
In speaking of the realism he brings to his films, Bahrani says: “There’s a lot of non-professional actors in 99 Homes—a lot of real people. When Dennis is doing the evictions, every person on whose door he knocks was a real person—and that’s really their home. I found them during the location-scouting process and got to know them and conceived [their characters] based on who they were. It’s the same process as in my previous work. I wouldn’t tell Andrew who was an actor and who wasn’t one. He had no idea what was going to happen when he knocked on the door. He just knew what he should say. The sheriff who does the evictions is a real sheriff who’s done evictions for years. He had acted in a couple of films, but never in a role this extensive. He added a real force to those scenes because he knew exactly how to do it. And the cleanup crew, except for one, that’s a real cleanup crew, so they’ve done evictions and they know exactly how to do them.”
Bahrani is currently shooting for HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 in Toronto, Canada. Learn more of Ramin Bahrani’s creative process and filmmaking in his interview with Slant magazine here.