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Date/Time: 29/05/2003 12:00 am

May 29th – June 1st
Anthology Film Archives
Pangea Arts, Inc. is proud to host the First Annual New York Iranian Film Festival. Our inaugural program will include six award-winning films by contemporary Iranian filmmakers which focus on war and peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. Curated by Professor Hamid Dabashi (Chair of the Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures Department at Columbia University; and author of Close-up: Iranian Cinema Past, Present and Future) the festival takes an in-depth look at the hopeful plight of everyday Afghanis, Kurds, Iraqis and Iranians in a region of the world plagued by war and poverty. These six films cross cultural barriers to show how art, at its best, is able to transcend politics. The films include: Kandahar and Afghan Alphabet by Moshen Makhmalbaf, Blackboards by Samira Makhmalbaf, A Time for Drunken Horses by Bahman Ghobadi, Secret Ballot by Babak Payami, and Baran by Majid Majidi (film schedule and descriptions below). Don’t miss your opportunity to see these remarkable films rarely available on the big screen.
Beginning next year, the NYIFF plans on joining up with the Faj Festival in Iran to bring winning films from the Faj to New York for American premieres. In doing so the NYIFF hopes to stake its place as the only annual Iranian film festival in New York, and only the second major annual Iranian film festival in the country.
Pangea Arts, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001. We specialize in bringing work by international artists to New York audiences. Pangea has hosted past cultural events at Columbia University including the 2002 Springboard International Arts Festival. The NYIFF is Pangea’s first major independent event
Thursday May 29th
7:00 pm – BLACKBOARDS by Samira Makhmalbaf
9:00 pm – KANDAHAR by Moshen Makhmalbaf
Friday May 30th
7:30 pm – KANDAHAR by Moshen Makhmalbaf
9:30 pm – SECRET BALLOT by Babak Paymai
Saturday May 31st
5:30 pm – AFGHAN ALPHABET by Moshen Makhmalbaf
7:30 pm – A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES by Bahman Ghobadi
9:30 pm – BLACKBOARDS by Samira Makhmalbaf
Sunday June 1st
5:15 pm – A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES by Bahman Ghobadi
7:15 pm – BARAN by Mjid Majidi
9:30 pm – SECRET BALLOT by Babak Payami
Directed by Moshen Makhmalbaf
35mm feature, 85 minutes, color with subtitles
Shot on the border of Iran and Afghanistan, Kandahar is a politically urgent story of a young female journalist named Nafas who escaped Afghanistan with her family but must return and race against time in an attempt to rescue her sister. The sister, maimed by an exploded landmine and distraught over the constant persecution simply for being a woman, has written to Nafas vowing that she will commit suicide by the next solar eclipse. Nafas must disguise herself as an Afghan wife by wearing the traditional head-to-toe covering of the burqa in order to find her sister in the Taliban-controlled city of Kandahar. The film is inspired by the real-life experience of actress Nelofer Pazira, who plays Nafas. In 1989, she fled her homeland of Afghanistan and later received a similar letter not from a sister, but from a long-time friend who wanted to end her life.
Directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Video short, 45 minutes, color with subtitles
Afghan Alphabet is a documentary which takes us into the limbo land of refugee camps stretching along the border between Afghanistan and Iran. Makhmalbaf focues on a class of 11 year-old Afghan girls in burqas who are being coaxed into uncovering their faces so they can see to read and write. Some of them agree, but one refuses outright, exposing the complex tension between the desire for educational freedom and the allegiance to religious conviction among Afghani youth.
Directed by Samira Makhmalbaf
35mm feature, 85 minutes, color with subtitles
Blackboards is a fictional tale not unlike the true stories explored in “Afghan Alphabet.” This time, however, the focus is on Kurdish children instead of Afgahnis. Set in Iran, Samira Makhmalbaf’s film follows a group of teachers who, after a bombing in the Iranian Kurdistan, wander from one city to the next in search of students they can teach. Along the way they encounter many people of various ages and walks of life in an against-all-odds effort to help and share knowledge with anyone who is willing to learn.
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi
35mm feature, 77 minutes, color with subtitles
Ghobadi’s film is a spiritual bulletin from a contemporary front-line of almost unimaginable hardship. The film follows a group of poor, orphaned Kurdish children who live in a village near the Iran-Iraq border. Periodically, the children scramble aboard a truck to take them to Iraq to work in the market, or as foot- soldiers in various smuggling scams. Through Ghobadi’s unflinching gaze, the film explores an appalling world that makes children bear the burden of an existence too much for any adult.
BARAN (2001)
Directed by Majid Majidi
35mm feature, 99 minutes, color with subtitles
Latif is a handsome, lazy, essentially good-natured Iranian teenager whose job is to serve tea and food to illegal Afghan workers on a construction site. Latif is resentful of the Afghan workers, convinced he works harder, for less money, than they do. He believes this is unfair because he’s Iranian. His attitude changes when he meets a young Afghan woman whom, for various reasons, he is unable to court. He goes out of his way to do kind things for her family, ultimately making a sacrifice that threatens his status in his own country — all for a woman who, when she feels his gaze upon her, feels instinctually compelled to throw her burqa over her face to make sure her modesty isn’t compromised. It becomes clear, however, that no mere piece of cloth has the power to dampen the sexual charge between them.
Directed by Babak Payami
35mm feature, 123 minutes, color with subtitles
Secret Ballot follows two people: a soldier and an elections official. The soldier is stationed on a desert island, his job to watch for smugglers. The elections official arrives on this island with orders for the soldier to drive her through the barren white sands to collect votes. They arrive at a mud hut village ruled by a mysterious matriarch named Granny Baghoo. Granny Baghoo’s people say they don’t need government representation because they make their own power, make their own food, and take care of their own people. The elections official is frustrated by the apathy and folk logic of these rural Iranians. Why do they think democracy doesn’t affect them? Eventually she gets her answer.
Anthology Film Archives is located at 32 2nd Avenue on the SE corner of 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street. By subway, take the 4,5,6 to Astor Place or the N/R to 8th Street and walk east to 2nd Avenue, then south to 2nd Street. Or take the F to 2nd Avenue and walk north 2 blocks to 2nd Street.
For more information on the festival or Pangea Arts, please contact us at:
Pangea Arts, Inc.
560 Riverside Drive #4B1
New York, NY 10027
Or contact Beau Willimon, President of Pangea Arts, Inc. directly at:
Pangea Arts Inc. is delighted to bring these acclaimed films to New York audiences, but to do so requires financial support from film-goers like you. Please help us make this year’s New York Iranian Film Festival a success and ensure the festival becomes a yearly event. Pangea Arts, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductible. Please make checks payable to “Pangea Arts, Inc.” and mail to the following address:
New York Iranian Film Festival
Pangea Arts, Inc.
560 Riverside Drive #4B1
New York, NY 10027
Last modified: Thu May 1 17:32:25 EDT 2003

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