“I Am Neda”


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FP: Can you give us an example?

Kian Sadighi: Sure. I discovered her love of music, the arts and literature. She was such a romantic at heart. One of her favorite books was Brontes “Wuthering Heights,” so I searched high and low for the Persian cover of that book and included it in the film. The dialogue was elemental and it really helped watching interviews with her family about the conversations they had with Neda during those tumultuous days in Tehran. And they told stories about what kind of a girl she was since her childhood.

There’s one story that stood out for me: since her childhood Neda hated to wear the mandatory headscarf and when she was a young child, at school she campaigned hard not to have to wear it – and she succeeded! Neda had gumption and tenacity since a small age. She hated any kind of injustice and she seemed to be a little stubborn in that she didn’t like to be told what to do. Her mother would recount how Neda had always been a little rebellious. Quite frankly, the more I learned about her, the more I grew to admire her. She really was a force for good. This added a lot of depth to the film.

FP: Please tell us about the cast, and also why you have cast yourself as Neda.

Sadighi: The award-winning famous Iranian actress Mary Apick plays Neda’s mother Hajar Rostami. Mary is famous for being involved with thought provoking films and the famous theater production “Beneath the Veil,” and the up and coming musician Poet Ali, who to my surprise is a very talented actor, he plays Mohammad, Neda’s brother. Vida Irani plays Hoda, and I play Neda.

Having graduated from performing arts school, my first passion has always been acting. When you first set out to research the life of a person, it’s very difficult not to get deeply involved in who they are. You can’t help but get affected. I understood and looked up to her. At the same time on a time line and small budget like this film, it wasn’t realistic to bring another actor on board and to trust them with such a responsibility and with having the same level of understanding of her as I did. Playing somebody like Neda, someone who inspires me, someone who is in my age group, I can identify with her, I admire her on so many levels, and it’s been an honor to be able to play her.

FP: Tell us about the other challenges you faced in making this film.

Kian Sadighi: There were many. As a first time filmmaker, I have a limited budget and I had to wear many hats. I directed it, wrote it, produced it, and also starred in it. I had to find locations, cast the film, get a crew together and I didn’t want this movie just to be about four people in a room, with a camera on a tripod. I really wanted to “up” the production value.

This is also a Persian film with English subtitles, with an American crew and the only people to speak and understand Farsi were the actors. So we not only had to have the script translated into Farsi-English but also into what we call “Penglish” which was Persian with English lettering so that the crew could follow.

In addition, Poet Ali and I only knew first grade Farsi, so with the help of a dialogue coach we spent countless weeks learning the script and a lot of the dialogue for the first time, for authenticity.

One of the biggest challenges of all was that we couldn’t film in Iran. Although a lot of people think we did, which is a great testament to the crew and team who worked on this film, we actually filmed it in Los Angeles. But we couldn’t film something like this in Iran without some kind of retaliation from the government over there. This is not a movie that can happen in a country like Iran, and also the parallels of making this movie and Neda’s story, where here we have this young woman, Neda, standing up for her freedom, and with this film we are demonstrating the lack of that freedom by not being able to film inside Iran.

FP: Your future plans?

ian Sadighi: My goal has been to inspire and educate people with “I Am Neda.” I want this film to reach every corner of the globe, and allow Neda’s voice to live on. I would ultimately like this movie to get into as many festivals as possible to reach as many people as possible. We want the whole world to see this film and eventually I would like to get this film to the 2013 Oscars and when it gets there, then we’ll be satisfied to know that this film will ultimately reach the masses on a wide scale and Neda’s legacy will live on forever.

FP: Any other future projects?

Kian Sadighi: I have another movie in the pipeline. It’s an amazing WWII/Holocaust story that has never really been told. Its confidential right so that’s all I can give away at this stage. But I know audiences will not be disappointed!

FP: Nicole Sadighi, thank you so much for joining Frontpage Interview, and thank you so much for making this film and for being the person that you are — and for shining a light in a world of much darkness.

Our readers should know that “I Am Neda” has won the Remi Special Jury award at WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, and Honorable Mention Award at Los Angeles Movie Awards.

It has been finalist at Cannes American Pavilion for Emerging Filmmakers, USA Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Beverly Hills Film Festival, Free Speech Film Festival, World Music and Independent Film Festival, BeFilm The Underground Film Festival, Arpa International Film Festival and Santa Rosa International Film Festival.

Nicole Kian Sadighi has also been invited to screen “I Am Neda” at the “Neda For A Free Iran” Event Sunday, July 1, 2012, at United University Church Center of the University of Southern California, 817 West 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90089.

3pm & 6pm followed by a Q&A for filmmaker Nicole Kian Sadighi.

Panelists include Writer, Director and Lead Actress Nicole Kian Sadighi, Elahe Amani, Shiva Mahbobi, Shirin Ershadi, Gissou Nia and Homayoun Mobasseri.

Panel Discussion: “Discrimination against Women and Religions in IRI.”

Free admission. We encourage all of our readers who can make it to attend.

And make sure to visit IAmNeda.com.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

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  • SoCalMike

    The State Department fiddled and twirled during the uprising in Iran while Obama figuratively bowed again by referring to “President” Amahdinijad and worked elsewhere to deliver a modern military to the Muslim Brotherhood.
    Our “Best and Brightest” didn’t even bother inserting short wave radios or broadcasts into Iran.
    The academic bimbos at the State Department insist on diplomatically French kissing and kitty licking the people they should be working to contain marginalize or isolate and oppose. At the same time they marginalize isolate and oppose allies and potential allies like the demonstrators in Iran at the time.
    Team Obama has no experience and bad instincts when it comes to foreign policy.
    The bigger problem is the collection of malignant career bureaucrats infesting our State Department. They don’t feel quite right if they aren’t bribing governments like N Korea and Pakistan in exchange for lies. Think of Quisling on steroids.
    Admins come and go but malignant tumors stay until they are removed or eradicated.

  • PAthena

    Why hasn't the government of Iran changed the name back to "Persia," the name for at least 3000 years. The then- Shah of Persia, in 1937, changed the name to "Iran" to show support for Adolf Hitler, who pushed the "Aryan" race. (The Aryas were the largest group in Persia.) (The present regime shows the continuation of Hitler's policies, both with its domestic policies of repression and its attitude to Jews and Israel.)

    • AKabir

      Actually Persia is the name the country was known to the rest of the world. The name Iran (along with its other variants such as Eran) was used continously for around 3000 years even before the Islamic conquest. A good comparison would be like Germany, which is called by its inhabitants as Deutschland, while the rest of the world call it by variants of the former.

      • Daniel

        Actually, The word Iran or "Eran" does not refer to the country itself, but to the people. So it would be incorrect for someone like you to claim that the same name has been used for the country since 3000 years ago, when you weren't even around at that time to verify it. Furthermore there are no written records that refer to the country as "Iran" either.
        And another thing, Reza Shah was known to be an uneducated person, so how would someone like him possess that knowledge?

  • Steve Chavez

    The world has been dealing with Jimmy Carter's Iran for three decades. Their current threats to the whole Middle East could lead to a World War and if they acquire a nuke and use it, it will be a World War fought with nukes. Imagine if Obama had supported the Green Movement as vigorously as he did the Arab Spring, then the world would be a different and more peaceful place.

    Now the world will be dealing with BARACK OBAMA'S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD FOR CENTURIES because they will never lose their power and will only spread it. Look for a United Front against the West and especially Israel. Their use of oil blackmail will bring the West to its knees especially now that Obama has declared his War on Oil, imposed our Gulf moratorium, and his pandering to Putin and Russia, who will aid in the takeover of the Middle East, appeasement to Iran and Syria, and all with the goal of taking out Israel.

    The only way to get the world back on track, especially U.S. dominance instead of Russian and Chinese, is to vote out Obama and every Democrat in Congress. From there we can take out all the Progressives/Liberals/Socialists out of every Government department!

  • Steve Chavez

    he world has been dealing with Jimmy Carter's Iran for three decades. Their current threats to the whole Middle East could lead to a World War and if they acquire a nuke and use it, it will be a World War fought with nukes. Imagine if Obama had supported the Green Movement as vigorously as he did the Arab Spring, then the world would be a different and more peaceful place.

    Now the world will be dealing with BARACK OBAMA'S MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD FOR CENTURIES because they will never lose their power and will only spread it. Look for a United Front against the West and especially Israel. Their use of oil blackmail will bring the West to its knees especially now that Obama has declared his War on Oil, imposed our Gulf moratorium, and his pandering to Putin and Russia, who will aid in the takeover of the Middle East, appeasement to Iran and Syria, and all with the goal of taking out Israel.

    The only way to get the world back on track, especially U.S. dominance instead of Russian and Chinese, is to vote out Obama and every Democrat in Congress. From there we can take out all the Progressives/Liberals/Socialists out of every Government department!

  • Chezwick

    I remember seeing an old photo of Neda shortly after her murder. She was with her boyfriend on a trip to Turkey and she appeared to have a chain with a cross around her neck. Can anyone tell me if she was a convert to Christianity?

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Thank Jimmy Carter for the changes in Iran, the Shah was and ally of America, we had a military
    presence in Tehran and good relations with the Iranian military. Carter helped undermine
    Shah Pahlavi and his government which was wimpy compared to the leadersip of all surrouding
    nations. The death toll the Mullahs racked up was way over a million souls, all of the Shah's
    suporters were executed, warehouses had racks of corpse stacked and racked like cordwood.
    Responsibility goes directly to Carter and his miserable Democratic administration and every
    death in the Iranian holocaust added to the Democrats bloody history of betrayal in the World.
    Iran was modernizing and a good example of social progress that was maligned by Islamist
    propaganda and ruinous Democratic betrayal that contiues today…………….William

    • Daniel

      William, the actions of former Democrat US president jimmy Carter are not surprising in the least. It's a proven fact that the Left and Radical/Orthodox Islam are different sides of the same coin.
      Just to give you an example of the similarities between each ideology, consider the fact that both the Left and Islam have a tendency towards totalitarianism, and they both believe that it will be for the benefit of mankind to be controlled like cattle.
      So before you can deal with Radical/Orthodox Islam in the ME and hope for any genuine democracy in that region, you must deal with the self-righteous and hypocritical Left-wing movement and prevent it from causing any more death and destruction in the name of humanitarianism.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        Isn't it so strange that these same inhuman abominations would call on humanitarianism
        as cover for their actions. Daniel in the past I have stated that Islam and the Left are bound
        together as Islam worships the Moon God and the Left are Lunatics. It may be that no matter
        how it is done in ridding life of both of these obsenities all work against evil lowers their profile……………William

  • Tanstaafl jw

    They will rise up.

  • Steve Chavez

    Imagine if Obama had supported Neda and the Green Movement as vigorously as he did the Arab Spring and how the world would be today without the Mullahs, their nukes, their funding and support of Syria and the terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Instead, the world is still dealing with Jimmy Carter's Iran for decades now and will be dealing with Barack Obama's Arab Spring/Muslim Brotherhood for centuries!

    • Guest

      My thoughts exactly! There were so many reasons to support the Green Movement, and so may reasons to oppose the Arab Spring.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Yes, as an Iranian muslim I guess you would.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Really? Why don't they drive the nuclear scientists to work and we'll see about that.