Between their Nuclear programs and president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disdain for diplomacy, Iran posses a legitimate threat to the rest of the world. Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, Iranian filmmakers are among most prolific and influential in the world today. Their government’s influence over the film industry is unlike any other. In 1978, cinemas were burned to the ground after images of American decadence were shown on screen. The medium itself was outlawed until the Ayatollah Khamenei saw a film he liked, the cinemas were reopened, and the industry grew again.
Today, this revitalized passion for film has Iran making a major impact on the world. The country’s cultural, national, and individual diversity is on view, in celluloid. In this episode, watch Shane Smith travel to Iran for the 3rd Annual Urban Film Festival in Tehran. We take you to film sets and sound stages where we meet Iran’s top directors, actors, and clerics.