Film Countries Archives: Iran

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Shorts 6: Comedy – Awkward Laughs


  Canada, Chile, Iran, United States     96 minutes


The works in this program muck around the dark corners of human experience, bringing forth the darkly comedic, can’t-help-but-laugh moments that arise in difficult times. Featuring works by Daniel Sinclair, Malia Ann, Azadeh Navai, Lou Marino, Peter Collins Campbell, and Éric K. Boulianne.

A surprise interruption during a fruitless therapy session brings a married couple closer than they thought possible in the hilarious The Breakthrough (U.S.). A lonely man is perplexed when his mother passes away and leaves him with her heart in a jar in the beautifully tender The Heart (U.S.). The endlessly charming Rizoo (Iran, U.S.) follows a rebellious 8-year-old who recently moved back to Tehran from the United States as she navigates familial and societal expectations. An intimate and endearing work of docu-fiction, Geranios (Chile) follows best friends whose effortless charisma and fierce dedication carries them through tough times. In the delightfully idiosyncratic Variations on a Theme (U.S.), a couple starts literally splitting into multiple versions of themselves. The ups and downs of a couple’s journey trying to get pregnant are humorously and compassionately explored in Making Babies (Canada).

 English, French, Persian, Spanish with subtitles 

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Screenings & Events

Virtual Screening

This program will be available to stream from October 16 at 12:00pm CT to October 22 at 11:59pm CDT.


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The Best of CineYouth 2023


  Canada, Iran, South Korea, United States     96 minutes


Discover the next generation of great filmmakers with CineYouth’s 2023 award winners! From animated gems to impactful documentaries, experimental genre-benders to heartfelt dramas, this eclectic and impressive group of films are all made by directors 22-years-old or younger! Featuring works by Caleb Jacobson, Ian Kim, Andee Williams, Aniya Carey, Antoinette Green, Iyanna Jordan, Aria Gazor, Bjorgvin Arnarson, Irène-Kimberley Valin-Awashish, Julian Barahona, Janay Kelley, and Daisy Friedman.

A couple is a bright spot in their community, running a publishing business for Black creatives and growing a family through foster adoption, in the inspiring portrait and Documentary Award-winner Believe in Wonder (U.S.).

The largely animated documentary (and Animation Award-winner) My Sisters in the Stars (U.S./South Korea) provides vital historical perspective through the story of Lee Yong-soo, one of 11 living survivors of human trafficking in Japanese-colonized Korea.

Chicago Award-winner Taste of 75th (U.S.) is a celebration of famous eats on Chicago’s South Side featuring Brown Sugar Bakery, Original Soul Vegetarian, and Mabe’s Deli.

After an unfair evaluation of a classmate’s film, two students decide to get even with the principal in the absurdist Comedy Award-winner Judgment (Iran).

Experimental Award-winner TOWERFALL (U.S.) is a work of horror-tinged docufiction that presents footage and audio from the 1968 Yanaguana Tower of Americas tragedy to tell an alternate history of San Antonio.

Courageous and hopeful, the documentary essay and International Award-winner Lullaby (Canada) explores coming of age and the power of the unconscious.

Faced with financial challenges, a single mother takes her young son to the moon using the magic of storytelling in Audience Award-winner A Trip to the Moon (U.S.).

The River (U.S.) is an impassioned, poetic expression of a community’s response to the loss of a young girl that addresses sexual violence, grief, and trauma.

In Drama Award-winner As You Are (US), an interabled couple’s first night together leads them to confront complex relationships with desire, bodily autonomy, and what it means to truly love another person.

Screenings & Events


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Close-up of two older women holding up a long lit lighter.

Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó [short film]

  Sean Wang

  United States     17 minutes


Sean Wang visits his maternal and paternal grandmothers who live as roommates during the pandemic. The resulting, roving portrait of Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó’s lives together and their shared love for him is hilarious, moving, and full of the hard-won wisdom of later years.

This film screens as part of the Shorts 4: Documentary – In Motion program.

 Mandarin with subtitles 

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A bearded man seated before a desk holds up his fist to show a tattoo on his forearm.

Terrestrial Verses

  Ali Asgari, Alireza Khatami

  Iran     77 minutes


A series of incisive, often darkly comic vignettes, Terrestrial Verses offers a glimpse into the lives of average Iranians as they grapple with the social, cultural, and religious bureaucracies imposed upon them by their government. A static camera chronicles an array of struggles—a woman searching for her lost dog, a filmmaker clashing with national censorship, a parent attempting to name his newborn son David, and many others—as the film ponders the absurd, draconian structures that subtly dictate life in Iran. The accumulation of these striking short fictions paints a powerfully human picture of a population fed up with the constraining politics of everyday life.

 Persian with subtitles 

Screenings & Events


Film Credits

  •   Ali Asgari, Milad Khosravi
  •   Alireza Khatami, Ali Asgari
  •   Ehsan Vaseghi
  •   Adib Sobhani
  •   Majid Salehi, Gouhar Kheir Andish, Sadaf Asgari
  •   Masoud Fayaz Zadeh
  •   Taat Films Iran, Seven Springs Pictures Iran, Cynefilms