January 17, 2013, Washington, D.C. – On Monday, January 14, 2013, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) hosted a screening on Capitol Hill of the documentary “The Iran Job,” the real life story of an American basketball player in Iran. The screening was followed by a discussion with the film’s director and producer, Till Schauder and Sara Nodjoumi.
“The Iran Job” follows American basketball player Kevin Sheppard as he accepts a job to play in Iran. With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Kevin tries to separate sports from politics, only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran. Along the way, he forms an unlikely alliance with three outspoken Iranian women, Hilda, Laleh, and Elaheh. Thanks to these women, his apartment turns into an oasis of free speech, where they discuss everything from politics to religion to gender roles. Kevin begins to see Iran through the eyes of his female friends and learns that many Iranians disagree with their government and yearn for a freer society.
The event, which was made possible through the generous support of Nazie Eftekhari and Asghar Nosrati, was organized by PAAIA specifically for Congressional staff, as well as administration officials and individuals working for non-governmental agencies in Washington D.C. “Not only is the documentary highly entertaining and exceptional in its storytelling, but it also provides a unique and unfiltered perspective of the Iranian people,” explained Morad Ghorban, PAAIA’s Director of Government Affairs & Policy. “For this reason we believe the documentary is very timely and relevant to policymakers.”
During the question and answer session, the husband and wife filmmakers, Nodjoumi and Schauder, expressed their desire to simply portray what the Iranian people are like through the movie. “It takes effort to know what the people are like,” said Nodjoumi. “We lump everything into the Middle East, and we don’t take the time to truly know them.” Schauder also explained how an Iranian official at the United Nations was initially supportive of the project but “suddenly” changed his mind and called it “garbage.” Denied a journalist visa, Schauder, who is a German citizen, went to Iran on a tourist visa and shot the film with a small handheld camera.
Click here to view a photo gallery of the screening and reception on Facebook.