Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Iran Job



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THE IRAN JOB follows American basketball player Kevin Sheppard as he accepts a job to play in one of the world’s most feared countries: Iran. With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Kevin tries to separate sports from politics, only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran. Along the way he forms an unlikely alliance with three outspoken Iranian women. Thanks to these women, his apartment turns into an oasis of free speech, where they discuss everything from politics to religion to gender roles. Kevin’s season in Iran culminates in something much bigger than basketball: the uprising and subsequent suppression of Iran’s reformist Green Movement – a powerful prelude to the currently unfolding Arab Spring.

HOW THE IRAN JOB STARTED:

In the fall of 2008 – shortly after Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Israel – we had a Skype call with Kevin Sheppard, a flashy point-guard from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Kevin was about to start a basketball contract in the Iranian Super League. A minute into the conversation he had us rolling on the floor laughing in spite of the prospect of playing in a country that's supposedly full of illegal nukes and Islamic terrorists. We decided to start filming, even without a budget. (Fellow filmmakers: please don’t do this to yourselves, especially when you’re married with a small child and another on the way...) Till (husband/director) filmed Kevin in Iran over several visits, until on his last trip - in the run-up to Iran’s 2009 election - he was informed that he had been placed on a "black list" (for reasons still not clear to us), and was put in detention in a kind of "hotel-prison" inside the glitzy new Tehran airport. Sara (wife/producer) was at home, 5-months pregnant with kid number 2, while Till was in Tehran hand-shredding some not-so-cool-documents-when-you’re-stuck-in-Iran and flushing them down the toilet. He was sent back to New York on the next plane -- a stroke of luck in retrospect given the number of filmmakers and journalists recently arrested in Iran.

WHAT WE'RE DOING:

We need to raise at least $50,000 by the end of the year to prepare the film for a 2012 release.

WHY NOW:

With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, and the world's attention laser-focusing on Iran again this is a critical time to take a fresh look at Iranians. It may even be crucial in avoiding the next war in a Muslim country.

Besides … the NBA is locked out, so you might as well watch exciting basketball in Iran!

PARTNERS & SUPPORTERS:

Abigail Disney - executive producer of Academy Award shortlisted Pray The Devil Back To Hell and Academy Award nominated Sun Come Up, and creator of the PBS series Women, War and Peace – is our executive producer. Berlin’s The Post Republic (Waltz With Bashier) is our German co-producer. Christiane Amanpour graciously co-hosted a fundraiser. Gloria Steinem noted the film’s unexpected nexus of male sports and women’s rights – for while THE IRAN JOB is about men's basketball, above all it gives voice to three very brave Iranian women. We’ve also won the support of Karim Sadjapour, associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

And we're thrilled THE IRAN JOB features some of the most cutting-edge Iranian rap and hip-hop, including such artists as Shahin Najafi, Jadugaran, ZedBazi, and A2.

WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO SUPPORT THE IRAN JOB:

Make a pledge today via Kickstarter. Any contribution, no matter how small or large, will make a difference. And all contributions will be rewarded! Please check out the donation tiers to your right to find the level and gift that’s right for you!

Spread the word by telling your friends, family and social networks about our film and this Kickstarter campaign. Please send the URL of this page with a heartfelt endorsement to everyone you know! "Like" and Share the link on Facebook, Twitter, by email or blog. Encourage people to follow us. We can be found online here: Facebook, Twitter, www.theiranjob.com

If you have other ideas how to help please contact us!

HOW KICKSTARTER WORKS:

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects, driven by an all-or-nothing modus. If we don’t raise our goal of $50,000, we lose everything, and no money changes hands. If we do reach our goal, the film will come out in 2012. Our campaign will last for 50 days. 50 days go by very fast. If you can, please pledge now – it will help build crucial momentum.

During our campaign and beyond we will keep you updated on the progress of the film, and we welcome any feedback and comments. Thank you very much for helping us complete this journey!

With much love and gratitude,

Sara Nodjoumi & Till Schauder

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