We had the good fortune of connecting with heliya Alam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi heliya, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My whole life/career – Because they blend in together when you choose to work in entertainment – has been risk-taking. I think anything in life is a risk . We’re always betting on ourselves. When I chose entertainment as my career, I loved what I was doing so much that my career and daily life became one. It took me a while to understand and learn to find a balance and to be honest, this pandemic was a big eye opener for me. It taught me it’s ok to take a break, to pause and breath.
But bringing it back to risk taking, this concept and lifestyle made me be a stronger individual. It made me believe in myself and not breakdown after every single fall; because with risks comes failure and you have to be prepared and eventually ok with that word, because it’ll come around a lot. But with every failure I realized I was a little bit more courages and a little less scared to take the next step or the next risk.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a director and a story teller, I’ve always been interested in telling character driven stories and covering topics that highlight important issues, events, or settings.
At a young age my family moved us across the country. The results of the language barrier, the cultural shock, and the change in the environment, resulted in me becoming a quieter individual compared to my extremely (somewhat obnoxious) outgoing self back in Iran. I became a listener and an observer. I became extremely in-tuned with my emotions and other people’s emotions. This taught me to study people and try to understand them on a deeper level which led me to now being passionate about telling an individual’s story and dive into a character’s background and psychological mind.
After high school I had my eyes on USC film school. I made it my only goal to get into the program. When I made it in, I tried every single position in filmmaking to learn what I love most. I learned a lot and I failed a lot which taught me to never give up. After working for WB for two years after college I took a leap of faith to go out in the world and create my own content. I started producing independent films and tried to learn as much as I can on every single project by taking on multiple responsibilities. I studied DPs, directors, and the rest of my colleagues in order grow as a filmmaker. And that brought me to where I am now, which is moving onto what I truly love; directing.
After wrapping my 5th feature this past January 2021, I’m now focused on a project I started writing back in march 2020 . This project, The List, will be everything I wanted my directorial debut to be, a psychological drama in a futuristic world that touches on mental health.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The week with me will include the beach, the mountains, wine, and good Thai food.
I would start with a nice glass of wine (or a bottle) at my favorite Italian restaurant, South End in Venice beach. Then on the weekend I would visit Malibu and get a little surf in and enjoy the rest of the day eating amazing food on the pier.
The next morning I would start with a nice hike, maybe mount baldy if my guests are open to a long hike. After the hike I would take them to a wonderful stroll in abbot kinney.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow, it really is true. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for a couple of individuals in my life. I’ll start with my family, and I’ll highlight my dear mom. My mom comes from the art world, as a painter she understands my language and my desire for my craft. She is my biggest fan and my strongest supporter. I couldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the love she showed me and all the wise advise she gave me every time I doubted myself.
Then I must thank my three amazing best friends that never stopped pushing me to be the best version of myself, held my hand but then gave me some tough love every time I doubted myself. This goes to Grace McCullough, Caroline Cordrey, and Gabby Then.
I also want to thank my Warner Bros. family who took me under their wings right after college and are still my family to this day. And last but not least, I wanna thank my mentor Brenden Hill for always believing in me and guiding me in my career.