Asia Society at the Movies: 'So You Think You Know Iran' In-Person Screenings and PanelVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Enjoy two in-person screenings, as part of the "So You Think You Know Iran" film series, and a panel discussion with Ahmad Kiaorostami and Godfrey Cheshire.
Schedule of Events
2 p.m. | Screening 1: My name is Negahdar Jamali and I make Westerns
Iran | 64 minutes | 2012
Director: Kamran Heidari
"My name is John Ford and I make Westerns." This is how John Ford introduced himself at the American Film Directors’ Association gathering. Negahdar Jamali, an Iranian from Shiraz, introduced himself the same way when director Kamran Heidari first met him, without knowing John Ford that well: “My name is Negahdar Jamali and I make Westerns.” He introduced himself with self-confidence and without any weakness in his statement—not in the Monument Valley or in the Grand Canyon, but in Shiraz and the deserts surrounding the city. Under hard conditions, Jamali has been making Western films continuously for the past thirty-five years, and in this documentary, Heidari presents Jamali’s struggle with his family, friends, society, and others to make what he likes the most in his life: Western movies.
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4 p.m. | Panel Discussion: Documentary Iran: Ahmad Kiarostami and Godfrey Cheshire
Ahmad Kiarostami in conversation with film critic Godfrey Cheshire discuss the importance of Iranian documentary film. Kiarostami, whose late father is the renowned Iranian director, Abbas Kiarostami, is a champion of Iranian documentary films and their power to tell diverse stories from his homeland. Now based in California, Kiarostami founded Docunight in 2014 as a monthly screening program to show Iranian documentaries in North America which he expanded to 25 cities by 2020. After the live screenings were forced to stop due to the Covid pandemic, Docunight started a streaming platform with the goal of become an online library for documentaries from or about Iran, and currently has over 200 films and adds new documentaries every week. Docunight recently expanded its collection to documentaries about Afghanistan as well.
Ahmad Kiarostami is the president of the Kiarostami Foundation, a non-profit based in San Francisco, CA, Before the Kiarostami Foundation, he co-founded Koantum, a platform to teach science to elementary school students in the United States, and founded Fotomoto (acquired in 2012) where he holds two patents on distributed e-commerce. Before moving to the United States in 2001, he founded three tech companies in Iran.
Ahmad makes music videos and has produced 24 FRAMES, Abbas Kiarostami’s final film, co-produced COUP 53, a feature documentary on the story of the CIA/MI6’s coup in Iran that overthrew Prime Minister Mossadegh, and Feathers of Fire, a visually breathtaking cinematic shadow play by Hamid Rahmanian, inspired by the Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’).
In 2014, Ahmad started Docunight, an initiative to show Iranian documentaries, with monthly screenings in 25 cities in North America, which is now a streaming service to make Iranian documentaries available everywhere in the world.
Ahmad has served on the boards of The Roxie (the oldest operational movie theatre in North America), NIAC, and San Francisco Cinematheque.
Ahmad has studied Math and Computer Science at Sharif University. In 2007, Ahmad was chosen as a “young leader” at Asia Society’s “Asia 21’s Young Leaders” summit, and in 2016 became fellow at Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit think tank founded in 1950, based in Washington DC.
Godfrey Cheshire is an award-winning film critic, journalist and filmmaker based in New York City. A specialist in Iranian cinema, he has written about the subject for publications including the New York Times, Variety, Newsweek, the Village Voice, Film Comment, Sight & Sound, and Cineaste. He is a co-founder of the Iranian Film Festival New York and the author of “Conversations with Kiarostami” (2019) and the forthcoming “In the Time of Kiarostami: Writings on Iranian Cinema.”
6 p.m. | Screening 2: Dingomaro
Iran | 66 minutes | 2013
Director: Kamran Heidari
Since his Internet hit, “Bad Shans” (hard luck), Hamid Said has become one of the most famous African-Iranian musicians in Iran. He travels by motorbike across the province of Hormozgan, situated in the south of the country on the Persian Gulf, in order to realize his dream of organizing a concert with the best Black musicians in the country.
Besides Persians, Indians, Arabs, and Europeans, the province of Hormozgan, known as Iran’s “Black South,” has been influenced primarily by the descendants of slaves and merchants from Africa.
In Dingomaro, filmmaker Kamran Heidari accompanies Hamid Said as he attempts to make his dream come true. He must overcome numerous hurdles along the way: Hormozgan’s landscape, which is as inhospitable as it is breathtaking; traveling from the coast over rugged mountains to the desert, the African spirit rites; and the resistance of his wife, who is completely against his plan.
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