VIFF 2017 Interview: TEHRAN TABOO director Ali Soozandeh

By Jason Whyte
Posted 10/03/17 03:19:15

"Using rotoscoped characters and a combination of 3D and drawn elements for the backdrop, TEHRAN TABOO is three intersecting stories. The first centers on Pari, a brazen, warmhearted prostitute, who drags her young son Elias along on house-calls and automobile quickies. Pari's drug-addicted husband is in prison, but she can't get the divorce papers signed until she agrees to be the concubine of a corrupt religious court judge who stashes her in a nice flat in an upscale, doorman-tended building. There, Pari meets pregnant Sara, an unhappily married woman trying to devise a way to get out from under the thumb of her oppressive inlaws. Pari's path also crosses with Babak, a struggling musician, whose one night stand with Donya, a professed bride to be, leaves him struggling to find the money to pay for an operation to restore her virginity." Director Ali Soozandeh on TEHRAN TABOO which screens at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Is this your first VIFF experience and will you be in Vancouver to attend your screenings?

Yes! It is my first time in Vancouver, and I'll attend our screenings.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your background, and how you got into the whole filmmaking business.

I was born in Iran and lived there 24 years. After Immigration to Germany I studied media design in Cologne. I was also interested in painting and animation. I made some Short animations during my study. After that I worked on several animated documentaries. Teheran Taboo is my first feature film.

How did your first feature come together for you?

After finishing the script I could find producer who was interested in the project. We made a trailer, so we could fund the film faster. The next step was shooting in green box with a film crew and our cast. After shooting we worked about thirteen months on animation.

While you are working on a movie, what keeps you going? What drives you, creatively?

When I start with a script I look for a answer of my question. Finding answers drives me to go ahead and finish the film.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was to keep the team motivated for over 13 months.

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

Each time when we add an animated sequence into the edit and see how it works!

Where is this movie going to show next? Any ideas of how you would like to distribute the film?

We release in Europe October and November 2017, and in the US in February 2018.

There are many aspiring filmmakers reading us for our articles and reviews for inspiration. If you could offer a nugget of advice to them on how to get their start, what would you say to them?

Never give up and stay tuned.

This is one of the many films screening at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 28th to October 13th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to

Jason Whyte,
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