June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
Hope from Iran 3 is the final film of the Hope from Iran trilogy, and this time, filmmaker Flavio Azm Rassekh focuses on the unique story of two Iranian Baha’is who left Iran right after the Islamic Revolution to start a new life abroad. Their stories have a deep connection with the current situation in Iran today, and in the end, it all comes back together in a full circle.
I got in touch with filmmaker Flavio Azm Rassekh to find out more about Hope from Iran 3, and here’s what he shared:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Flavio! This is the third and final film you’ve made as a part of the ‘Hope From Iran’ series, so can you briefly tell us the main idea behind ‘Hope from Iran 3’, and what you really wanted to get across to viewers?
This last film came full circle back to the original idea, the idea that Iran itself has always had in itself the wisdom, the inspiration, the courage and strength to change the course of its future. The main characters in this particular film had to leave right after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, because their families were concerned that their lives would be in danger, and that they would never be able to study or have a normal life. I wanted to show how much the country of Iran has lost by persecuting minorities like the Baha’is.
Baha’i Blog: I know I’ve asked this before, but why are these films called Hope “from” Iran and not Hope “for” Iran?
People always ask me that question, and it’s a good one. For me, it’s a simple concept: Iran is a place where great civilizations have flourished, and some of the world’s greatest poets are from Persia, and maybe no other place on earth has been blessed with three different Manifestations of God – Zoroaster, the Bab, and Baha’u’llah – like the land of Iran has. So rather than looking for the answers in the West, or anywhere else, I feel that the title invites Iranians to look within, for the secret of a new civilization lies there in Iran itself, and for 170 years it’s been there. Hope comes from Iran, not from anywhere else in the world. It’s a paradox if you look at the current situation of the country, I feel we need to look beyond what’s happening now.
Baha’i Blog: How was the experience of making this third film in the series different for you personally?.
The current wave of persecutions of the Baha’is in Iran made this project even more urgent than ever for me. In no other place on earth, the government, and the clergy have put so much effort into silencing a minority, for so long, like the leaders of Iran have. We have had persecutions of minorities in different countries for certain periods of time, but these kinds of orchestrated blows against the Baha’is of Iran since it’s inception in the 19th century is something unique.
Even though the film is about two amazing professionals who excel in their line of work in the West, the background story is always there, it’s about Iran. Why couldn’t they do what they do best in their own country? Why couldn’t they study and work freely where they were born?
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope the people of Iran will take away from this film after they’ve seen it?
I feel they will see how much Iranians outside of Iran could have contributed to the progress and wellbeing of their own country if there were freedom and justice there.
Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I really hope people share this film as far and wide as possible, as these kinds of stories need to be heard.
Baha’i Blog: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview Flavio, and thank you for creating this wonderful film.
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.
What a beautiful short film. I cried after watching this. Thank you much!
Criselda R. Figuerres (July 7, 2020 at 2:44 PM)
Thank you so much Baha’i Blog!
Criselda R. Figuerres (July 7, 2020 at 2:46 PM)
May I suggest as I live in a house that has people that are a bit hard of hearing, that the background music be lowered quite considerably. Please take this into account for those that do not hear well. The background music makes it very hard for them to distinguish what is being said by the people talking. Regards Tony
Antony Bristow-Stagg (July 7, 2020 at 5:52 AM)