30th Festival of Films From Iran Screening: 'This Is Not Me'VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Presented in partnership with Rice Cinema, MFAH Films, and the Normal Anomaly Initiative
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
7 p.m. Film Screening
8:30 p.m. Discussion
This Is Not Me is a documentary about the lives of Shervin and Saman, two transgender youth coming of age in Iran. Iran is the only country in that West Asian region to recognize trans people — any other LGBQ+ identity is banned. Yet Shervin and Saman still face severe social constraints and — despite having loving and supportive parents — are forced to live covert lives, shy away from their neighbors, and even consider emigration in order to live openly as they truly are. As they pursue gender realignment options available in Iran, This Is Not Me offers a detailed depiction of the legal and social labyrinth that promises a slim aperture for freedom.
Join us for a screening of This Is Not Me, presented as part of the Festival of Films From Iran. The screening will be followed by a discussion, via Zoom, with producer and director Saeed Gholipour and documentary subjects Shervin and Saman, and moderated by Ian L. Haddock and Joelle Espeut of the Normal Anomaly Initiative.
"A moving portrait of two young trans men embarking upon the difficult legal process of gender transition in Iran." – Screen Daily
This Is Not Me
Iran, 2022, 72 minutes
Director: Saeed Gholipour | Language: Persian with English subtitles
Official Selection of the 2022 BFI Flare, LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, London.
About the Moderators
Ian L. Haddock (he/they/ any pronouns used respectfully) serves as the founder and Executive Director of the Normal Anomaly Initiative. He has been privileged to work in Communications with NASTAD, as President of Impulse Group Houston, and as a Center for Disease Control HIV Ambassador. Haddock has written for The Grio, Logo/NewNowNext, and The Statesman. He is the author of Kid. Man. Child: a Self-Discovery Journey in Community Work. With over 11 years of front-line and management experience in advocacy, nonprofits, and government, he brings a wealth of knowledge and innovation. Haddock has been awarded Trailblazer of the Year, Hometown Hero, and National Emerging Leader of the Year.
Joelle Espeut, Director of Programming, oversees the ancillary programs of the Normal Anomaly Initiative, including P.O.W.R. (Positives Organizing Wellness and Resilience), T.A.C. (Transgender Ally Collective), and Project Liberate. Joelle’s social advocacy experience includes assisting with program planning and implementation as well as serving as Communications Manager for the Mahogany Project, Inc. since 2018. Aside from her work with the Mahogany Project, Joelle has worked with AIDS United, GLAAD, Gilead/Compass Initiative, and Emory University. She has also been awarded the Rising Star Phoenix Award in 2020.
About the Festival of Films From Iran
The 30th edition of the Houston Festival of Films From Iran takes place January 21-29 at the MFAH, Asia Society Texas, and Rice Cinema. This landmark edition includes a timely focus on political activism and the experiences of women in Iran, with a special guest appearance at MFAH by the legendary actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who appears with Chess of the Wind, her feature film debut.
About the Normal Anomaly Initiative
The Normal Anomaly Initiative, established in 2016, is an organization led by the community to move the needle of the disparities that affect Black, queer people. They focus on advocacy, community engagement, direct services, and research. In 2021, they received their nonprofit status and have served over 3,000 people since then.
Performing Arts and Culture programs at Asia Society Texas are presented by Syamal and Susmita Poddar. Major support comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, and The Brown Foundation Inc. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Anchorage Foundation of Texas, The Clayton Fund, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, and the Wortham Foundation. Additional support provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional programming and exhibitions to Asia Society Texas.
Performing Arts and Culture Presenting Sponsors
Syamal and Susmita Poddar
Performing Arts and Culture Program Sponsors
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.
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