Documentary, Color, 26 min, 16:9, Iran & UK
Director, Writer, Voice-over: Ala Mohseni
Producer: Maziar Bahari
Camera: Reza Davood Abiat
Editing: Ala Mohseni, Shahram Mokri
Music: Arash Azizi, Ali Rohani
They still prefer sheep's head, a group of elderly men say. But the struggle seems lost: it would seem as if pizza is here to stay. These days, young people are meeting up in pizzerias rather than kebab joints or traditional Iranian restaurants. For lack of clubs, the pizzeria is also the preeminent place to get a whiff of the much-desired Western freedom and looseness.
This light-hearted, amusing, fast-paced documentary about eating habits in modern Tehran offers a kaleidoscopic view of Iranian society. We see young people, old people, progressive and conservative Iranians who all reveal their identity by telling us what they think of Italian fast food in the capital. A young man claims that eating pizza is bad, a sign of a decadent lifestyle. For relaxation, he goes to the cemetery to pray for the martyrs, and every other year, he gets an injection to suppress his urges and desires. His favorite dish: sheep's head. The film introduces another young man, a fan of the American actor Marlon Brando, who opened a pizzeria and called it Godfather. Meanwhile, the authorities have changed the name to Aladdin.
● Best Short film /Oxdox Int’l Documentary Film Festival/Oxford/UK/2009
● Best Documentary /3rd Intl Urban Film Festival/Iran/2009
● Best Short film /4th Int’l Farhang Film Festival/USA/2012
● Best Short film /Noor Int’l Film Festival/USA/2013
● Silver Cub Competition Idfa/Netherlands/2008
● Tehran International Short Film festival/Iran/2008
● A night in Tehran (Screening)/ Bristol, Manchester, London/UK/2009
● BigPond Adelaide Film Festival/Australia/2009
● The Chelsea Art Museum/USA/2009
● Starz Denver Film Festival/USA/2009
● Iran's Film Festival/Zaandam/Netherlands/2009
● The Boston Festival of Films from Iran/Boston/USA/ 2010
● The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/USA/2010
● 22nd Int'l short Film Festival Dresden/ Germany/2010
● Syracuse Int'l Film Festival/USA/2010
● Das Iranische Wien /Austria/ 2011
● Stanford University(Screening)/Stanford/USA/2013
● 16th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival)/Palo Alto/USA/2013
My City Pizza Trailer: https://vimeo.com/213168876
"Stereo Tull" is a strange name but is familiar for Iranian music lovers after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. For almost a decade, "Stereo Tull" was one of the most famous underground names to distribute music under a government that led a cultural purge similar to Mao Tse Tung in China.
Islamic radicals eliminated any cultural product that was affiliated with their enemy, "the West." Their most hated art form was music – especially rock music.
Iranian music lovers – both of rock music from the West and of their own bands that were banned – took matters into their own hands, creating an active underground music scene. This included bootlegging new music on cassette tapes, reproducing and distributing it in secret. One of the best known underground music distributors was "Kamran Tull," named after his love for the legendary band Jethro Tull. His underground operation had the best and biggest music, known as "Stereo Tull."
Ultimately, Stereo Tull was discovered by authorities. The government burned the entire archive of cassettes and put Kamran in jail.
Today, Kamran Mellat (Kami Tull) lives in Germany.
Director, Editor, Voice-Over: Ala Mohseni
Videographer: Mostafa Heravi
- Cartoonist Mana Neyestani was well aware of the risks artists face in Iran. But he could have never predicted or imagined that his personal nightmare would emerge from a simple story for children, that it all would begin with a cockroach that utters a single, seemingly innocuous word. What followed was a series of baffling and dangerous misunderstandings, protests, accusations, and later, arrest, and interrogations. In Metamorphosis, Iranian Style, Ala Mohseni looks at the collision of individual identity and politics and tells the very personal story of one artist’s experience of exile, censorship, and grief, and his fight to protect not only his creative freedom but also his sense of self.
"It all began with a cockroach..."
Director, videographer, and editor: Ala Mohseni
A short film on Saeed Shanbehzadeh music, and the fascinating and little-known Afro-Iranian musical tradition for Not A Crime campaign and Shanbehzadeh's concert at the Palace of Fine Arts, on Sept 17, 2016, and New York at the legendary Apollo Theater, on Sept 23, 2016.
Co-Director and Editor: Ala Mohseni
A woman holds a headscarf in one hand and her hair is blowing in the wind, one of many photographs on the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page. But the hugely popular page has not been limited to this symbolic gesture against forced hejab. It has turned into an effective platform for many Iranian girls and women — those silent members of Iranian society whose voices had not been heard in either domestic or foreign media.
Women who no longer wanted to remain stealthy very soon joined the page and turned the volume of their silenced voices so high that they were clearly heard — and prominently covered by the international media. They even forced the conservative broadcasters of the Islamic Republic to air unprecedented programs about the hijab.
But perhaps the greatest achievement of the My Stealthy Freedom page has been encouraging the phenomenon of citizen journalism. And it is important to remember that this phenomenon is taking hold under a regime that has always used the strict control of news and the suppression of the free flow of information as a foundation of its governance. Many who started by sending their “stealthy” photos and videos have now become citizen journalists who feel a social responsibility and are no longer content with just posting photographs of themselves not wearing head scarves. They post reports about issues their towns and villages face, and when censorship is used to hide or downplay events like the acid attacks against women in Isfahan, they step in, sending their own photographs and videos of the event to expose the lies of official media.
This extraordinary influence has led well-known international media such as CNN, the BBC, the Guardian and the Wall street Journal to publish lengthy reports about the page, and to influential people, including Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, to call it “inspiring” and “astonishing”.
On the other hand, the Islamic Republic’s cyber police, and its state-run websites and other media, have launched a counter-campaign of their own, threatening Masih Alinejad, the founder, and administrator of the page, and publishing unfounded rumors. The official Iranian TV news even published a false report that Alinejad had been raped in London in front of her son.
The My Stealthy Freedom page was developed on the Facebook photograph by photograph and text by text. So we decided to follow this example, presenting our documentary scene by scene on Facebook. Afterward, we will put together the final work, including comments, messages, and responses. In fact, these videos are part of the production process so you can participate in the final product too.
The film is a 12-part mini series documentary