1 hour – 99 years by Negin Kianfar
Iran, 2009, 49 minutes, Digital Projection, Farsi with English subtitles
For most young Iranians, Tehran is a frustrating place to live. The press is censored, boys and girls are often separated and everything that has to do with sex is taboo.
With sixty percent of the population under the age of thirty, authorities are getting more aware of the problems young people face. Sighe, a temporary marriage for between 1 hour and 99 years, could be a way to release some of the frustrations and give young people some room in this country where extra-marital sex remains out of the question.. Even though some influential people try to promote temporary marriages, the issue has triggered heated debates, as many see it as legalized prostitution.
In 1 hour – 99 years we follow two young people who have entered into a temporary marriage. Both Sahab and Maryam are surprisingly closed and honest about the topic and show us the pros and cons. A heated discussion between Sahab and his mother illustrates there are very different views on the issue, even within one family. While Sahab believes Sighe is a good opportunity for young people, his mother finds it a hypocritical and unacceptable practice. Maryam, a divorced woman with a young son, shows that doing a temporary marriage is sometimes the only way to stay off the street in this country where there is hardly any social support system.
We meet a popular Mullah in the Southern suburbs of Tehran who legalizes temporary marriages, and a matchmaker in Iran’s religious centre Qom. 1 hour – 99 years gives an intriguing insight into the lives of people in this young, frustrated and confused society and the way old religious practices like Sighe are being used in an attempt to solve contemporary problems.
Eve and Adam By Negin Kianfar
Iran, 2009, 20 minutes, Digital Projection, Farsi with English subtitles
Negrin Kianfar’s latest documentary follows an elderly Iranian couple in their nineties keen on environment protection, as they try to clean up Tehran. Deeply concerned with the environment they live in, they begin a non-government organization to protect their city. In the busy and overcrowded Iranian capital, they start by helping the council educate people in recycling. Not too many people are interested in what they have started but nevertheless they keep on organizing seminars in Tehran University, even if only 5 people join. After decades of determination and hard work, Eve and Adam finally see their efforts begin to make a difference.
Special thanks to Stranger than Fiction.
Negin was ten years old when Ayatollah Khomeni returned to Iran and vividly remembers the revolution and the various impacts it had and continues to have on her life and the lives of her family and friends. She has continued to work on a variety of incredibly important issues and has had a rather colorful career in post revolution, contemporary Iran.
In the late eighties Negin started working at the state owned IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) and the Ministry of Culture. Her job was unusual and brought her quick fame, making her almost household voice in Tehran. In a highly censored environment she started doing voice-overs for Hollywood films in Farsi—re-packaged at the Ministry and made ‘”safe” for Iranian consumption.
During a two decade period Negin was the voice of Uma Thurman for “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill”, Meryl Streep for “Kramer vs. Kramer”, Cate Blanchett for “Lord of the Rings” and “Aviator” , Halle Berry for “ James Bond-Die Another Day” and many more. She has been seen how the various software used by the Iranian state turn sleeveless tops and skirts into Islamically acceptable clothing and how kisses are edited at exactly the right moment.
Negin has spent her entire life in Iran, leaving the country for the first time when she was 12 for a vacation to Turkey (Iranians don’t need visa’s for Turkey) and visiting a Western country for the first time only a little over a decade ago. She has been an active blogger and writer about her daily life and her many lives in Tehran—for various European outlets.
She has during these years continued to produce remarkable documentary films, which can never been shown publicly in Iran. Like the rest of her work—Negin’s films are made with a very unique Iranian voice—amongst other things–a divorced, heterosexual woman pushing the boundaries of state sanctioned misogyny to probe the many schizophrenia’s of sexual life in a country where morality is policed by a deeply religious and profoundly mistrusted regime. While there have been many films about Iran’s transsexuals or its Shia sanctioned concept of “Sigeh”—there have been none made by a born and raised Tehran local.
Negin was awarded three gold coins (roughly worth a thousand dollars) by the Iranian Ministry of Culture in February last year for being the “Best Dubbing Actress” under their “New Generation Talent” category, an award that meant a big deal to her parents who were especially proud of the certificate that came with it. Negin has very mixed feelings about the recognition.
Parvez Sharma is a New York based writer and filmmaker. His first feature, which he directed and produced, “A Jihad for Love” is an international phenomenon with an estimated 8 million viewers in more than 50 nations in the first two years of its release. The leading progressive journal UTNE Reader has named Parvez a “visionary” in its list of “50 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World” in a list headed by the Dalai Lama. He has been featured on Fox, BBC, CNN, MSNBC and much media around the world. His book “My Jihad” (working title) comes out in 2012 (Beacon Press). The film has been premiered at most major international festival venues including a world premier at Toronto International Film Festival and a European premiere (as the closeding film of Panorama Documentary) at the Berlinale. He is a prominent speaker on Muslim issues and has conducted more than 200 live events around the world including many on US campuses which include Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Northwestern, Yale, Harvard, NYU, Columbia and Chicago University. Parvez is a columnist for The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, The Guardian and CNN-IBN in India. In 2009 his reporting on Iran’s Green Revolution was widely recognized. He has been working closely with Kianfar for many years and they have future writing and film projects in collaboration.
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