Updated: Feb 2
Gary Karapetyan is an all-around talent! Not only is he an accomplished independent filmmaker with loads of award-winning independent films but he is also collage educated. I had the opportunity to interview this rising star filmmaker about his filmmaking journey and hers what he told me about himself.
Hi Gary, what are you up too? I am currently a freelance independent filmmaker and actor who focuses on creating plots that influence peoples’ lives. I truly believe that a good film not only has to be entertaining but it also must have a proper moral. Ultimately, my goal is to make this world a better place for everyone, by improving the quality of life. To further this goal, I will be pursuing my Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at the University of Southern California starting August 2020. I’m fortunate to be living here. After all, Southern California is the epicenter of the entertainment industry, and it’s nice to connect with a lot of talented filmmakers out here and be given opportunities to work on great projects.
What inspired you to be a filmmaker? Every filmmaker out there is almost always inspired by at least one film, actor, or director. I cannot pinpoint one artist, there is definitely a lot of talented individuals in the industry who have had an impact on me. However, I feel like my true inspiration is the craving of creation. I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than creating something that positively impacts the world. To me creating films speak volumes, because you are using your own creative ideas, characters, and storylines with your own twists to speak to an audience and affect their emotions. A movie that induces an intense emotional response means that you have succeeded as an artist, and it’s something that your viewer will most likely never forget. One of my favorite quotes of all time by Maya Angelou, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”.
What are some of the things you love about filmmaking?
I enjoy the literary design and the directing element of filmmaking. A great film starts with an interesting storyline, which is why I love to have a major role in that aspect of filmmaking. As mentioned earlier, I love creating plots that influence people’s lives, and as a storyteller that’s your job to make it happen. As a storyteller, you have a vision of your own and bringing that vision to reality as a director is so crucial because it sets the overall look and feel of the film. You are allowing your vision to guide and lead your cast and crew.
What are some of the struggles and hurdles that you find in acting and/or filmmaking? One of the biggest struggles as an indie filmmaker is finding a proper budget to work with. As a filmmaker, I have numerous storylines I want to work on but can’t because production would be costly. It takes a lot of time until you get your hands-on funding. In addition, distributing your own movie as an indie filmmaker could be challenging as well.
Now that we’ve talked about struggles let’s talk about the opposite of that. What are some of the high points you’ve had in your journey so far? Receiving numerous nominations and awards from various film festivals and committees is what keeps you moving forward in the industry. You know for sure that your film becomes a favorite when you start rallying up wins. There is no better feeling than that. These wins and nominations have ranked me up in the industry and have given me more connections than ever. A lot of good things are yet to come.
In addition, I have excelled academically these past couple of years studying biological sciences at the University of California, of Irvine. My strong academic performance along with my extracurriculars and work experience has gotten me admitted to the University of Southern California for my PharmD degree. It has been a quite difficult yet exciting journey up to this point, but it’s not over yet.
Do you see yourself acting and being in filmmaking for the rest of your life?
I do see myself acting and creating films for the rest of my life. It is a true passion of mine and I believe passion never dies. While being in pharmacy school and interning, it is unpredictable of how the pacing will be with my new projects. They will definitely be in development over the years, and I will continue to be working on them even while in pharmacy school.
Do you come from a gifted family as well or are you the only one? My family plays an enormous role in my life. They have given me love, support, and wonderful life lessons. They have shaped the person I have become today. My mother is an attorney, and my father is a former professional soccer player from LA Galaxy. Their immigrant status did not stop them from achieving their dreams. They have taught me that no matter what with dedication, commitment, and discipline you could achieve anything in this world. And with their professional backgrounds they have set themselves as great role models to look up to. I truly am blessed and fortunate to have a gifted family.
What are your future plans regarding your filmmaking career? I am currently working on writing a feature film about cancer and faith. Having been inspired by my friends and family who battled cancer, I decided to tackle this sensitive topic. I studied cancer biology in my undergraduate years, and I want to bring a new dimension to this film. There are many metabolic pathways in our bodies that regulate proper enzyme/protein function. Any mutations in our DNA that don’t get repaired could potentially disrupt any of these metabolic pathways, ultimately causing the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. There is no specific cure for cancer. There are a thousand kinds of cancers out there with countless possibilities of mutations, so how would we know which mutation to target in treating that specific form of cancer? Imagine “The Da Vinci Code” but scientific within the human genome.
What’s next for you?
As mentioned before, I will be starting my Doctor of Pharmacy program at USC this summer. I know that this profession will further improve my knowledge in the pharmaceutical industry. It will improve my credibility as a writer for my next film on cancer.
Recently, my thriller film “All I See” premiered on YouTube due to Covid-19. Last year, my drama film, “The Broken Soul”, premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, which is now available on Amazon Prime. I’m excited that both films are nominated for this year’s CV Indie Film Awards that will be taking place in October. The CV Indie Film Awards has a special place in my heart as I won “Best Drama” and “Film of the Year” for “Czech Mate on Ice” back in 2018. It’s truly an honor to return in this year’s list of nominations. I will be looking forward to this exciting event.
If you could give advice to someone just starting off in the movie industry, what would it be? For anyone starting off in the movie industry, it’s important that you have a passion for what you do. Without true passion, you won’t get far. Once you know you have a true passion for it, just be dedicated and committed to your goals. Continue to work hard and focus on improving yourself as an artist. Be persistent and never give up. Being successful in this industry takes years and years of work. I know there will be times where there won’t be any flow of income. Realistically speaking, that’s why it’s always good to have a degree or another job to rely on when finances get tough.