Devin Gharakhanian and Mohamed Bensasi’s experimental short film “6” debuted at ForumFest this fall as part of Jai & Jai Gallery’s installation. The film is a love letter to the Sixth Street Viaduct. On the occasion of the bridge’s demolition, the Forum spoke to Gharakhanian about the film, Los Angeles’ creative culture, and the movie Grease. “6” is now streaming exclusively at The Creator’s Project.
Film and architecture are entwined Los Angeles. Coming from an architecture background, how has working in film impacted the way you perceive the city?
With architecture, we’re always in Google Maps view—we’re seeing everything in a more urban, diagrammatic, square footage manner, drawing the lines in a more general, Haussmann-ized way. We never get to taste the field, the textures, the city, the lives, and meet the people. When you study the city, it’s way more synthetic and physical, and you’re not really feeling or seeing the city for how it really is from a human-scale perspective.
With this film, we actually got to live and breathe the city. We met our star King Monster and he told us the story, he told us about the Sixth Street Bridge. It wasn’t through articles, or blogs, and researching or going to Wikipedia. We were hearing from the people who actually lived there; we got the full-scale picture.
All your senses are open when you’re making a film. You’re on site, and as an architect you’re on site as well, but to make a film, you really have to go there to get the full picture of what’s happening.
For us, this was a chance to finally make a film and practice this new way of expression. We had no budget, and we worked with our best friend who’s a fashioner designer (Drew Kessler of nolabel.sc) and another friend, Cliff Dweller, to score the film, and borrowed the camera from another friend. It was this cross-disciplinary group of creative Angelenos who are interested in the contemporary city.
Of all the Sixth Street Bridge cameos in popular culture, which one has meant the most to you?
We actually went through all of them and we weren’t impressed. But Grease is epic. You can drive down this tunnel and go into the river bed, and still to this day, people are racing their cars. Grease was showing that forty years ago and the exact same activity is still happening right now, but instead of leather jackets, they’re wearing Supreme shirts.