JANUARY 2017

Who is BOLD? Meet a young alum making news in short films

By Steve Seepersaud

Arsal Asal

Arsal Asal ’11 says she constantly uses the psychology knowledge she obtained at Binghamton. It helps her get into someone’s head and motivate people. No, this Bearcat of the Last Decade (BOLD) is not a psychologist; those traits come in handy in her work as a screenwriter and director.

“The psychology education helped me a lot with character arcs and story lines in the pre-production stage of film while it enabled me to empathize and be a much calmer, patient and powerful director on set during production,” she said. “I met so many amazing individuals in Binghamton while I was a student and I have to admit I did spice up a few narrative characters in my scripts based on these real people that I met.”

With a relatable and timely story line, her latest short film, Turn Blue, is getting a good deal of attention. The film is about a young Turkish couple that wants to stay in the United States legally. The story takes a turn when their best friends – who are both U.S. citizens – offer to get married to them. Instead of the Turkish-Brazilian couple having a white wedding of their own, it would be a green card marriage.

“What puts Turn Blue into the drama genre – rather than romance – is that I incorporated the recent terrorist attacks that took place in Turkey over the past year,” she said. “The foreign couple wants to stay in America because they want to run away from the terror back at home. So in a way, I wanted to create an updated global version of the American Dream.”

Turn Blue was selected for the inaugural New York Short Film Festival, which took place last month and showcased movies from around the world at Cinema Village, one of Manhattan’s leading independent theaters.

“The most satisfying part wasn’t just the festival itself but the whole idea of the film being shown in an old East Village movie theater with all of the amazingly talented individuals who collaborated on the film. I was lucky to have such a loving, powerful and diverse team.”

Asal, who works full-time as a creative producer and video editor at a San Francisco-based tech company, is writing two feature film scripts – a drama and a suspense piece. The BOLD alumna is also working on a political short film, managing a Bay Area music group and collaborating with friends from the New School (where she earned a master’s degree) on their film projects.

“I’m also really eager to get Turn Blue and my upcoming short films into other festivals in the long run,” she said. “As a photographer as well, I would love to open up my own photo exhibit whether here in the U.S or back home in Turkey. Overall, I’m really excited for the future.”

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Last Updated: 1/19/17