im glad you can see Not an illusion here . Not an illusion is a film about hope , struggle and resistance - and important of music and art . It is the true story of underground / alternative musicians of Iran - young people who are seeking cultural freedom . Made over 6 years since 2003 and in fact under some extremely difficult situations . I'm happy that against all the odds it was made and is out so to bring our voice to the world .
Incase you have seen a similar film from iran recently Please note that is a remake / copy without permission ! -- it was in Cannes Festival in 2009 ( title no one knows about Persian cats ) shot by the same camera man and a well known Iranian director over 17 days . . Sadly we don't have solid copy right law in Iran so that makes everything even more complicated ... it portraits yet again another discriminatin against us-- .... and that even among those who say they care men think they can do whatever the like .
you can read my words in details later --
Well Finally I have my special thanks to to Michael Hudecek - Rouhi Rezaie and Christopher Hird for their support during these years as well as few other professionals , friends and family and musicians who contributed to this work one way or another .
I hope you enjoy watching the film here and support in any way you can -- so we Not an illusion can be seen by wider audience and in other platforms with better quality .
Thank you very much . have a great viewing .
In 2003 I started to make a documentary , NA YEKTAVAHOM - Not An Illusion, 85 mins film about the alternative music scene in Iran ,
focusing on one person - Sara Naieni who is a young Iranian singer who has been prevented from pursuing a career as a singer as a result of the laws which were introduced into Iran after the 1979 revolution.These laws don't allow women to sing in public, other than
under very tightly regulated rules 13 such as when singing as backing vocals. Sara started to work as part of the rock band Piccolo, one of the alternative bands on the music
scene in Tehran. Sara also sang in English privately with her fellow musician friends. I followed her work and the band Piccolo, as well as other underground musicians
in Tehran, and the camera became the witness to the life and efforts, hopes and struggles and the contradictions in Tehran over the years .
My cameraman on this film was Turaj Aslani whostarted to work on the film in summer 2003 . I filmed on and off from 2003 to late 2007 with mr Aslani- but shot
also part of the film myself and up to spring 2008. I put together and edited some scenes and the worked on the rough structure of the film with Rouhollah Rezaie ( a young
Iranian Editor ) in Tehran in a home studio . Following this, in 2007, I did some more filming in London and in Tehran with Turaj Aslani and finished most of the filming in the second half of 2007.
During 2005 and 2006 Turaj and I viewed the material, a rough cut of the film and a 4 Min's trailer and in 2007 I showed him a music video style trailer cut by Barsia Sambourakchi the Iranian 13 Austrian Editor in Vienna.
Then in the summer of 2008 I heard that Bahman Ghobadi, the well known Iranian filmmaker who made The Time For Drunken Horses, and other films was making a docud-rama about alternative musicians and women singers in Tehran , using actors
and real musicians on the alternative music scene 13 and that his cameraman was to be Turaj Aslani. Mr Ghobadi sent me a message via Turaj Aslani, who came to see me at my home, saying that he wanted to see my current cut of Not An Illusion, which at the time I was preparing with my editor Rouhollah Rezaie in Tehran to take to Vienna so that Michael Hudecek , could supervise the final edit and the last stage of post production of the film in Vienna. Turaj Aslani told me that they wanted to see the content of the film, specially montage sequences of Tehran which we had
shot and I edited with the lyrics and the music of themusicians to and the mood and atmosphere of the film, with some of the locations .
I agreed to meet Mr Ghobadi but he never followed up his first invitation. However, soon after this Mr Ghobadi started to make his film 13 which was entitled No-one Knows about Persian Cats. There is no doubt that Mr Ghobadi started his film after I had substantially finished mine as ininterviews and in Q&As at screenings he has said that his film was made in 17 days and that some of the script was improvised on the location. The film was post produced in Germany and released at the Cannes film festival in May 2009, where it secured a Special Jury Prize. It has subsequently been shown at many international festivals, where it has received good reviews and is now going into cinemas in Europe. .
Persian Cats looks so similar to my film Not an Illusion that it is hard to see how it could not have been copied from my film.
The main story line of Persian Cats is that a female musician wants to perform, needs to have a band, gets invited to have a concert abroad but this concert doesn't happen. Through her journey we get to see the alternative music scenes, Tehran, Iranian society and the
day to day life of the people. This is the story line of my documentary Not An Illusion.
The concept of Mr Ghobadi 19s film is the same as mine. The essential story line 13 of trying to get a band a booking overseas 13 is the same as mine. The documentary style, including some crazy montage sequences of Tehran, is the same as mine. The shooting and editing style 13 the low key lighting, the camera angles, the documentary editing technique 13 is the same as mine. Some of the characters in his film are very similar to mine. Some scenes are virtually the same as in my film. I am a struggling female independent film maker; Mr Ghobadi is a successful film maker. In taking my idea and six years of my struggle, to help him advance his international reputation he has illustrated that even among the opposition in Iran, men believe they can do what they like. I have written to him about this, but he has not replied. Instead, I have been attacked in the Iranian media ( letters published in Farsi ) by Mr Ghobadi 19s assistant for daring as 1Can unknown woman 1D to criticise him, accused of being a 1Cliar 1D, seeking to get publicity on the back of Mr .Ghobadi 19s reputation and been told to keep my criticism private by taking to 1E Court in Iran 1E or 1CThe House of Cinema 1D ( a government body) for adjudication. The Iranian Media outside Iran has been quiet until Now - And only few independet music / cinema magazines have published the news inside and outside Iran .
I can give you a full break down of the similarities between 1CNot An Illusion 1D and 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D, but I think for the purpose of this interview the following could be enough:
1. In 1CNot An Illusion 1D, there is a scene when Sara and her mother where they are singing a Persian traditional/folk song while her mother is playing the tonbak (Iranian percussion). In 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D two women do the same, similarly shot, one of which is playing the Daf (Iranian percussion).
2. In 1CNot An Illusion 1D, Sara and the Piccolo band are in a studio rehearsing and the electricity goes off in the middle of the rehearsal. The same concept can be seen 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D when the musicians are rehearsing and the electricity goes off.
3. In the same scene in 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D where the musicians are rehearsing, you can see that the drummer looks just too similar to the drummer of Piccolo for example. In their rehearsal room similar elements are shown i.e. a yellow material hanging on the wall and a Persian rug on another wall. This is just similar to the real rehearsal room of Piccolo band.
4. The use of roof tops in both films is another example. Piccolo 19s rehearsal room is on the top floor of a building and there are shots of the roof top and views of Tehran 13 as Milad the guitarist also lived on the roof top of his parents' house 13 and then most importantly, Sara had fallen from a roof top, and for the concept and visual reasons it was important to have these scenes. Similar shots and concept are used in 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D too.
5. In 1CNot An Illusion 1D, there is a scene in Blanket Studio, one of the oldest home
studios in downtown Tehran, walls are covered with egg boxes it had a very unique atmosphere. Same place is reconstructed in 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D. Some of the shots are identical. If you see my rough cut, it is even more apparent.
6. Montage sequences and shots of Tehran, cut with the music of the musicians, in 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D where Hichkas is singing his track 1CEkhtelaf 1D: almost all the shots are taken from 1CNot An Illusion 1D, reconstructed and edited to convey the same feeling i.e. lives of ordinary people in Tehran, the traffic, drugs, traditional look of men and women, young people and women, and the contradictions that exist in this huge city tight down to some identical locations.
7. In 1CNot An Illusion 1D, the filmmaker/narrator takes the viewer to the different alternative music scenes and parts of Tehran, shots of Tehran from the car window - she tries to help the musician for a concert outside of Iran where they are invited to a festival in Europe, she goes to see a clergy, she says in one part that she was in London before. In 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D the main character (known as Nader) is a movie lover, cares for musicians, takes the musicians and viewer to the different music scenes and different parts of Tehran, by motorbike! He tries to help them for a concert outside of Iran, he says he was in London before too, and there is a scene with him and a clergy man too. In my rough cut the narration was in English and a short part in Fasri. Nader speaks Persian but has some English too at some point in the film.
8. In the opening of 1CNot An Illusion 1D, the director is recording her voice and soon after (in my original rough cut and not in the final cut) she explains about herself and her love for music and etc. In 1CNobody Knows About Persian Cats 1D also in the beginning, the director is recording his voice in a studio.
Director /Producer : Torang Abedian
Camera : Touraj Aslani/ Torang Abedian
Edit Supervisor : Michael Hudecek
Editor: Torang Abedian, Rouhollah Rezaie
Associate Producer : Christopher Hird
Sound : Mahmoud Khorsand
Sound Mix : Christofer Frank
Music : Mohsen Namjoo,
Piccolo band, Reza Tajbakhsh
My Life Story in Short:
Na yek Tavahom (Not an...Documentary, 1hr 23mins