“Don’t wait to start creating.” How a young storyteller blossomed on the silver screen


Dreams, desires and destinies are tricky waters to navigate – especially when you’re a teenager. All Katya Abedian knew was that she had stories to tell. “I truly wanted to create something that I wish existed,” Abedian says. So she took a brave step into the world of cinematography. Trusting her instincts, Abedian began moulding her own narrative. Her film, Skin Diver, is a dreamy exploration of what it means to accept yourself when the world expects the opposite. To souls struggling to reconcile their differences, Abedian encourages them to hold true to themselves.

“People often forget that our individuality is what makes us powerful,” Abedian says. As an African-Iranian living in South Africa, Abedian understands the feeling of being different. Her journey of filmmaking is rooted in the Bahá'í faith, which emphasises equality. It’s also an extension of herself. Inspired by directors Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola, Abedian focuses on stories of vulnerability that explore the gentleness within us. Dedicated to her vision, the artist wrote, directed, and produced her first piece independently.

At the premiere of Skin Diver last year, whispers of awe wafted from the audience as a wash of ethereal colour filled the screen. The movie nabbed Best South African Student Film at the 2018 Jozi Film Festival. Its touching message sent waves through the local cinema industry, as well as the hearts of youth searching for their own voice. “My hope is that they don’t wait for permission to start creating,” Abedian says. In every one of us, there’s a story to be told.