Geist resident Sam Mirpoorian is only 28, but he’s already received three regional Emmys and many other awards for his work. Now, he is breaking into the world of feature films with his debut “Greener Pastures,” which is finishing up production.
The Lawrence Central High School graduate started producing documentary shorts in 2017 with his undergraduate capstone project, “Little Warriors.” The short played at 10 festivals across the nation and was the grand prize winner at the 2017 Heartland Film Festival.
In 2018, Mirpoorian was the editor and producer of “Destination Park,” a documentary short by Andrew Cohn, Mirpoorian’s longtime mentor and friend.
In spring 2018, Mirpoorian wanted to dive into feature-length films, so he began working on “Greener Pastures,” a film inspired by a CDC case study that showed farmers and agriculture workers have the highest rate of suicide among any profession in the United States. The idea has thrust Mirpoorian into a three-year project with “Greener Pastures,” which recently finished filming.
“My mentor (Cohn) compelled me and pushed me to elevate my career to get out of the shorts space and work on features. That’s what expedites your career path, so for the next six to seven months, I was doing discovery trying to find farmers open enough to talk about these vulnerable details of their lives,” Mirpoorian said.
While shooting “Greener Pastures,” Mirpoorian also started shooting “Sonnie,” which he calls his most successful project to date. “Sonnie” is a documentary short about a single father raising his son. It has been playing at festivals for a year and a half. Since it began screening, it’s played at more than 40 festivals and has won more than 10 awards, including three regional Emmys.
“I want to make that public in the next month or two,” said Mirpoorian, who filmed “Sonnie” in 2019. “When I wasn’t on the road shooting for ‘Greener Pastures,’ I was shooting ‘Sonnie.’ I also was teaching and finishing up my masters.”
Mirpoorian has a degree in media arts science from the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing. Outside of making films, he likes to run and exercise outdoors, although he said he often works 18 hours a day on his films.
Mirpoorian said he has many long-term goals, some as ambitious as returning to school for his doctorate and possibly running for political office.
“I think the coolest thing about film and storytelling is making relationships with people from different walks of life, and it’s a testament to the experience of what life is all about,” he said. “My main goal is I would love to continue to be healthy and have the opportunity to work on projects, and if I don’t ever reach a certain level of prominence where my work is being revered but maybe one person sees it and is inspired, that’s all that really matters.”
For more, visit workofmiro.com.