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Creator Conversations - Bita Elahian

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Cathleen Trigg-Jones interviews Bita Elahian on her short film "Vida," which placed third in NYWIFT's Online Shorts Festival in the Social Justice Category and was awarded third place in iWomanTV's Audience Choice Award contest. Shout out to the New York Women in Film and Television for your partnership! "Vida" highlights how the actions of major political figures can affect the lives of everyday people in catastrophic ways. Using the January 2017 United States travel ban as the catalyst for her story, Bita illustrates how political discourse can irreversibly change the lives of average citizens.

The 2017 Travel Ban often called, the "Muslim Ban” was a string of executive actions carried

out by President Donald Trump. The first of which enacted stringent restrictions  on travel to the United States for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Trump considered it to be a part of his “America First” campaign, however it was still opposed thoroughly by the citizens. The ban was highly protested in and surrounding airports. Just like in “Vida” many families became separated, sometimes seen tearfully departing ways at the airport.

As a woman who grew up in the midst of the Iran and Iraq war, Bita understood the effects of political discord from a very young age. Though she came to America for a better life, she still found herself at odds with the way the government both limited and hurt their citizens with restrictive and discriminating laws. While Vida is fiction, it is based on real life events and shares the trauma that can be caused by government agencies. In her film the main character suffers a great loss as a result of the 2017 travel ban, and it is only through the power of empathy and understanding that she can be saved from her sorrow. "Vida" illuminates how people who are seemingly on the opposite sides of the same issue can find peace through their shared grief. Vida is a powerful film on love, loss and empathy- a must watch on iWoman TV. “Vida” is a must watch film on iWoman TV. Tune in to watch the movie as well as the interview with the brilliant creator herself!

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