Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wifey Gets A Blog

I'm glad to say that my wife Fatemeh has started a blog. She is an amazingly talented author, poet, and person who I will spend the rest of my life with, God willing. As a filmmaker who tends to make personal work, you will undoubtedly be seeing more of her in my work and more of me in hers. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Pope is Not A Celebrity Endorsement Deal

In response to this, I would have to say that this is one of the more shameless acts in Israeli politics. While the hype regarding the Pope's "controversial" visit to Israel has been generally focused on whether the Pope has anti-Jewish sentiments, Netanyahu has tried to use the Pope's visit as an endorsement for Israel while Christian Arabs are treated as second class citizens. Netanyahu feels he can use the leverage of Pope Benedict XVI's Nazi German youth past to get a condemnation of Iran for it's "destructive" intentions and statements. Netanyahu's attempt to incite a new crusade against Iran has no rules or boundaries.

The Pope's visit to Israel could do a lot to bring international attention to the Palestinian plight but unfortunately is doing little for anyone in the region.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Noor Film Festival Screening Recap

It's been over a week since the screening at Noor and I am finally getting around to writing about it. My film screened on a Saturday afternoon and in true "Persian" fashion, 70% of the audience was 20 minutes late. I'm glad that my film was preceded by a 20 minute short.

Overall, audience reaction was by far better than any other screening. Every scene of nuanced humor, emotion, or frustration was followed by laughter and/or applause. I think the best received scene was that which Iranian bboy Hossein Battle is speaking about Iran- US relations. In the film Hossein mentions that "the US is not our big brother or cousin to tell us what do do," after which the whole audience hooted and applauded his comment. Regardless of Iranians varying opinions on Iran's current regime, the vast majority believes in an Iran that is sovereign and independent from the West in its decision making.

After the screening I was honored to hear such positive feedback from Reza Badiyi who has achieved a lot in the industry, especially as an Iranian-American. His feedback, more than anyone else at the festival meant a lot. Also, in attending the festival I was happy to meet Faramarz K Rahber who directed Donkey in Lahore and won 3 awards at the festival including Best Director. It meant a great deal to hear the filmmaker who won Best Director saying my film was his favorite in the festival.

The next day during the award ceremony Warring Factions was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Story/Idea. I was honored to be nominated at the festival and I sincerely thank everyone who passed out fliers, sent facebook messages, and told friends about the screening and the film. This festival has opened up a few more doors for the film and I hope to be screening again in LA since I was approached by so many people asking when the next showing was.