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Founder of Producers Without Borders
“I always tell people, if you really want to understand the essence of Producers Without Borders (PWB), watch the first six minutes of “The Godfather.” People laugh at the analogy, but in the first moments of that long, epic story you get the gist and spirit of what it’s all about…’Family’,” – says Founder of Producers Without Borders, Kayvan Mashayekh. Mr. Mashayekh leaves profound traces in each person with his warmest heart, brightest personality, the highest professionalism and ingenious creativity.

Kayvan Mashayekh
Mr. Mashayekh, what is the mission and ethos of the global network of Producers Without Borders?
We’re a small network with the sole purpose of creating authentic, long term, real relationships where the currency of trust is a gateway to forging meaningful bonds throughout life. Our tripartite principles for being a member of the organisation are embedded in these three areas: Attitude of Gratitude (being grateful in the skills and knowledge/expertise you have and being open to sharing it with people who need your guidance); Being Responsive, (responding to communications in a timely, courteous, and professional manner; Paying it Forward (helping make other people’s dreams come true).
I always tell people, if you really want to understand the essence of Producers Without Borders (PWB), watch the first six minutes of “The Godfather.” People laugh at the analogy, but in the first moments of that long, epic story you get the gist and spirit of what it’s all about…’Family’.
Loving families always look out for each other, respect each other’s differences, protect each other in times of personal and professional weakness, work to resolve issues together, support each other’s vision, purpose, struggles and needs, whether they be financial or otherwise…and when all things are in tune, succeed in life together, not just in their jobs/careers.

Ayten Mirzoyeva
In your opinion, what are the invisible blessings that producers are gifted with through their profession?
I was taught everything I know about producing by my mentor, the two-time Oscar winning producer – Branko Lustig (Gladiator, Schindler’s List). He made it very simple; listen, don’t talk too much, don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t know something, address problems before they happen, be kind, respectful, and above all do WHATEVER it takes to deliver. That’s the only way people will remember you, if at all. The glory usually goes to the actor/actress or director…but a great producer works silently to put all the pieces together behind an invisible curtain of chaos.
The beautiful part about my relationship with such an iconic individual was how he showed me so much respect because he knew I was a neophyte. He cared for me immensely. He didn’t want me to get caught up in the technical aspects of producing. Rather, he wanted me to focus on a more mythical, humanistic approach of people management and the importance of nurturing and fostering relationships for the long term. Unfortunately, for old timers like me our world has changed and technology with its rapid assimilation into our daily lives has altered how we interact with one another. But I always go back to those quiet moments on his couch as we gazed out towards his backyard in LA when he bestowed a treasure chest of his experiences and knowledge unto me.

David Davis & Polina Gerontieva
What was your main motivation to create Producers Without Borders?
Connecting people is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. I see people’s qualities and character in a three dimensional way, but my main focus is authenticity. Most people I meet are transactional…why do I need to know you and what will you do for me? These people are very easy to spot for me. Their personality and how they address and treat others is a big thing for me. If they don’t possess an inherent kindness, their selfish traits will surface and create non-binding relationships. Reading people is not an exact science but – I learned a lot from my late mother who was a tour de force psychiatrist. She saw right through people’s vulnerabilities and knew how to bring out the best in each individual, despite any flaws in character or personality. That’s my motivation and that’s what I seek…to bring more real people together to hopefully build a purposeful relationship together. We all have shortcomings, but how you balance it with your strengths is what makes you authentic.

Jon Purpura & Arturo Chavez
Due to the corporate sponsorship, you impact and improve various spheres of life. This is brilliantly witnessed by the great event organised in sponsorship with the United Airlines and Radisson Hotel Group in the framework of 2023 Venice International Film Festival. What are you working at now?
We hold at least ten global events around the world yearly and are constantly searching for powerful entities and companies that fit within the ethos and matrix of trust that sponsors, such as United Airlines and Radisson Hotel Group, have provided for us. Our unified goals with the development of the network provides a blueprint for all other important sponsors, such as FilmChain which focuses on collection account management for filmmakers who seek more transparency in their payment schedule once their films are sold and distributed.

How would you like the Cannes Film Festival 2024 to be remembered and gone down in history?
Our annual flagship event is the Cannes Film Festival and this year we are holding three events for our most significant presence on the Croisette ever. It’s my 20th Cannes this year and I feel blessed to celebrate this anniversary edition as a memorable chapter in my life with all our network subscribers and sponsors. The gift of friendship and collaboration is an ever growing one when nurtured the right way.
Cannes has been a very special place for me since the genesis of PWB started there in 2015 as a series of educational seminars for filmmakers eager to learn about the process of making a film and bringing it to the most important film market in the world. Every filmmaker has dreamed of climbing those magical 24 steps with their film in competition with all the glory that the moment beholds from its famed history.

Jon Purpura & Kayvan Mashayekh
How does the curation of individuals from different professions work with Producers Without Borders and how can people join you as a member subscriber?
The alchemy of curation is something I learned as a former practicing criminal defense lawyer who shifted gears to the entertainment industry very early in my career. Once I identify a common denominator of skill sets in a person that I find complementary towards the needs of someone looking for that exact skill, I strategise about creating an organic connection. This is usually done by finding out what common hobbies and mutual interests may be congruent so I can casually set them together at one of our events without either party knowing why they are sitting there and who is sitting next to them. There’s a lot more to the “secret sauce” of it all but rest assured – it’s a time-tested recipe.
People can only join once they have adhered to the guidelines we set forth earlier (Attitude of Gratitude, Be Responsive, Pay it Forward), have a respectful and non-toxic attitude with a sincere desire to collaborate with one another, become a paid subscriber to the network and have been recommended by our most active and important members; all of this with the blessing of my esteemed Advisory Board.

Lions of the Grand Canal: Hussein Fahmi & Jeremy Zimmermann
What are the main highlights and achievements that warm your soul and heart best of all?
My mother passed away last year, two months before the Cannes Film Festival. Her love and support for all I did elevated me to new heights during the most challenging moments of my life. She was a revered psychiatrist in Houston amongst her peers and the community she serviced for 40 years.
On Mother’s Day 2023, two days before Cannes started, I received a Google notice that I was credited as an Executive Producer on “Freud’s Last Session” starring legendary actor Sir Anthony Hopkins (playing as Freud himself, the father of psychoanalysis) and Matthew Goode (as CS Lewis). The film was released last Christmas by Sony Pictures Classics. Moreover, PWB was credited for the first time on a movie as a participating organisation this is because seven producers from our network came together, through our events, to make the film happen. I only wish my mother was alive to have seen it when it was screened locally in her hometown.
Other examples pale in comparison, but seeing people connect with such fervent joy at every one of our global events, while maintaining the quality and standards we set for ourselves always warms my heart.

Emma Smith
Producers Without Borders has the non-profit affiliation with Producers International Foundation regarding the Social Impact Entertainment aspect of the Network. How is it possible to make donation?
Parties can contribute to the Producers International Foundation by going to this website ( and selecting the “Donate Now” button. Notably, Producers International is a U.S.-based public charity and accepts tax-deductible donations and grants of both cash and assets. On this same website, there is also a place for interested contributors to ask any questions that they may have; and if there are specific projects or productions of Producers Without Borders that parties would like to support. Their donations or grants can be earmarked to fund those particular initiatives.

Alberto Barbera & Kayvan Mashayekh
Who can receive help from this kind of philanthropy?
The mission of the Producers International Foundation is to support international entertainment creatives with diverse backgrounds and expertise, helping those parties realise their creative visions and connect with global leaders delivering both education and financial enablement all with a message of authenticity. If you think that your project may align well with this mission, please contact Producers Without Borders for further review.

Mr. Mashayekh, personally you and your work give almost limitless possibilities of life. You are endowed by God to make many people’s dream come true. Expressing our gratitude to you, we would like to finish the conversation with our signature question: What is luxury for you?Freedom. The liberating feeling of a stress-free life in a nurturing, loving environment where time for your loved ones and self-care is limitless.

Kayvan Mashayekh at Bar B&W
Photos credit: @Guide Company Films, Inc. 


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