GALO: I don’t know of another service that takes content from online users and converts it into professional video for a fee, i.e. a pay-for-film service. Where did you get the idea for this unique concept? And why do you think more artists aren’t taking advantage of it — do you think your approach has a chance of surviving and making a change in the present perception of filmmaking?

EY: Well, because I came up with it! No, I don’t really know. I made a feature film that I did completely on my own. I produced it, shot it, and edited it — my first film that ended up opening up at SXSW. I learned a lot. It took me five years to make, and I went through the whole process of what is called “indie” as well as the distribution process. I learned a lot from that experience, all the struggles that I had to go through, because there were so many struggles. For example, making my first feature film, I didn’t wait for financing. I just went and did it out of my pocket. And then having all the reasons that came to me to stop, I didn’t give up then, and I finally made it and opened at SXSW.

Prior to the film opening at SXSW and getting it launched in NY, I didn’t have anything in place for it. I spent five years making this thing and not knowing whether it was going to fail or succeed. It was a very scary place, to rely on these platforms. I was pretty much an outsider. I didn’t know anyone, really, and then there was also the not knowing what’s going to happen [next]. I took whatever I learned from that to my next film, everything I did. So it’s just an accumulation of all my struggles as an independent filmmaker. I mean, I don’t want to talk about “indie,” because what does “indie” mean? There’s the “indie” that’s the studio branch, but that’s not “indie.” That’s like a $50 million film that’s called “indie,” but it’s just a way for them to sell their movie, you know? [Then] there’s my “indie,” which is “pay me $80 and I’ll make you a six-minute video. So, it is $80 versus $50 million.

It’s a little bit of a comment on the “indie” [scene], but that’s a whole different thing that we can talk about, because for an independent filmmaker, you have to do a fundraiser. “Indie” doesn’t even mean anything. Even I shouldn’t say “indie” because I don’t even know what that means.

I wanted to offer this because I really believed [in it] and I want to directly work with people. I want to offer it as a service because I don’t want to have just these limited channels to myself, which is, you have to premiere at a festival that is well-known, if you have any hopes for anything to happen. So, for me, the idea of working with people directly excites me. But I can do that because I’m the producer, director, editor and shooter. It’s hard, though. Most people have producers and they have a cinematographer and they have editors. So, probably, no one wants to make a video for $80, because if you are going to open it up to the public, you have to offer it as a service. It’s a chance for people to see their sext come to life and it’s a wonderful thing, and I wanted to bring it out to them, so that it’s not so much a passive thing, but interactive.

It’s kind of the reason why I wasn’t so into the art world, because the art world is so into its own self. So this is kind of an accumulation of all my struggles. From the art world to the filmmaking world, so I wanted to just go directly to the people, directly to the audience, to collaborate.

GALO: Any idea why other people aren’t doing this kind of thing?

EY: Well, you know, because no one’s getting rich off 80 bucks. And because maybe they didn’t have the same pathway as I did. It’s been a huge struggle for me, and so I came to this point because it’s right.

GALO: How would you respond to those who accuse your project of being pornographic?

EY: Yeah. Some have! Some were like, “It’s soft porn, whatever porn.” I think it’s because anything that appears to be sexy is considered porn, because there isn’t that much out there that is sexy but not porn. Or maybe it is porn. I mean, does it matter? If you’re getting turned on watching them f—ing on the hood of a car, great! I don’t care. What’s wrong with that? I think the options are so limited, so anyone who sees something that’s sexy, they’re like, “Oh, that’s porn!” And I don’t see a problem with it. I want to keep it sexy. I mean, after all, its sex. And I’m open to having it even more explicit later, if it works with the text. Again, it’s always back to the text. That’s what I was trying to say — that these stories are important.

For me, my favorite sex scenes are in movies. Like that film, Don’t Look Now (1973), there’s a great sex scene with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, amazing sex scene. That’s porn, but it’s in a great movie. That’s what I want to offer people. I want to offer them a scene that could be in a movie, a reenactment of sex. That’s exciting. What was another one…Coming Home (1978). Coming Home has an amazing sex scene with Jane Fonda and John Voight. She won an Oscar for that performance! Porn! It can look like art, but you’re disguising porn under art or something. I mean, come on, really?

GALO: Isn’t there a kind of voyeuristic thrill to Send Me Your Sexts? There’s a kind of Peeping Tom aspect to it. Why do you think this excites and intrigues so many people?

EY: I love that movie! You know, I’m a photographer at heart, right? I started in photography. Probably, most photographers are going to kick me in the ass when I say this, but 99 percent of photographers are creeps, I think. This is our job; we’re supposed to be Peeping Toms. That’s what we do. We’re observers. The concept of a camera, having a camera in your hands — not just photographers, also cinematographers — you’re looking through something, and you’re creating this space. There’s a very Peeping Tom kind of thrill to it, but also for the audience, of course. They’re going to see a window into other people’s lives.

GALO: Why do you think that’s so exciting for people?

EY: Well, because people always want to see into other people’s lives. That’s why the paparazzi are so exciting. People want to get away from their own life. But that’s not the intent of this at all. I just want to have an entertaining, sexy SNL, so people are laughing, thinking maybe its Peeping Tom-y. I don’t know, they can think whatever they want, it’s great.

GALO: In a sense, you are taking some of people’s dirtiest and most depraved moments and turning them into works of film art. I get the sense that you are trying to get us to examine more closely the more steamy side of our character, and perhaps point to something beautiful in it. What do you think you have achieved by doing this?

EY: I always make something dirty look beautiful. I did that when I was a photographer. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in saying — what does Kacey say? — “I want you to f–k my throat,” or whatever she says. Why is that dirty? It is part of sex, isn’t it? I mean, is there a “clean” way to have sex? What is that? Is sex dirty? Talking sex is dirty. See, that’s the thing. What’s dirty? Is it the act of sex, talking sexy and sex talk? There are all these important questions that need to be answered. Do you know what I mean? When you say dirty, what’s dirty? What do you think people think is dirty? Do they think it’s dirty when they’re having sex with someone?

GALO: I’m not sure. I think some people do think it’s dirty. For some people, that’s what makes it so exciting.

EY: Oh. See, I don’t know! I have to say, porn doesn’t turn me on. I’m not a porn-watcher, maybe because of a gender thing. Porn, for me, is so clinical. And also, because I’m a shooter, it’s hard for me to watch a scientific macro shot of something with ugly lighting. I can’t — I don’t get it. Whereas when I see the sex scene in Don’t Look Now, I think, ‘Wow, that’s something else.’ What was your question again? How I turn something ugly into something beautiful?

GALO: Yeah, basically.

EY: I guess because I don’t find it “dirty.” It’s the same as when I was a photographer. I used to shoot the American landscape, like the Dakotas, this vast landscape, and people would go, “you can make anything mundane look really beautiful.” To me, I don’t think it’s mundane. I wouldn’t shoot it if I didn’t think it looked good. My intent isn’t to make something bad look good. I think it’s good. Maybe it’s the thing in my character, maybe I’m the outsider. I don’t really know because I don’t think of it as that. I don’t want to waste my time on something I don’t think is really amazing.

For more information about Eileen Yaghoobian’s film project, please visit

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