Sohrab Shahid Saless
The Experience of Exile

A visionary and truly transnational artist, Shahid Saless remained a solitary figure throughout his life. Still his films have left an indelible mark..
The Square sweeps the Awards
Ruben Östlund’s film The Square – and more specifically a comedy – has taken home most of the awards from the European Film Awards ceremony..
Sophie's Choice • Review
Streep is memorable as Sophie

So perfectly cast and well-imagined that it just takes over and happens to you. It's quite an experience. 'Sophie’s Choice' begins as a young Southerner's odyssey to..
'Vanaja' • Movie Review
A wondrous piece of filmmaking
A Sensitive, Engaging movie from a first-time filmmaker. Rajnesh Domalpalli made this poignant 2006 drama as his thesis film for a master's degree at Columbia University..
Invasion (2017)
How Thirsty are you?

'Invasion' is Shahram Mokri’s third feature after Fish & Cat. Both pics experiment “with nonlinear narrative, thriller elements and point of view,” as Variety critic wrote..
Half Moon | Niwemang
A road movie unlike any other
The Kurds may not yet have a country, but as long as Bahman Ghobadi keeps making movies they have a national cinema. Bahman Ghobadi's Half Moon is a beautiful and..
Emma Thompson demands
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is brought home

Actress Emma Thompson has accused Boris Johnson of doing “sweet FA” for the British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran..
Kedi (2017) • Movie review
As soft and warm as a kitten
Kedi is a cat fancier's dream, but this thoughtful, beautifully filmed look at Istanbul's street feline population offers absorbing viewing for filmgoers of any purr-suasion..
'Young Torless' • Cruelty of Man Is Explored
A great psychological and philosophical treatise on how normal, well-to-do people, can turn themselves into "torturers and sacrificial lambs," as Torless himself states..
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Movie Review
With uniformly great performances throughout the cast and Lanthimos’ stunning eye for detail and composition, this is one of the most unforgettable films..
Until the Birds Return (2017)
My characters are at a turning point in their personal lives, yet they are not and do not want to be actors for change. In the 1990s an unprecedented civil war left 200,000 dead in Algeria, and tens of thousands..
The Divine Order (2017)
A hilarious comedy that hides ill-concealed discomfort
Petra Volpe continues to talk to us about women, and does so by turning the spotlight on a somewhat inglorious episode
Iranian filmmaker Cannot attend stokholm film festival
The acclaimed Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been denied exit from Iran and will not be able to attend the Stockholm International Film Festival..
WINDOW HORSES • A Canadian film about Iranian Poetry
A young Canadian poet with Chinese and Persian parents travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival. Ann Marie Fleming’s..
A Look at “My Brother Khosro”
An intelligent movie dealing with a pain, a pain that without any pessimistic approach is part of a pain of a family, one of whose members has a mental problem..
'This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.' These lines from T.S. Eliot's poem The Hollow Men appear at the beginning of Nevil Shute's novel On the Beach, which left me close to tears..
Al Berto: A Biopic about the life of Portuguese poet
Liberty was there for the taking, but people had not been taught to be free and were not sure exactly what to do with it. Al Berto was ready for Sines, but Sines wasn’t..
Houman Seyyedi talks to CWB
I knew Houman Seyyedi as a very talented actor until I learned about him as a film director and then came the big suprise. After watching the four movies that..
Pouran Drakhshandeh talks about Under the Smoky Roof
Last Thursday, was the opening night of 'Under the Smoky Roof', a social drama directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh at the Fine Arts Theater, Los Angeles..
12 European films awarded At The Warsaw Film Fest
The Polish event’s Grand Prix went to the Chinese feature To Kill a Watermelon. Danish film The Charmer by Milad Alami won Competition 1-2 prize..
The final mysterious days in the life of Vincent van Gogh are the subject of investigation in this formally daring work, seven years in the making, that marries live action performance to..
Never Let Me Go
With Never Let Me Go, Mark Romanek has delivered a graceful adaptation that captures the spirit of the Ishiguro novel -- which will be precisely the problem for some viewers..
Interview • Milad Alami
SAN SEBASTIÁN 2017: Cineuropa chatted to Swedish-Iranian filmmaker Milad Alami, whose feature debut, The Charmer, is currently taking part in New Directors at San Sebastián..
Wild (2014)
Mini-Odyssey of a broken character
'I’m going to walk myself back to the woman my mother thought I was.' Powerfully moving and emotionally..
An Iranian film director
On the country's censorship

How does censorship work in Iran? The FRANCE 24 Observers team is publishing a two-part interview about censorship and Iranian cinema..
Mountain | Monte (2016)
Now, at 70 years old, Amir Naderi is a true international filmmaker. After "Mountain" (made in Italy) he is now ready to come home to US and start all over again. "It is just the beginning,"..
10th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco
Welcome to the 10th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco. This year, the festival presents 40 films from Iran, USA, Italy, France, Canada..
Shirin Neshat • Interview

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat remembers an iconic figure from Arab music on the big screen in Looking for Oum Kulthum, a film in competition in the Giornate degli Autori
VENICE 2017 • Interview
Emre Yeksan's The Gulf

“We live in a period of slow decay, and the smell won’t go away any time soon.” Emre Yeksan’s feature debut, The Gulf, has been premiered in the International..
Video Essay Explores
Orson Welles’ ‘F For Fake’

Most cineastes associate Orson Welles with films like “Touch of Evil” and “Citizen Kane.” But his 1974 oddity, is worth seeking out for those who wish to dig..
7 Things to Know About

Darren Aronofsky's 'Mother' centers on a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence...
Shirin Neshat • VENICE
'Looking for Oum Kulthum'

“story of an Iranian woman filmmaker, living in exile, who dares to make a film about an iconic Arab singer without being Arabic herself,” Neshat said in her first..
VENICE 2017 • Orizzonti
'Oblivion Verses'

Iranian filmmaker Alireza Khatami is presenting his debut feature Oblivion Verses in Orizzonti at Venice, where Cineuropa spoke to him about fantasy..
VENICE 2017 Competition
'Human Flow'

Artist Ai WeiWei is in the Venice competition with this documentary shot in 2015 and 2016, uncovering the growing crisis of displaced people across the..
Asghar Farhadi begins filming 'Everybody Knows'
The two-time Oscar winner is shooting this European co-production in Spain, with a Spanish-speaking cast headlined by Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz..
The Song Of Scorpions
Anup Singh’s ambitious third feature stars Golshifteh Farahani and Irrfan Khan, following an independent woman as she struggles against hardship and treachery to remain true to her own instincts..
Tokyo Sonata :: Movie Review
An adventurous work both disturbing and ultimately moving. Kiyoshi Kurosawa's first domestic drama is music to general audience's ears..
The Homesman (2014)
A genuine art film
"The Homesman," despite the title, is about women. Women are the center of the action, women drive the action forward, women are not only damsels in..
Tender but never sappy, Monsieur Ibrahim brings two people of vastly different age and background together in ways that are touching, and telling..
The Innocents (2016)
'The Innocents’ is a profound meditation on a forgotten moment in history. Lou de Laage shines in Anne Fontaine's provocative historical drama. When Anne Fontaine’s “The Innocents” made its..
VENICE 2017 :: Venice Days
Samira Makhmalbaf named as jury president for Venice Days 2017. The Iranian actress and director will chair the jury made up of 28 young viewers from..
NETWORK (1976)
It's never been more timely
Criticised by some at the time for a certain naivety and lack of subtlety, this remains one of the most devastating condemnations of the media's urge to..
Woody Allen & his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival
The iconic filmmaker and clarinet player Woody Allen joins the international headliners at the Copenhagen Jazz Fest
Death And The Maiden
A thought-provoking piece
"Death and the Maiden" is said to be based on events in Chile, but it could take place in any of the many countries where rule is by force and intimidation..
Gripping from start to finish

This nerve-wracking study of life in Damascus won an Audience Award at Berlinale. Hiam Abbass holds together a household under siege in..
Ali & Nino (2016)
A fascinating story of two young people in love who found themselves between East and West cultures during World War I and Civil War when young democratic Azerbaijan Republic got squashed by..
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Venezia's Hidden Treasure

Based on the true story of Veronica Franco, a well-born Venetian beauty who deliberately chose the life of a courtesan because it seemed a better choice than..
The Polygon People
The Documentary
A First look at the ‘most nuked place on Earth’ where Soviet Union detonated 456 bombs over the course of 40 years. A look at the way locals’ lives were..
‘When God Sleeps’ (2017)
winner of the Golden Heynal

The best music documentary film and hence the winner of the Golden Heynal award at the 57th Krakow Film Festival, by the decision of the Jury under the..
Cannes 2017 • Awards
And the winners are...
Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films..
Retrospective • Dustin Hoffman • The Graduate
Dustin Hoffman turns 80 later this year, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) takes the opportunity to celebrate the work of Dustin Hoffman, on the occasion of..
Mohammad Rasoulof's
Goodbye | Be omide didar
Another superb piece of work produced in Iran. Let's pause for a minute and reflect on just how difficult it is to get these movies made..
A Master's Final Frames
Cannes 2017

Movingly presented at the largest cinema in Cannes, the Iranian auteur Abbas kiarostami's final film may be the most experimental ever shown at the..
Iranian filmmaker wins major prize at Cannes
Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof's bleak drama "A Man of Integrity" won the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes film festival on Saturday..
Kantemir Balagov's 'Closeness' at Cannes
A social realist debut from Kantemir Balagov is an intense film influenced by the Dardenne brothers. For the Un Certain Regard selection at Cannes..
Cannes’ FIPRESCI Prize goes to (Beats Per Minute)
The international critics have crowned Robin Campillo’s film BPM (Beats Per Minute); Closeness and The Nothing Factory also awarded..
The award winners of the Cinéfondation unveiled
Student films from Belgium, Iran and France, awarded at the Cinéfondation. The jury of the Cinéfondation, chaired by Cristian Mungiu, has handed prizes..
The Golden Eye goes to 'Faces, Places' at Cannes
The film by Agnès Varda and JR has won the award for the best documentary screened across the various Cannes selections this year..
'They' (2017)
Movie Review • Cannes 2017

A minor-key portrait of an identity crisis. Jane Campion executive produced Iranian-born director Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature..
Susan Sarandon talks film and politics • Cannes 2017
In the run-up to the screening, Sarandon, who was named an ambassador for the beauty brand last year, sat down with WWD to talk film..
Loveless (2017)
Cannes 2017 • Movie Review

Such a haunting experience that it remains absorbing even when it doesn't go anywhere. Russia has always been a cold and dreary place in the cinema of..
Get Out (2017)
With the ambitious and challenging “Get Out,” Jordan Peele reveals that we may someday consider directing the greatest talent of this fascinating actor and writer..
Karim Moussaoui
Interview • Cannes 2017

Cineuropa met up with Karim Moussaoui to discuss his first film 'Until the Birds Return', presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the 70th Cannes Film..
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' (2016)
Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Endless Poetry' is the most accessible movie he has ever made, and it may also be the best. It's Felliniesque and moving..
The Other Side of Hope
Movie review

Five years after Le Havre, Finland’s deadpan morose-romantic master delivers the second part of a prospective ‘dockyard trilogy’ with this..
Lerd (2017) • Cannes
Interview with M. Rassoulof
Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rassoulof represents Iran at the Un Certain Regard competition section of the 70th Cannes Film Festival with his latest film ..
Arnaud Desplechin talks about 'Ismael’s Ghosts'
CANNES 2017: French director Arnaud Desplechin talks about Ismael’s Ghosts, which was screened out of competition at the opening of the 70th Cannes Film..
Happy End (2017)
Cannes Film Festival
First Clip from Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Features a Very Unhappy Dinner Party. After all, this is the director behind such films as 'The White Ribbon,' 'Amour..
Vanessa Redgrave Sparks
'The Loves of Isadora'

Karel Reisz' biographical portrait of Isadora Duncan stars Vanessa Redgrave as the famed modern dancer, who gained notoriety for her revolutionary..
Wild Tales (2015)
An inventive Argentinian film
Argentina’s “Wild Tales” comes as such an extraordinary surprise. Perhaps the best multi-story feature this reviewer has ever seen..
Noureddin Zarrinkelk
Life Achievement Award

A tribute to legendary Iranian/American animation director, writer and illustrator. Born on April 10, 1937 in Iran, Zarrinkelk founded the first school of Animation..
"The Idea of a Lake"
By Milagros Mumenthaler
Finding inspiration in the true story of a woman whose father disappeared during the civilian-military dictatorship in Argentina..
Tehran Taboo (2017)
First animation in Critics’ Week

In his animated drama, the German-Iranian filmmaker paints a dark picture of the metropolis, a city of prohibitions..
The Day Will Come
London Film Festival 2016
Based on real stories from a boy home called ‘godhavn’, where lots of boys were victims of violent and sexual abuse and medical experiments...
Respiro (2003)
The Critics' Week Grand Prize Winner at Cannes 2002

A cheerful, life-affirming film, strong in its energy, about vivid characters ; using mental illness as an entertainment..
Southside with You (2016)
Barack and Michelle Obama's First Date
A mostly-true account of the first date between Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. A look back on a fateful..
History of the Festival de Cannes

The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis..
Hidden Reserves:
Immortality, but at what price?
Vienna in the near future. An insurance company has created a system in which people do not even have a right to..
Slavoj Zizek's
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

You don't have to share Slavoj Zizek's materialist philosophy to find his analyses of culture and movies witty, insightful..
The Birth of a Nation
Biblical passion and Cheesy emotion
Nate Parker’s heartfelt account of Nat Turner, the slave who led a rebellion in 1830s Virginia, is conventionally paced..
Graduation (2016)
A Study of Grubby Bureaucratic Compromise

Graduation marks yet another well-written and powerfully acted look at morality and societal decay from..
Incendies (2010)
A Powerful, Disturbing film
Adapted from the 2003 play by Wajdi Mouawad, twins Jeanne and Simon leave Canada for the Middle East to fulfill their mother’s final wish..
Spotlight (2015)
The Power Of The Press

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese..
Before the Flood (2016)
An Inconvenient Truth
Here is a heartfelt, decent, educational documentary about the most important issue of our time – climate change – presented by A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio..
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Winner of the Palme d’Or

I, Daniel Blake marks yet another well-told chapter in director Ken Loach's powerfully populist filmography. Returning to filmmaking after saying..
"Razor’s Edge: The Legacy of Iranian Actresses"
A look at the often controversial role of women in Iranian cinema during the secular period from the 1930s to the Islamic Revolution in 1979..
Afghan Film Festival
12-21. April 2017

After much planning and inspirational talk, we can finally unveil a special cultural event on Danish soil: Afghan Film Festival in Copenhagen..
Bahman Ghobadi's
‘Rhino Season’

Produced by Martin Scorsese, this is the first film Ghobadi has made in exile. The work of a great talent marshaling all of his powers as a cinematic storyteller..
Dying for a Song
"Art is education, art is existence, its everything"

A documentary about the musicians being persecuted for raising their voices against political, cultural or religious..
A Simple Plan • Review
A Frozen Setting Frames a Chilling Tale
"You work for the American Dream--you don't steal it." So says a Minnesota family man early in "A Simple Plan," but he is..
Macon Blair’s
'I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore' (2017)

What's delightful about Macon Blair’s movie is how consistently the film challenges our worst assumptions..
Blue Jay (2016)
A trip down memory lane
Meeting by chance when they return to their tiny California hometown, two former high-school sweethearts reflect on their shared past..
Paterson (2016)
'I breathe poetry'

Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet. The film adds another refreshingly unvarnished entry to..
To Walk Invisible (2016)
A serious Brontë biopic
We finally have a biographic film that feels modern, in that it takes into account all we now know about the lives of the Brontë sisters, and throws away old..
Ixcanul (2016)
Life doesn't regenerate without untameable fury

You can sense the director's respect for his subject in the movie's unhurried dramatic rhythms, its grounding in..
A Man Called Ove • Review
Swedish Oscar nominee for Foreign Language Film for Oscars 2017, tells the familiar story of the curmudgeonly old man whose grumpy life is brightened by forces beyond his control..
Oscars 2017
Foreign language Oscar nominees decry 'climate of fanaticism in US'. The six directors in the running for this year’s foreign language Oscar have issued a joint statement blaming..
Berlinale 2017 • Awards
The 2017 Berlinale awards have just been announced. Ildikó Enyedi’s Hungarian drama 'On Body and Soul' won the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday...
Welcome to Online Film Home! The place for all film lovers.
WINDOW HORSES: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming

The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming

By World Cinema Reports' Editors
on 09/30/2017

Window Horses, a Canadian film about Iranian Poetry on US screens.

A young Canadian poet with Chinese and Persian parents travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival.

Intrinsically shaped by multiculturalism, Canadian director Ann Marie Fleming has amassed a body of work grounded in her curiosity to learn about cultures geographically distant from her own, but directly linked through a similar artistic spirit.

Set largely in Iran, Ann Marie Fleming’s debut feature Window Horses—which follows the more than 30 short films she’s made in the last three decades—is a delicately crafted and heartwarming ode to borderless connections between people via creativity, and a love letter to Iranian poetry.

The film had its U.S. premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival back in February, in the midst of the shameful Muslim travel ban, and First Pond Entertainment is releasing it theatrically in Los Angeles today, only five days after the White House announced that it would roll out new discriminatory measures against those traveling to the U.S. from a set of eight countries that includes Iran. In light of these unjust developments, Window Horses’ value as a gorgeous candy-colored piece of magical animation that aims to unite, as well as a subtle and non-political statement for the respect and appreciation of an ancient civilization, has doubled in importance.

This proudly female-centric production follows Rosie Ming, a Canadian girl of Chinese and Persian descent, who is a self-published young poet who has been invited to a poetry festival in Iran. Eager to be among other poets from around and the world, as well as learn about her father and his homeland, Rosie travels to the Middle Eastern nation. Fleming’s recurrent character and avatar, Stickgirl, becomes Rosie Ming in the film. Rosie is voiced by actress Sandra Oh, who serves as Executive Producer, and Academy Award-nominees Ellen Page and Shohreh Aghdashloo also lend their voice-acting skills to Window Horses.

We spoke with Ann Marie Fleming and Sandra Oh about making an animated feature that is engagingly informative, visually whimsical, and highlights a long misjudged culture.

Carlos Aguilar, MovieMaker Magazine (MM): This is your first animated feature. Why this idea in particular? Why Iran, why Persian culture? What attracted you about it?

Ann Marie Fleming (AF): I’m a person who is of mixed race. I was born in Japan, and my parents are Chinese and Australian, and we came as immigrants to Canada, and I’ve always been interested in these stories of diaspora. Over 20 years ago, I was at an artist residency in Germany with people from all over the world, and I was listening to all of their stories, and I was also introduced to the poetry of Rumi. This is where I got the idea of having this cross-cultural, cross-generational story about a father and child, and I wanted it to happen at a poetry festival. But it wasn’t until I returned to Vancouver many years later that I became involved with the Persian diaspora, and listened to their stories. I learned a lot, because I was really ignorant about this, but also I was surprised at how much it resembled other stories I had heard all over the world.

Being half Chinese myself, I recognized that Chinese and Persian culture have so much in common, including a great reverence for poetry, and for poets who wrote a thousand years ago, so much that school children are still learning them and are still relevant in contemporary society. There is a deep respect for poetry, and these poets that are these great code writers who have been adapted and translated all over the world by every generation. That’s why I wanted to set it in Iran, because it used the Islamic Revolution of 1979 as a focal point, of people splitting up in all of these different directions.

It’s not a political film at all, but it encapsulates a whole bunch of different people’s stories, and they’re very different, and have different opinions. It’s animated partially because it happens in Iran, because it would be impossible for me to have made a live-action film. It would be impossible for me to go there, but also it’s a story about point of view and about the imagination, so animation became a perfect conduit for telling that. Also, my avatar of over 30 years, Stickgirl, is in it, and Sandra Oh is her, Rosie Ming.

MM: Sandra, I know you wanted to get involved beyond just voicing the character. Why was that? What was it about the story that spoke to you?

Sandra Oh (SO): Ann Marie sent me the graphic novel of Window Horses in the Fall of 2014. I just sat and read it all in one go. I was so moved by it, for a lot of reasons, but mostly the heartbeat of a story of a daughter separated from her father, and separated for reasons that she doesn’t really know. A whole part of her identity has been stripped away from her because of fear and because of war, and the reuniting of the father and the daughter really spoke to me. Also, poetry is a big part of my life, and I love the fact that we’re exploring both of Rosie’s cultures through poetry, and that really resonated with me as well.

MM: You’re voicing a character that’s been in Ann Marie’s life for 30 years. Did you feel a responsibility to give this character a voice in a special way?

SO: That’s a good question. I’m very familiar with Stickgirl. I’ve seen almost all of her short films, and I know that Stickgirl as a character is Ann Marie’s voice, but it’s also quite clear that the character of Stickgirl was playing the character of Rosie Ming, so it was really about trying to find the voice that was true to the character of Rosie Ming. Knowing Ann Marie as well, and being Canadian, it wasn’t hard to find Rosie’s voice.

MM: Tell me about using Stickgirl, a character that has been with you for so long, in this project. She is essentially an animated actor who takes on different roles depending on what you are creating. There is a simple but personable aesthetic to her.

AF: I have to say that, originally, it just made sense to me, because that was my way into the story, and my way of telling it. It’s been afterwards, retrofitting it, that I see what I did. What I did was I created a person who is always an outsider, always an observer, and so simple and gestural that you really don’t judge her, and you can put yourself in her shoes. You can be Rosie, and you can understand her through this film, and understand what she sees. I’ve had a couple of other people ask me this as I’ve traveled around festivals, and they’ve given me their own answers. Somebody said, it’s because she’s still forming, which I thought was really beautiful, so I like that the question is there. Obviously, it’s stylistically an interesting choice, and I think that, from people I have heard from after they’ve seen the film, you just accept it after all. She is really a more fully drawn character than anybody else who appears, even though she’s the most gestural visually.

MM: What sort of research did you have to do into Iranian culture? What were some influences in terms of the art or animation made there that you came in contact with?

AF: Of course, everybody is familiar with Persepolis. It was one of the reasons it was hard to make this film, because people said, “Oh, there’s already been an animated film made about a young woman in Iran.“ Of course, that’s a beautiful autobiography by Marjane Satrapi, it’s her life, and this is fictional, and it’s about somebody from outside the culture. For research, besides listening and listening to stories from people close to me, I treated it like a documentary. I did that kind of deep research, because I was going into another culture, especially a culture that is as political as Iran in the Diaspora, and a culture as deep. When I say political, I just mean that everything is political about Iran. It’s very hard to show any images that don’t come with some sort of history.

Kevin Langdale served as lead animator on Window Horses.

I had my heart in my throat for most of the time that I was writing it, when I was presenting it, when I was making it, and then finally to show it. Working with so many Iranian artists and musicians, I had lots of consultations with people, with poets, steering me, and guiding me in the way that so many of the characters we meet are guiding Rosie on her journey to try and find her father. Everybody has been really generous, and I think I can say that the people who have seen it have had a very warm response to it, as they should because it’s a very warm gesture to that culture.

MM: What is your role as a director of animation? What does a typical day directing an animated film entail?

AF: It’s like any director. I’m the writer and director and producer, so besides the day-to-day management, which is not always fun, it’s having conversations. I think of animators as really slow actors. We talk about character in the same way, we talk about the scene in the same way, we talk about how things can happen, and even with the poetry and the historical sections, where the animators had much free reign and were able to go off in any style that they chose, we still had these same kinds of conversations that I would have with Sandra.

MM: Sandra, what do you find rewarding or challenging in voice acting for animation?

SO: The challenge is that you use only your voice, but it’s actually a very creative process, of trying to convey character and emotion solely vocally. I really enjoy doing animation a lot. To have an animated character that goes through such a full story as Rosie does, with singing and humor and pathos, it was very rewarding. It’s also very fun to do. You plant your feet, you speak into the mic, but you can wear whatever you want, and you can gesture as big as you want. My facial expressions are probably pretty crazy, but it all serves to focus your voice to just channel through to the mic.

MM: Tell me about your role as an executive producer on the project.

SO: I felt really connected to this story, and I just wanted to help Ann Marie out. At the very beginning, we started off with an IndieGoGo campaign. So it’s been a lot of talking to the press, raising a lot of awareness in social media, so that was one of my primary duties. Also, bringing on a lot of the cast members, including a lot of beautiful Iranian-American talent, and also Canadian talent as well.

A scene from Window Horses

MM: How have members of the Iranian diaspora reacted to the film?

AF: So far, so good. I think that a lot of people come to it with a little bit of, “Oh no, how is our culture being portrayed this time?” Because there’s so many negative portrayals out there. This sounds so cheesy, but it’s mainly smiles and tears, honestly. I’ve had so many Iranians, older and younger, say, “Thank you, thank you for portraying our culture in this way. “ I just did it with a lot of care. Iran is not a background for this story. The culture is so much a part of this story.

MM: The film is coming to the U.S. at an extremely challenging time in its history, especially for those seen as “Other.” The Muslim ban and other alienating policies continue to divide families and jeopardize the well-being of many. What’s the significance of a film like Window Horses being released here at this particular time?

AF: One of the reasons I made it was because I thought it was very valid at the time. Years and years ago, I thought we needed some positive voices. In 2009, when the Iranian elections happened, Canada cut off all diplomatic relations with Iran. I was encouraged to change the location, and rewrite the story to something that was more about Chinese culture, and I really felt more and more that it had to be Iran.

The worse things got, the more I thought, “I have to make this film.” I thought, “I’m just going to put my money behind this,” and I started a crowdfunding campaign. I reached out to Sandra, who’s been so generous and wonderful through this whole project. I had no idea it was going to touch her personally the way it did. Who knew she was a huge poetry fan? Suddenly, Iran is in the news again this year, and the last administration had all those talks about removing sanctions, and people started becoming interested in Iran in a different way, like, “Oh, what about Iran?” I have not been, but everyone who visits has been overwhelmed by that culture and the hospitality. I don’t know anyone who has visited and hasn’t had a magical experience.

Who knew that an executive order would ban people from getting visas? For many years, I’ve been making a project that is being presented in the United States at this point, which I think is the most important time it could have happened. We need a lot of voices. Part of the message behind my film is that we have to listen to the voices of others, and that’s how we can really understand. We can’t learn if we don’t listen.

Window Horses opened onSeptember 29, 2017, at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles. Images courtesy of First Pond Entertainment.

Source: MovieMaker Magazine (MM)

Delicious Delicious

S. Mokhberi - Man Equals Man 


Search Online Film Home:

fa en

Choose an item to go there!


Archived news
OFH Bright version
Iran news

[ Yahoo! ]


Find a birthday!

























































































































































































































































































Home | Film News | Directors Search | Find birthdays! | Persian Weblog | Contact

Copyright 2001 Online Film Home Communications