Bailout is a 5 episode web series written and directed by Sara Zia Ebrahimi and produced by All Ages Productions. Set against the financial collapse of 2009, Bailout is the story of a young Iranian-American woman who struggles to hide her own financial entrapment in the most American of traditions--credit card debt--with her family members who each harbor their own untold secrets.
ARTIST STATEMENT FROM WRITER/DIRECTOR
For the past decade, my work has focused on exploring the experience of first-generation immigrants in innovative ways. I started initially with experimental essay films which have evolved more recently into humorous approaches to storytelling. This web series is an evolution from this progression, taking my experience with humor and comedic timing into a fictionalized context. It is a significant step forward in my own professionalization as an artist and an opportunity to build an audience and following before my next step of writing and directing for television.
Bailout captures cultural differences between children and parents in first-generation immigrant families using predatory lending as the focal point of tension. Credit cards are such a quintessential manifestation of American dominant aspirations, allowing us to live our lives among surplus and excess so that we can feel successful . The reality is that most of the “middle class”--another strong Americanism that doesn’t exist in much of the developing world--if you consider their debt-to-income ratio, are in fact “poor.” I am struck by how, in countries that don’t have the illusion of a vibrant middle class, poverty looks so different than debt-laden American poverty. It’s the tension of this aspect of American culture that has most interested me when writing this script.
It is also important to me to create media that offer a wide spectrum of representation of people in various roles. White people in America are afforded a wide spectrum of representation. All of us, no matter what race we belong to, are trained by the media to believe that white people can be nerds, artists, engineers, rich, poor, shy, outgoing, etc. But the rest of us as marginalized groups are not given that range, and our representations are narrow, and as a result, often very stereotyped. The reality is that every racial group has the counter-culturists, the conservatives, and the various subcultures; there’s no one way to be ‘Latino’ or ‘Iranian’, even though the media tries to convince us otherwise, and many of us buy into that and recreate that in our communities. The issues that I am exploring in this script add dimension to otherwise flat representations of women of Iranian descent in the diaspora.