A Naked Mind

Years after leaving behind a life that caused her pain, Maya finds the past returning to haunt her. Now a shadow of her former self, Maya has at least found stability. But when her husband mysteriously dies, it reveals cracks in the facade and secrets which could topple everything. Maya refuses to cave to intimidation and instead sets out to uncover the truth about her husband’s death, track down a pile of missing money, and confront the ghosts of her past once and for all.

  • Nasim Naghavi
    Into Schrodinger's Box
  • Amir Ganjavie
    Into Schrodinger's Box, The Damned
  • Mehdi Shirzad
    The Damned
  • Nasim Naghavi
  • Behzad Javaheri
    The Damned, Into Schrodinger's Box
  • Mehrdad Zafari
    The Damned
  • Avan Jamal
    Key Cast
    The Exam (2021)
  • Elie Maalouf
    Key Cast
  • Geoff Mays
    Key Cast
  • Chantal Curry
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 55 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 12, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Arabic, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Nasim Naghavi, Amir Ganjavie

1: Nasim Naghavi has been a film critic for more than 10 years in university of Toronto film club called NaMaNa Cinema. She has worked in different voluntary organizations like Cyrus film festival of Toronto. Since 2018, she has been actively engaged in film production; In the same year, she served as the executive producer of ‘Pendulum’. In 2020, she co-directed her first feature film, the film “In Schrodinger box” showing the impact of Corona pandemic on the life of an isolated woman

2: "Amir Ganjavie, a multifaceted individual based in Toronto, holds a Ph.D. in communication and culture and is currently completing a second Ph.D. in philosophy at McMaster University. His first doctoral dissertation focused on utilizing Hegel's philosophy to understand and analyze contemporary utopian movies. He is currently pursuing a second doctorate in philosophy, specifically studying democracy theories and the dangers of privatization.

Fascinated by the issue of alternative and utopian space in modern urban settings and cinema, Amir has published several articles on utopia and authored two books—one on utopia and another on walkable neighborhoods (Pour une ville qui marche). Recently, he has co-edited two special volumes on Iranian cinema for Film International and Asian Cinema and edited Humanities of the Other: An essay collection on the Dardanne Brothers (in Persian). Apart from academia, Amir contributes to various publications including MovieMaker, Filmint, Mubi, Senses of Cinema, Offscreen, and Brightlight. He also serves as the chief editor of Universal Cinema Journal.

Amir is highly active in the community, serving as the CEO of the Cyrus Intl. Film Festival and the Phoenix Cultural Centre of Toronto. Additionally, he is a founding member of NaMaNa Cinema. His filmmaking journey began in 2018 with the co-direction of Pendulum. In 2021, he directed the COVID thriller film "Into Schrödinger's Box" in collaboration with Nasim Naghavi."

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Director Statement

The initial concept for A Naked Mind originated from the tragic suicide of one of our dear friends. It was a deeply distressing incident that confronted us with the harsh reality of our friend's demise and the profound impact it had on his wife. The plight of the wife's friends after the suicide was very shocking for us. With no support from anyone, and while everyone saw her as responsible for the husband's suicide, she had to tackle a very difficult life. These events served as the catalyst for our film, although the final outcome doesn't explicitly revolve around this idea, except for a few initial ones.

Narratively, we contemplated various concepts throughout the film's development, including the plight of a Middle Eastern woman striving for freedom within societal and patriarchal constraints. Seeing the plight of our friend's wife and the harsh judgment of the community, we pondered how an individual's gender identity, particularly when growing up in a Middle Eastern society, could shape their future and intertwine with their past. The theme of identity held great significance for us, questioning the factors that define a person's sense of self. Is one's identity solely determined by their country of birth? Does culture, personal, and family be the only factors that determine one's identity and responsibility towards others?

In this film, the protagonist is also a victim of their past, a past in which they played no active role. Now, however, they find themselves compelled to fight for it, all the while being subjected to judgment and questioning that could potentially cause them great harm. They are left alone to grapple with this issue, with no one but themselves concerned with it. This raises a profoundly important question: To what extent does one become a victim of their own identity and their familial ties?

While it is undeniable that socioeconomic, familial, and political structures undeniably influence our lives, there are numerous other factors that shape our identities. Our interests in specific cultures, the arts, and the relationships we form with others all contribute significantly to who we are. Unfortunately, these nuanced aspects of identity are often overlooked, and individuals are incessantly judged based on their family background, race, gender, and nationality, subjecting them to torment. This film serves as a contemplation on the cruelty inflicted upon people through such judgments.

When recounting a story, especially within a specific genre, it is essential to be well-versed in the genre's development and to discern how to infuse creativity into it. In our case, we believed that our innovation lay in the integration of Arab culture and its elements while ensuring a sense of believability.

Despite the vast potential market for such films in Arab countries, given the population of over 400 million Arabs worldwide and the growing cinematic industry in these regions, thrillers remained relatively uncommon. Consequently, our aim was to create a thriller centered around the life of an Arab family, incorporating elements of their daily existence through the arrangement of household items, the political backdrop of their country, and the film's music, which exuded an Arab ambiance.

We do believe that a good entertainment film with a genre structure has more power than a cold or realistic film to be politically useful. Tragic structures have always captivated our interest, leading us to ponder how one can begin a film with a detective thriller structure and ultimately transform it into a tragic structure. We wanted to start with a crime mystery and end the film with a tragedy. Given this, examples like the film "Chinatown" resonate with us, where the initial murder mystery gradually reveals the underlying tragedy. These cinematic associations intrigued us, prompting contemplation on how to create an impactful film with a distinct genre narrative.

However, the thriller genre presented its challenges, particularly when working with limited resources and as an independent filmmaker. Thrillers demand meticulous attention to special effects, the coordination of action sequences, and intricate event design. In this project, we endeavored to overcome these limitations and, despite the constrained budget, create a thought-provoking thriller that conveyed a meaningful message. We structured the story to unravel incrementally, with each moment adding a new layer akin to peeling an onion, ultimately revealing the profound depth of the narrative.