The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators.
Hesam Dehghani, from Tehran, Iran, first learned of CollabFeature from the film website mandy.com. He was intrigued by the opportunity to work on an international project with filmmakers from around the world, and has been impressed with the diversity of cultures on the Train Station project:
Hesam Dehghani: “Working on a project with other filmmakers from different countries is a unique experience. In this system, you should put away your own likes and dislikes and learn to ‘collaborate’ with other artists. It is amazing and you learn so much from others.”
Hesam’s segment in Train Station begins when Man in Brown, or in his case, Woman in Brown (played by Shirin Esmaeeli), accepts the offer of two strangers to give her a ride home after she was unnerved by a mysterious man who she thought was following her. However, the seemingly friendly strangers make her even more uncomfortable when they ask inappropriate and probing questions about her life.
HD: “I wanted to have some kind of twist in my segment, and working on that ‘nice’ couple was a good point to start. I had two minutes to convey the feeling of escaping from one uncomfortable situation and falling into another one, by the ones who were supposed to help you come out of the first one!”
The shoot took two days at a cost of 150 million Rials (about $5,000 USD), and was financed by Hesam’s production company, Persian Magic. The shoot had a 10-person crew and used a Sony EX3 camera.
Locations were in the city of Tehran, the capital of Iran.
HD: “I specially selected the route and direction of the ride in a way that The Milad Tower, which is the symbol of Tehran, can be seen in the background. We also used it as a main background of the walking footage.
Tehran is a very large city, with 10 million people living in it. It is the third largest city in the Middle East and you can see both old and modern buildings in it. South of Tehran is kind of old, with more population and north of Tehran is modern, with skyscrapers. The streets are wider and lush and houses are more pricey.”
The actors in Hesam’s segment are all speaking Persian, and their wardrobe is typical everyday Iranian dress. Though to an untrained eye the wardrobe seems similar to that in other Middle Eastern countries, there are important differences.
HD: “Many people who live in western countries think that Iran is an Arab country and women wear the same dress as Arab women do. Although Iran is an Islamic country, here women and girls do not wear that kind of dress. They do not cover their faces, and men do not wear Dishdasha (that special dress that Arabs wear).
Also, some Westerners think that Tehran is a desert, and that people ride on camels and live in tents! Sometimes my friends in other countries ask me “do you have the internet in your country?”… and that annoys me a lot. Having a segment in Train Station was a great chance for me to show that these thoughts are not true.”
Interview conducted by Diane Cheklich.