Cher gets political with CWB; Nassiri talks about peace

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Before the outdoor screening of Nassiri’s ambitious 12-minute film, “Love Sees No Color” Wednesday night in Century City, CWB’s James Ulmer had a chance to speak with Cher, whose own Cher Charitable Foundation donates funds to various charities and causes. She shared her reactions to the film and, most revealingly, about the current American political scene and presidential contenders. James also talked to Nassiri at the same event. (Nassiri’s interview follows Cher’s interview)

James: How did you come to meet Nassiri?
Cher: I met him because of Adam. Adam runs my foundation and Adam had seen the film and thought that it would be right up my alley.
James: How did you respond to it? The film itself…
Cher: I cried. I talked to him and said that I had seen the film and just cried.
James: I think this film needs to be shown to politicians to help affect some change…
Cher: First of all, I don’t think that there is much that the politicians can do. I think that politicians are less interested in the people than you think. I have to tell you something and it might sound self-serving—I’m not self serving and this might sound like a commercial—but I was at dinner at the White House with Jimmy Carter and I had never heard anybody really talk about doing things for the people and all he was talking about were his plans for the people.
James: Really?
Cher: Yeah. Of course, he just didn’t really know how to play the game in Washington, so they cut him off at the knees, you know. But that was what he was interested in. Also, I’ve been with Hillary [Clinton] because I helped Hillary do her senate thing. I’ve heard the same things come out of Hillary; I just don’t know that when you get to Washington now, you can really do anything.
James: Are you leaning toward Hillary?
Cher: You know what? In the beginning…I love Joe Biden—I have to tell you. I just really love Joe Biden and I’ve sat and talked with him. You know what; I care more about what happens to Americans than I care about anything else because Americans are just getting the short end of the stick so bad. I was on the road for three and a half years and I saw it myself.
James: The middle class is getting squashed.
Cher: Yeah! And the people below the middle class…Where can they go? You know what I mean? So, I don’t care so much about politics because I don’t know how much it can do. I know that with a good person it can do more than with a person that is bad—like the (current) President. With someone who I think is none-caring. I haven’t seen him do one caring thing.
James: Unless their gas prices surge up to five dollars a gallon, it seems Americans will never march in the street or take real action. Maybe the artist has to take action instead..
Cher: I don’t understand why people don’t march anymore. I don’t understand why people don’t picket. I don’t understand why people don’t riot! I just don’t understand why they don’t do more. I just don’t understand why people aren’t angrier. Every time I think that this administration can’t do something more horrible, I’m always shocked by what happens.
James: What do you think about Dennis Kucinich?
Cher: I have despair about politics — I guess that’s the way I can say it. Dennis Kucinich, even though he has great answers—
James: But he’s unelectable.
Sher: Right, but he does have great answers.
James: And he probably can’t forge consensus between republicans and democrats—
Cher: Who can?
James: But as far as their political ‘soul’ is concerned, which candidates do you respond to?
Cher: This is the thing that’s hard for me because when you know people personally and you ask them questions and you’re looking in their eyes, you know if they are full of shit or not—and you know to what degree. They are all playing politics, they have to! That’s just the way our country is set up; you’re looking for ways to be reelected. But there are some really good people that I have talked to and I think that Joe Biden is a really good man with a really good heart that really cares, and he’s smart. But I also feel that way about Hillary, you know, I believe that in her heart—I don’t know how much she’d be able to do and I don’t know if she can get elected, but I’ve spent a lot of time with her just sitting.
James: And?
Cher: I just said to her, “Why aren’t you like this in front of everybody?” We were just sitting and talking and she was so warm.
James: What what was her reply?
Cher: I can’t tell you her answer (laughs). I would never tell you her answer, but she’s a great person!
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James: Tell me something about how you came to compose this song.
Nassiri: I had been planning this for five years when I wrote this song “Love Sees No Color No Race No Religion.” I have been all around the world promoting peace. We spend over one trillion dollars in war. Ten percent of that is one hundred billion dollars and with this we can reduce poverty around the world.
James: Do you think the American population right now is ready for such a simple and essential message? Or will that message get lost?
Nassiri: It won’t and I will tell you why. The message is that everyone has the same emotions, whether you are American, Jewish, Muslim or Christian. Our society is in chaos right now, and everything is unbalanced, and with music we can do this.
James: How do you plan on using the media to effect your message?
Nassiri: With the music and film itself. Remember there is nine- hundred hour of film footage behind the making of these twelve minutes. In Iran we almost got arrested three times. In North Korea they had choppers over us with guns pointed at us. I was caught between Israel and Palestine when Israel had their civil war. I am a peace activist and I have between Israel and Palestine and I have been talking with the Washington and Iranian ambassadors… The message is that we have to reduce our military budget to stop the poverty in the world. A child in Palestine is not born with a gun in his hand; he is a victim of circumstances. A child from North Korea is not from another planet, and neither is a child from Iran. Positive music is supposed to heal us physically, emotionally, physically and raise us
to a higher consciousness.
James: How did you bring in Cher in your mission?
Nassiri: Cher I knew for many years. When she saw the film and heard my music she embraced my message.
James: Here we are in front of the CAA agency. Have you gotten help from CAA or any other agency in Hollywood to help this documentary? Have you found a distributor for it in the States?
Nassiri: I have not. This is the first time I have shown it in the West Coast. I was in Boston and won the World Visionary award in Boston. Hopefully CAA and the rest of Hollywood will see this message and it will touch them.

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Akiko Ashley

Akiko Ashley is Founder and Partner in Luminetik Studios in Santa Monica California. Akiko has worked in the entertainment industry for over 30 years in video games, music, and film (producer, VFX producer, and animation production). Luminetik has done a full CG short based on their own IP ahead of it's time in "Kuriocity" with two female leads in 2007. Luminetik has worked done VFX for motion pictures, television, & commercials including a set of Superbowl Commercials for Arm & Hammer starring Jason Giambi. Akiko helped Luminetik become one of the first sponsors of DV Expo in NYC. Akiko has been a strategic advisor to Architosh magazine for 10 years and has been on the Advisory Board of Keyframe Magazine and HDRI Magazine. Akiko has been a speaker at SIGGRAPH, and did speaking engagements at Art Institute for for IGDA. Currently Akiko is freelance producer, and freelance editor and writer for young adult books, comics and magazines. In addition she is a photographer capturing candid moments of celebrities and other well known personalities.

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