When did you last watch an Iranian film? Or better yet, where is the last time you saw or learned anything about Iran? Odds are the news is where most Americans encounter any stories about Iran and usually, it’s not good news. Well, filmmaking is quite alive in Iran and the stories they tell are not what’s on the newscaster’s minds. They are mostly about the lives of everyday Iranians who experience the joys and sorrows of working hard and getting to tomorrow. Included in IRAN: Axis of People is a documentary about an Iranian girl who just wants to ride her bike on the city street but is reprimanded again and again for doing so as a girl. Gando is another documentary that relates the story of a girl who went to the river to fetch some water but encountered a crocodile?! This is evidently a regular problem for this village. Then there are several stunning animations about the worlds we humans have created around us. Iran truly is an axis around which stories of everyday people’s lives rotate. Films on this reel include…
ONE NICE DAY – An elementary school teacher is given the opportunity to give away one new bookbag to a student in his class. To decide, everyone writes a name on a piece of paper and tosses it into a bag. The teacher will pull out the winner. Little did he know… the fix was in! 🙂 (2014 / 3 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sousan Salamat / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
BORDERLESS – Delaram is a teenage girl who was born with Down syndrome. She is very aware of being treated differently by others and feels that there is a border between everyone she encounters. Delaram has come up with a unique coping mechanism to maintain happiness in her life. The imagination can be a powerful tool. (2020 / 13 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Behrad Sahebgharani / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
GANDO – In the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces of Iran running water is scarce. Villagers must go to local ponds and rivers to get what they need on a daily basis. Once you are on the river bank you must be very careful because gando (Iranian crocodiles) live there as well. This documentary tells the story of a nine-year-old girl named Hawa who lost her arm one-day getting water. It’s also a story about, despite the gando being a threat, the villagers respect the gando because they believe they help bring the water. (2020 / 8 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Teymour Ghaderi / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)
WOODEN SWORD – Two young boys meet on a park bench while waiting for their fathers to return. Little do they know their fathers have not formed a friendship similar to what they just have. Is what they see next might stay with them forever. (2019 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dirs Behzad Alavi, Sousan Salamat/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
THE ROTATION – There is a war between two tribes over claiming the sun in the sky. As a result of that war, the sun is annihilated and the volcano erupts. Those two tribes perish and a new sun is made by lava. Several centuries pass and the new tribes continue to war over their claim to the sun in the sky. The sad cycle continues. (2020 / 7 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Hazhir As’adi / animation / no dialogue)
RAINBOW – A young flower vendor working a street corner comes across something that is not his. The events that follow show his regret and misunderstanding of other people’s intentions. (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Mohammad Khalili/ live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
A GIRL FROM PARSIAN …is an insightful documentary about a group of young Iranian women who wish to ride their bikes and the resistance they encounter from men of all ages. (2019 / 20 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Parinaz Hashemi Mobarakeh / documentary / Persian w/English subtitles)
THE ELEVENTH STEP – A little lion cub, born in a zoo, lives in a cage that is only ten steps long. On the eleventh step he bangs his head against the bars, but one day the zookeeper leaves the cage door open…. (2020 / 11 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Maryam Kashkoolinia / animation / Persian w/English subtitles)
RAYA – Raya’s family is having a dispute with the landlord and eviction is on the horizon. She and several of her friends also have a problem with a teacher at school and they decide to take matters into their own hands. Raya learns the hard way how not to deal with problems she might have with other people. Thankfully she demonstrates this knowledge shortly after. (2019 / 14 mins / Islamic Republic of Iran / dir Sepideh Berenji / live-action / Persian w/English subtitles)
PCFF 2021 WINNER Special Jury Award Best Narrative Feature!
Jack raves about his younger brother Gio, whom he believes to have superpowers. As he grows older he realizes that his brother is special in other ways. In a moment of uncertainty, Jack decides to deny having a brother from his classmates. But he failed to take into account that a brother like Gio is a personality impossible to deny to anyone. The consequences are a hard lesson learned in this poignant, humorous coming-of-age-story full of clashing emotions. Will Jack dare be as natural as his brother? Based on a true story.
We are delighted to be able to re-present this Festival Flashback from five years ago!
Cathy’s tenth birthday is tough enough without her eccentric father giving her an egg as a gift along with a warning: “Be there when it is born so the bird recognizes YOU as its mother.” After a game of hide-and-seek goes awry, Cathy’s friend Margaux unknowingly becomes the “mother.” Unfortunately for the bird and Margaux, her parents believe Margaux is unable to care for this pet from her wheelchair. It takes a duckling, a great friend, and a temporary flight from home to alter everyone’s understanding of life’s limitations.
Cathy’s tenth birthday is tough enough without her eccentric father giving her an egg as a gift along with a warning: “Be there when it is born so the bird recognizes YOU as its mother.” After a game of hide-and-seek goes awry, Cathy’s friend Margaux unknowingly becomes the “mother.” Unfortunately for the bird and Margaux, her parents believe Margaux is unable to care for this pet from her wheelchair. It takes a duckling, a great friend and a temporary flight from home to alter everyone’s impressions of life’s limitations.
Two orphaned siblings (ten-year-old Pari and her brother, eight-year-old Chotu) leave an abusive aunt in search for medical help to bring back Chotu’s eyesight. In a mystical tale they encounter the best and the worst of Indian society on their search for a Bollywood star who offers financial assistance. During their quest you can feel the heat, smell the curries, enjoy the colors and music from the other side of the world.
Winner BEST FILM Generation KPlus Berlin Crystal Bear 2015
This futuristic film, with BLADE RUNNER-esque grit, depicts a world where robots are as prolific as cell phones are today. Since his mother passed away, Tibor, age 11, has relied more strongly than ever on his lifelong friend T.I.M. (The Incredible Machine). T.I.M. is in need of a major overhaul, and so Tibor’s father trades T.I.M. in for an upgrade. But how do you upgrade a “friend”? A peril-filled quest, Tibor’s search for T.I.M. puts his friendship to the ultimate test.
The Crocodiles” was a huge hit at our 2011 festival, so screening the second installment of their trilogy was a no-brainer! All the original cast members are back (looking a little older as kids are prone to do), and several new characters assist in solving another town conspiracy. This time the gang of pint-sized detectives stumbles across a plot involving a local factory threatened with a mysterious closure. Worried that their parents will lose their jobs, the young sleuths must work together to uncover the sinister plan.
“The Crocodiles Strike Back” is packed with plenty of adventure and humor. What this film has above and beyond other films made for young adults is a sincere development of characters with real-world domestic situations. There are kids from broken families trying to cope. Racism is tackled, as are stereotypes of the physically challenged, often in humorous ways. These evolving young adults are empowered through their friendship despite entering a difficult age of thinking romantically about each other. There is still teasing but with respect for one another. Dealing with issues relevant to kids around the world, this entertaining coming-of-age film is guaranteed to thrill audiences.
Having lost his left leg to bone cancer, Ka is left with only one leg to jump with. When he is discharged from the hospital, Dr. Chen gives him a present: a child’s picture book titled “Rolypoly.” The doctor tells him, “Jump five million times, and you’ll see Rolypoly.” Thus begins a story of a boy, an aging children’s book author wishing to correct a past misdeed (theft) and a Chinese village that embraces them both.
The film took three years to make due to the difficult process of combining live action with animations. All the stories (the animation parts) in the movie were bedtime stories the director told to his son 15 years ago. The main actor playing the author, Tien Bien, is a famous stage actor in Taiwan. All the children are non-professional actors.
In a contemporary small town around a closed-down factory, bored ‘tween friends, some from broken homes, are looking for creative ways to spend their time. They build forts, issue dares and tease one another. The Crocodiles is the name of this gang of 11-year-olds and a newcomer (who uses a wheelchair) wants in.
Part Hardy Boys, part “Stand By Me,” part “The Outsiders,” this fast-paced film combines classic elements with a larger message of breaking down stereotypes. Please be warned that the dialogue is stronger than an American audience may be used to. There is a domestic abuse scene. Slurs and stereotypes are expressed. However, this difficult dialogue is not used for shock value. It is part of the larger and more important narrative of kids learning how hurtful their exclusionary actions and hateful words can be, then making amends.
It is safe to say you have not seen a film like this before. “EEP!” is based on a book with a familiar premise: An unexpected central character appears whose mere presence inspires the people she meets to reflect on their own lives to find more happiness. The ethereal and acclaimed actress Kenadie Joudin-Bromley takes this movie to another place. By using what some could see as a physical obstacle –primordial dwarfism – this Canadian eight-year-old creates a character you will remember lovingly.
In this imaginative and beautifully shot film, a bird watcher finds a little living creature in the grass under a tree and no adult bird around to claim her. He brings her to his wife, who insists this will be their child to raise. They name her Beedie and we follow her quick growth into bird/human maturity. When Beedie follows her instinct to flock with other birds, the attempts to bring her back bring many people together in wonderful, often comic, ways.
There are no special effects used for this tiny bird child — except her feathered arms. Beedie, played by Kenadie Jourdin-Bromley, has primordial dwarfism, suffered by less than 100 people in the world. Born at 2 1/2 lbs and not expected to live more than a few days, she has defied the odds.