I received your letter concerning the refusal of my film and consequently I decided to respond. I am not really sending you this letter because you did not accept my film, after all it is your decision, which film to accept, or not. I am responding to the reasons you presented in rejection of my film, the fact that you more pay attention to the films with "International Content" or related to "Human Rights".
In Iran, I wrote film articles and I was a film critic in film magazines for three years. The first film that I made in 1996 "Close up Long Shot" was a 45 minutes documentary. This film was shown in most film festivals in the world. It received a prize at the Turin's film festival in Italy, Lisbon Portugal, Berlin Germany and won the Royal prize in France and received many positive reviews in European media and filmmakers such as Bernardo Bertoluchi praised it. The success of this film opened the path for me in Iranian cinema so I could produce one or two films a year. The films that the Islamic Republic of Iran did not have problem with and were shown in International film festivals and in the meantime, I could make a living as well.
However, because of poverty and hunger in my society and the repression of people's freedom by the government, I closed my eyes to the opportunities that I had before me, put my life at risk, and started making subversive films. I left Iran illegally and in 1999, I came to U.S. per invitation of a university in New York that was showing one of my films, the biography of an Iranian poet Ahmad Shamloo. Then I applied for political asylum. It took me several years of adversity, that I was finally able to edit the film "Mohakemeh" (trail). This film was shown in many film festivals in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Canada, Australia and America. In the "Eyes Film Festival" in Russia and Tropica in the United States, it won the prize for best documentary and Michael Moore praised and commended this film. Considering the success of this film, it was not much of financial help in producing or editing other films. The movie "Zanane Tan Foroush" (Prostitutes) and "Jangzadegan" (The Refugees of Iran and Iraq War), I was unable to make a final edit and could only do a primary edit hoping that I could show them providing some financial assistance for me.
Nevertheless, after so much effort, I had no choice but to get jobs at McDonalds mopping the floors or washing dishes in Denny's. I did this so that I would not sell my independence to the ruling system and accomplish what I stand for. Even though I know in today's world films with the social and humanistic content will receive no support and in the profit market and will be pushed to the side until it is forgotten. Today more than any other period, art and cinema, have become moneymaking tools. Cinema serves as McDonalds- more production and more consumerism for the purpose of more profit. Today the role of cinema is to degrade the human's view of the world and life to its most superficial form and humiliate the sense of love and pain and humanistic believes.
The filmmakers no longer make movies based on personal analysis and outlook to life and to the world. Everyone has transformed to the slaves of corporations. Film festivals and artistic/cultural organizations have become tools for profit making and a mean in the hand of ruling class for fooling the people.
Considering all these facts, I had heard that the Sundance Cinema might still consider the films that follow the social and humanistic themes. Because of this reason, I presented to you two of my unfinished films. When I saw your letter then I realized what "World issues" and "human Rights" from your point of view could be.
"World issues"- The most important subject in today's world is only one thing and that is everywhere in this world, people have become the slaves of consumerism and work. The best part of one's life, one shrinks to nothing in order to study, work, and pay the bills each month. Everywhere on this planet, many human beings are hungry and are being plundered and pushed to the edge and very few raid everybody's share and because of this, few people and because of this fact every suffering person's life itself is the subject of a film and serves as a world concern. Unless we consider the world matters as which of the Hollywood super stars is sleeping with whom and what is the color one's underwear.
"Human Rights"- Is not related to millions who are selling their bodies to pay for the expenses of their children's education and providing a living. The women that when lose their beauty, they have no longer any reason to live and with no hope in life they set themselves on fire or commit suicide in another manner.
Human Rights consist only of people who are employed by world commerce and the international money market and are active around the world. I know very well that the destruction of millions of people does not hurt anybody anymore. Accidentally the subject of my next movie is how art and cinema is emptying itself from its offensive and compassionate essence and turns into a pool to pacify the masses of people. It also shows the function of artistic/ cultural and the film festivals in today's world. Along with this letter, I am sending you one of my films so you can see how a group of filmmakers in Iran make their films and do not foul their art to the filth of profit and capital. Thank you for your time.