I noticed that you are currently only going to film festivals.
What about Dubai? The distributor had applied for the same, but we are yet to receive any confirmation from them.
Is a release in your own home country feasible? Or will you face a fatwa?
I don't know, just really wanted to make this film and I doubt that it can be screened there in Iran.
Worse can happen, you may even face a ban like Jafar Panahi who is under a 20-year embargo.
Even if an artiste is banned, he or she will find a way to do whatever he or she likes. You can't imprison art and even if the artist is restricted, art finds a way out one day. During his ban Jafar directed Taxi – his third feature during the restrictions – which, in fact, won the Golden Bear at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.
He may not be able to go out of
But did the government not try to stop you when you were filming it?
It is a rule in Iran that every filmmaker has to submit the film-script to the government, prior to making it. Any objectionable element is asked to be removed, sometimes as much as changing the basic plot.
But there are many film-makers who make films without authorisation and I did the same. I shot my film exclusively outside Tehran to escape government’s surveillance. I faced a different problem because of that. The producer who also was the protagonist quit due to lack of government approval. He was also silly – not convinced, I can do a movie because it was my first. Finally, I did this movie without any sponsors or any financial assistance.
[ Turning to Fery]: Thanks to her support.
But I must mention, my film conveys the culture and tradition of Iran in a very realistic manner, without any exaggeration.
Making a film silently and screening it are different issues.
Have you thought of releasing your movies in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Bahrain, Iraq etc? Well, you see, Syria does not have any ministry of what you call...information and culture at present. The reasons why they will object to show the film is because of the illegal relation – there is no marriage but there is a child.
As far as relations between both the countries are concerned, despite a very long war we have a very good relationship. We are all brothers and sisters across the border.
Well, about Saudi Arabia, we do
I gather you already have your next venture ready.
Well, I have got my next script ready and it is also about a woman’s story, but this time the woman is coming from a province from a little town and the relation is about how she struggles in the town.
What kind of struggle? It's a story about how a group or society can drive somebody to be crazy because this person does not look like them – she is different – and because she is different they put her in a condition that she feels disturbed. It is basically a bad interpretation of the religion where they are acting just because they are told to with no real depth but only with superficial knowledge.
It creates a condition that this person is disturbed. They don't really get the spirituality, the truth, behind the concept of religion and they are just acting with very superficial knowledge. This film is more about the critique of religion as it is practised today.
Is the title in place? The name of my next movie is Upon That High Mountain. The protagonist of the film comes from a high mountain and she is very spiritual. As I said, it is a critique of religion, it is about somebody who is going on top of a mountain to a shrine and the shrine is very high up the mountain. We