• Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:34:30View | Delete

    thank you Lisa
    and thank you to those who participated.
    good night.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:33:08View | Delete

    Americans grow up believing in some sense of America as a superior place. In fact we call ourselves American and America but Mexico and Canada are America too. In fact when i visited the Mexican Ambassador in Tehran (my son is half Mexican so we thought it would be fun to meet the Ambassador) he said that his one thing he has proudly accomplished during his stint in Tehran is that he got the Anti-American demonstrators in front of the old US EMbassy to change their signs from

    DOWN WITH AMERICA,

    to,

    DOWN WITH THE USA.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:26:45View | Delete

    You are asking me questions about Iranian government and politics and i am not an expert in this field.

    my knowledge comes from books, articles, the news, blogs written by iranians, and my Iranian friends inside Iran and here in the US.

    at every opportunity i ask Iranians what their views are and no two opinions are alike. so please don’t take what i say as ‘the truth’. what i have to say is an attempt to make some sense out of a place that is extremely complex, and even for those who speak the language and who have worked closely with iranian institutions, there aren’t many people who seem to know “the answer.”

    i think that in terms of the future it is very interesting to see Iran in the context of what we are calling the “arab spring”. let’s see where Iran fits into the unfolding of the current drama in the Middle East. it’s exciting.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:21:09View | Delete

    In some ways the Iranian gov’t is purposefully making life untenable for those Iranians who are eager to see a equal rights for women, a truly democratic government, an opening up of education to include a broader scope in philosophy, history, theology.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:17:16View | Delete

    hi lisa, in response to your ? about the brain drain, as far as i understand, the gov’t is only too happy to see those people leave who seek a more Western education and a democratic form of government.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:15:39View | Delete

    hi again eCAHNomics
    imagine, 65% of the Iranian population is under the age of 30.
    60% of iranian students are women
    every year 150 to 180 THOUSAND Iranians leave Iran … Iran has the largest brain drain in the world. Iranians have made new lives in the US, Germany, France, England, Sweden. Iranians in Iran, particularly the middle class and above, are very savvy about their government vis a vis governments elsewhere. And the fact is that i have never met an Iranian in the US who did not long for their country, for their culture. Iranians are very proud of their heritage, their history, their culture. Persia has 5,000 years of recorded history. Iranians know who they are.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:09:18View | Delete

    hi eCAHNomics,
    Iranians are SO clued into the corruption of their government. First of all Iranians are extremeely internet savvy. the 3rd most popular language in the blog-o- sphere is Farsi (Persian). they are contanstly texting and tweeting and surfing. more than 40% of the population has cell phones (that’s an old statistic so i suspect the number is higher now). Even though satellite tv is illegal you can’t find a building in Tehran that doesn’t have a satellite. Iranians are very savvy. sure, just like anybody, anywhere, the really closed minded Iranians choose not to watch the alternative perspective. but they have access to it.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:06:43View | Delete

    so in answer to your excellent question Kelly, i think my ‘aha’ moment in iran was in appreciating that in Iran, as in most places, people are living their lives with very similar concerns and interests. Iranians are not, “those people over there”. they are us. we are them. and yet the differences are profound and vastly compelling. we do have different traditions, and taarof (a style of communciation, a sort of code of conduct) in Iran is unlike the more American style of DIRECT conversation. But in many many ways, i know it sounds trite, we are all aspiring to find a job we love, give our kids a promising future, enjoy time with our friends, fall in love, make some money, find time to finish that book or watch that movie and lots of people want to lose that last 5 pounds.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 17:02:16View | Delete

    i guess the answer would have to be the way that Iranians in Tehran live their lives: the rhythm of their lives is not unlike what i see in the US, what i see in any urban place. here in the west, our view of Iran is almost solely derived from what we read and hear. and most of what we read and hear is in terms of crisis. but in iran, people adapt, they have a sense of humor. people are VERY outspoken about their politics: they just aren’t outspoken on camera. as in many countries, if you are politically active, than you are going to be under surveillance and your movement, your freedom is hampered. I don’t think Iran is worse to it’s politically active students and populace than many many other countries around the world. which makes one wonder why Iran, in particular, is in our crosshairs?

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:49:13View | Delete

    thank you lisa.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:42:56View | Delete

    taarof is so complicated. there are many many definitions for taarof. but working in a culture of taarof is unlike working in, for example, the US. in the US, you call someone on the phone, and you cut to the chase. you ask for what you want. boom boom. and off you go onto the next call. in iran, no conversation begins or ends without a 5 minute conversation/questioning after the other person’s mother, father, husband or wife, children, etc.

    Persia was home to traders, barbarians, the Silk Road invited everyone through Persia so the Persians found ways to protect themselves, veil themselves and so they adopted a language of deference since they wouldn’t know if they were speaking to a friend or a foe.

    that’s a simplistic explanation for taarof, but it’s one idea about how taarof came to be. geography. in others words, location, location, location.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:39:12View | Delete

    i am working on educational outreach for OUR SUMMER IN TEHRAN. This entails fundraising to create a study guide. and let me tell you just HOW MUCH I AM REALLY FED UP WITH FUNDRAISING!!! i want so badly to write something other than a grant proposal.

    so i am also working on a treatment for a screenplay. something funny. something irreverent. and something i want to direct. i love documentary but i am eager to work in a more controlled fashion, something closer to film and theater. i spent almost 20 years acting and the rehearsal process is the most creative, surprising, rich process. i’d like to bring that into my life.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:35:30View | Delete

    My son Mateo was 6 when he was with me in Tehran. He’s 10 now. i shot an interview with him which includes scenes from his time in Tehran that are not in the film. it’s a funny clip bc it captures a friend of ours, asking Mateo, very seriously, if there are CAMELS in Iran. i understand her ignorance. we see so little of real, ordinary life around the world
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEOulbwXZdo&feature=channel_video_title

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:32:53View | Delete

    here’s the article re: iran and israel written by trita parsi

    http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/05/11/freeing_israel_from_its_iran_bluff

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:31:23View | Delete

    Many Iran experts will say that Iran does not pose a threat to Israel. Iran has a really traditional, conservative, corrupt, government but they are not suicidal. Bombing Israel would be a suicidal move. Trita Parsi from NIAC recently wrote an interesting article along these lines. let me find it for you and i’ll post it here.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:29:12View | Delete

    hi Kelly, not sure what you mean by screwed up the Globy thing. i am a former host of GlobeTrekker, i hosted the show for 10 years from 1994 to 2004 and they keep re=running the shows.

    i had never been to Iran before my shoot for OUR SUMMER IN TEHRAN.

    let me think about your AHHHH moment question.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:27:16View | Delete

    well it is different in some ways and in many ways, one could say, not so different.
    the IRanian government controls what journalists say in Iran. In the US, there is another kind of control in place and that is that a very few corporate entities control the major news outlets. read anything about how news (print and television and radio) is editorialized and you will appreciate that in the US “freedom of speech” has its limits. Sure anyone can say anything on the periphery, but the mainstream has strong controls in place.

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:22:48View | Delete

    if you want to buy the DVD for home use visit our store here:
    http://www.promisesfilms.com/our_store.html
    if you are a teacher /educator or run an organization or university department you can buy the educational version here:
    http://www.oursummerintehran.com/store.html

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:20:54View | Delete

    hi Kelly, yes it’s me from GLobeTrekker. you can watch the film on TV, it’s broadcasting on public television in cities around the US. if you miss the broadcast you can buy the DVD from our store. your purchase supports educational outreach. we are workign to get the film and discussion guide into middle and high schools. !

  • Justine Shapiro commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Our Summer in Tehran

    2011-05-23 16:19:21View | Delete

    The story of the hikers is really heartbreaking. i live in Berkeley and know some people here who know he hikers. I think we can rest assured that they are not spies. One of the big problems in dealing iwth Iran is that their government is organized in a rather convoluted way. Iran’s central government is comprised of about 20 Ministries and there seems to be a great deal of power playing between the directors of those Ministries. There is so much intra-political and inter-personal tension in the IRanian government that i imagine that the Hiker’s fates are somewhat victim to the power play of the government authorities.

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