LET’S MAKE A MOVIE!
In my 15 years as a Middle Eastern-American actor in Hollywood, I have yet to see a role of a Middle Eastern hero in American cinema. I don’t blame anyone in particular for this. I just think it’s because we haven’t had writers, producers and directors who have been too concerned about how Middle Easterners are depicted in American movies. That’s why I have chosen to change that trend and make this film. Along with my co-writer and producer Amir Ohebsion, we have set out to break new ground and transform hearts and minds through comedy with this movie that we call, “Jimmy Vestvood, Amerikan Hero.” After all, you don’t have to be American to be an American hero!
Amir Ohebsion and Maz Jobrani
THE PINK PANTHER meets COMING TO AMERICA in this whimsical comedy about Jimmy Vestvood, a wannabe private investigator who wins the Green Card lottery and moves to America to pursue his dream only to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy to start the next world war.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAKE THIS FILM NOW?
At a time when tensions in the Middle East dominate news headlines, whether it be suicide bombings in Afghanistan, U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, the Syrian massacres, sectarian violence in Iraq, or a possible pending war between the U.S. and Iran, the idea of a Middle Eastern immigrant’s dream to become an American hero is not only intriguing but has the potential to be transformative.
In his zest to assimilate into American culture, Jimmy has changed his name from Jamshid Fakhredinpour to Jimmy Vestvood. But after being set up by a corrupt politician, Jimmy soon discovers that in the land of the free, he is pronounced guilty by the mainstream media until proven innocent. With a $10 million reward issued for his capture, he must exonerate himself and avert a potential new war in the Middle East.
BUT WHY CROWD FUNDING?
Upon finishing the script, Amir and I approached several production companies. They loved the idea … except they wanted to make some changes. We were asked, "what if he is an Italian named Vinny and we set it in New Jersey?" Or, "can Jimmy be Mexican?"
So obviously we abandoned that idea and turned to some of our rich uncles, hoping they shared our vision of depicting the first hero of Middle-Eastern descent in American cinema. They advised us to pursue real estate instead.
Then it dawned on us: the FANS!
Not only will they appreciate the significance of this project in changing the image of Middle Easterners, but they will step up to the plate and support it. So here we are launching our crowd funding campaign which will hopefully afford us the opportunity to make our film without sacrificing our vision.
If all else fails, we're enrolled to start real estate classes in the Spring!
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO, YOU ASK?
First off, I'm gonna buy myself a red Ferrari to get to work as fast as possible every day.
I can dream, can’t I?
Seriously though, making a film is a huge undertaking. They say it takes a village. It also takes a lot of money: from pre-production to shooting the film to post (editing) to distribution. If Tom Cruise or Adam Sandler were playing the role of Jimmy Vestvood, then a studio would cover all the costs. Easy! But since neither of those guys would make an authentic Jimmy, we need your help to make this film independently with yours truly, representing!
For starters, we need a top of the line camera, nice lenses, and fantastic lighting. Now, I know what some of you are gonna say, "Maz, I own a video production company. I do veddings. I can shoot dis ting for you, no peroblem." I appreciate the offer but we'd like to be able to equip our director with the camera package that he will require to execute his vision of the film.
Then there's the director’s unit, the production staff, the art direction, locations, set decoration, sound design, music licensing, editing, makeup, hair, wardrobe, and of course the cast of the film. Oh yeah, and we’ve gotta feed all these people. My mother has offered to make us some kebab sandwiches but I'm afraid she won't be able to feed the entire cast and crew of the film breakfast, lunch and dinner for 18 days! Besides, can you imagine how stinky the set would get if we only ate kebabs for 18 days?!!!
So please chip in whatever you can to help us make this film. The more we raise, the better the film's gonna look. And please share this page with your friends and family and invite them to be a part of it too. All of the money we raise will go towards making this film a success.
As a token of our appreciation, we are offering some perks at all levels of contribution.
MAZ JOBRANI actor, writer, producer
Maz Jobrani is a founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy which toured in the U.S. and all over the Middle East, and later aired on Comedy Central. He followed up this ground breaking tour with his own solo tour titled “Maz Jobrani, Brown and Friendly”, which again took him all over the world and culminated in a Showtime comedy special. In motion pictures, Maz has starred in “Friday After Next”, “The Interpreter”, and “13 Going on 30” among others. On TV, he was a regular on ABC’s “Knights of Prosperity” and recurred on ABC’s “Better off Ted.” Maz has also guest starred on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “The West Wing”, “24”, “NYPD Blue”, “ER”, “Traffic Light”, “Man Up”, and “Men At Work”. He has performed his standup on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”, and “Lopez Tonight.” He is also a recurring panelist on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and co-hosts a podcast called “Minivan Men” about fatherhood. Maz has been featured on NPR, CNN, The BBC, and in print in The New York Times, Time Magazine, and Newsweek. Most recently, CBS put in development “Nobody Trusts Maz”, a comedy starring Maz about raising a family in modern day, multi-ethnic America.
AMIR OHEBSION writer, producer
Amir Ohebsion's first feature screenplay, “The Apology”, won the grand prize at the Slamdance Screenplay Competition and is currently in pre-production in Germany. His other screenplays include the super-natural thriller “Deathday”, a Slamdance as well as a Skyline Awards finalist; “YogaGuy”, a reverse fish-out-of-water comedy (set in India) developed for a major production company; the reincarnation comedy “The Metamorphosis of Radha”; and “Jimmy Vestvood, Amerikan Hero” — based on a character created for comedian Maz Jobrani. In addition to being a screenwriter, Amir is the founder of Soul Mining Productions which has staged theatrical plays to consistent sell-out audiences. Most recently, he wrote and produced “Death, A Very Serious Comedy” which premiered in Los Angeles at the prestigious Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Currently, Amir is writing a screenplay adaptation of a novel, and producing the remake of his satirical play “The Belind Date” which is slated to open in Los Angeles in January 2013.
RAY MOHEET producer
Ray Moheet began his career at J. Michael Bloom & Associates when he was just 22 years old. With other agents at Bloom, he later branched out to form a new company, Mitchell K. Stubbs & Associates (MKS). As Vice-President of Comedy at MKS, Ray procured some of the best emerging talent in the business. After a decade as an agent, Ray joined Levity Entertainment Group (LEG) in 2010. Ray has produced numerous comedy specials for Showtime, including Bryan Callen’s “Man Class”, Sebastian Maniscalco’s “What’s Wrong with People?”, and Maz Jobrani’s upcoming “I Come In Peace”. He also produced the feature film “Shirin in Love” (currently in post-production) and has several other projects in active development. Most recently, Ray sold a multi-ethnic family comedy starring Maz to CBS entitled “Nobody Trusts Maz" on which Ray will serve as an Executive Producer.