Sometimes it’s not always about film festivals and conventional theatres. Like most artists, we create to say something and we want to say it to an audience. So it’s always an amazing opportunity to be able to show our works to an audience who might not have a chance to see them. As such, Iran in Transit has been selected to screen during this year’s European Day for Border Guards in Poland. Alongside some other short films from all over the world, this cinema section aims to show the human side to migration and borders to the people who work behind them. This annual day is ‘an opportunity to share experiences and best practice. It provides a forum for topical discussion, exchange of views between key border-management players, and a platform to bring together the worlds of public service and private industry.’
Senator Fulbright once said that nations should ‘exchange ideas, not bullets’. In a somewhat humble way we are attempting to do this through collaborations with our fellow international peeps through film. Whilst we are developing these projects (including an Iranian Israeli love story – indeed), Ghaz has begun blogging for the Women of Cinematic Arts website. The WCA was started by a fellow USC alumni member who realized that women in the industry needed more networking opportunities and organizations that helped support them and their projects in a largely male dominated arena (don’t argue with me on that, you know it’s true). With over 800 members in the WCA and a student wing at USC, it’s fantastic to be able to still be involved with the group, even from all the way down here in New Zealand. Isn’t that the beauty of art, to transcend borders? Anyway here’s the link for your perusal.
This last week, I was fortunate to have been selected to attend the first Commonwealth Writer’s Production Lab in Auckland. Commonwealth Writer’s is all about inspiring and enabling writers from all over to use their personal voice to tell stories – often from a minority point of view. This Lab in particular brought together emerging filmmakers from the Pacific and beyond including some amazing artists from Barbados, the Bahamas, Samoa, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Canada and of course, New Zealand. During the two days we were treated to talks from some established Kiwi filmmakers, including the woman we all want to be, Sima Urale, and many others including an interesting look at social media and online platforms for filmmakers. It was great to meet other like minded individuals who are all passionate about telling their own stories, those that are often not heard or seen on screen and empowering others through the medium of media. We also learned to not bitch or moan about not receiving funding – some places do not even have that infrastructure.
In particular a big thank you to Lucy Hannah (from the Commonwealth Foundation), Marc Boothe from B3 (an amazing company that helps develop talent from under represented communities in the UK) and Alex Lee (from Documentary Edge and all round awesome dude). Keep an eye out on the website, FB or Twitter site to apply next time – it’s definitely an opportunity not to be missed.
We’re very proud to have our South East Asian premiere at the brand spanking new DocNet Chopshots Documentary Film Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia. DocNet is initiated by the Goethe Institute with aims to support documentary filmmaking in the region. Iran in Transit will be playing on December 8th in The Filmmaker’s Journey:
The world is changing and challenging what used to be our standard perspectives of the West and the East. This program will show how both tell their stories and even learn from one another. See how the economic crisis affected people’s lives in Iceland, observe the unique democratic process of an election in the Philippines, and witness the journey of Indonesian lesbians discovering their place in the world or the journey young women of Iranian descent visiting their homeland to learn about their roots.
So I guess we owe a big apology as we’ve been missing in action for a couple of months! Not acceptable I know but alas we have been busy plugging away on festival submissions and new projects! We do have some exciting news that we can share soon so please stay in touch for that!
In the meanwhile, I recently had the chance to see two wonderful documentaries that share many of the same themes we tried to explore in Iran in Transit. The first, Somewhere Between (2012) by Ruby Goldstein Knowlton follows Chinese adoptee girls who grew up in the US with American families and who decide to go back to their homeland to find out more about their estranged families with sometimes amazing results. The second is the Israeli film The Flat (2012) by Arnon Goldfinger. After his grandmother’s death, Arnon goes through her belongings and discovers an incredible secret about his grandparents and their relationship to an SS officer at the beginning of WWII in Palestine. The films both highlight the fascination we all have with ancestry, memory and of course identity. (the trailer below is slightly hyper stylised, the film is a slower and not as over-dramatic)
New Zealand production company Notable Pictures has recently announced that they are looking for participants for series two of their popular ‘Both World’ television show.
“BOTH WORLDS is an innovative documentary series about ten 18-30 year old second-generation kiwis who are facing a defining moment in their lives. Giving the show a 21st century twist, participants use handicams to record their thoughts, feelings and opinions giving us an insight into the unique hopes and fears this generation and their communities face.”
We would like to acknowledge that sometimes, some institutions (I repeat SOME) are not horrible, beaurocratic, dream-crushing bourgeois factories, but actual decent places with aims to educate, support and advance students to higher levels. We are please to announce that the University of Auckland Screen Production department was voted unanimously into CILECT (Centre International de Liaison des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision). CILECT is the association of the world’s major film and television schools founded in Cannes in 1955. A significant number of the world’s leading film and television makers are graduates of CILECT schools and the Auckland programme is the first New Zealand member of CILECT.
We’re proud that Iran in Transit was one of the films made under this program and we’re looking forward to seeing many more amazing films to come out of it. Kudos to Annie Goldson and Shuchi Kothari and everyone in the department.
(make sure you check out their video).