The House is Black
The House is Black is Sussan Deyhim’s media-film-performance project, inspired by the works of Forough Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s most influential feminist poets and filmmakers of the 20th Century.
This project seeks to shed light on the importance of progressive Iranian contemporary arts through the vision of two of Iran’s most avant-garde female artists, Forough Farrokhzad and Sussan Deyhim.
Deyhim has created a series of non-linear poetic tableaux inspired by the poems of Forough Farrokhzad. The audience travels through a visual, sonic and theatrical journey into the heart of Forough ‘s prophetic vision where her most intimate, soulful and provocative moments leap off the page and onto the stage. Her message is as poetically and politically relevant today for the women of Iran and the world as it was fifty years ago when she died tragically at the age of 32.
An original score composed by Deyhim and Golden Globe-winning composer Richard Horowitz, featuring brilliant special guests, creates a cinematic musical landscape, including influences rooted in Persian and Western contemporary classical music, jazz and electronic music with an elaborate vocal soundscape and intricate sound design component.
Archival images and scenes from Forough’s documentary The House is Black and Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1965 interview with Forough, along with Deyhim’s original film and visual projections, will create the backdrop and provide a window into the life of Iran’s most controversial poet and filmmaker.
The project has been made possible by a generous grant from the prestigious Los Angeles-based Iranian Farhang Foundation (www.farhang.org) a residency at CAP UCLA, a residency fellowship at Robert Rauschenbeg Residency/Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, House is Black LLC and generous supporters of The House is Black Indiegogo project.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
For me, the most inspiring aspect of this project is the opportunity to introduce the great work and sensibility of an Iranian female icon to the international community. Many Iranian intellectuals consider Forough a cultural godmother of modernist literature in Iran, but she died so young (at the age of 32) that I also think of her as our cultural daughter. A rebel with a cause.
Forough spoke with awe-inspiring rawness and maturity. She was an existentialist, feminist provocateur. She was Iran’s Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Maya Deren and Patti Smith all rolled into one. Her work has given me the inspiration to continue my own artistic journey during my 30 years in exile from Iran.
Her poetry is the narrative for this project and through it I am able to express some of my deepest feelings and visions about Iran both metaphorically and literally.
Across the piece’s abstract conceptual landscape, I will lead the audience through each tableau in a series of unique interpretations of the various characters from Forough ’s poems, transporting them on an evocative journey to Iran of the 1950’s and back into the present where we need to embrace the universality and humanity of her message more than ever. The score and the sound design are inspired by the poetic and emotional content of each poem to create a moving song cycle within an ambient atmosphere.
With the enormous pressure currently placed on Iranian artists and intellectuals –especially women—Forough’s fight for freedom of artistic and ideological expression remains the central issue of our time 50 years after her death.
FROM WORDS, NOT SWORDS
BY FARZANEH MILANI
“Two subjects, gender and space, which Forough Farrokhzad addressed half a century ago, continue to be among the most contentious in contemporary Iran today.
Farrokhzad’s words may not have changed the views of those who believed in traditional divisions between the sexes, but they have raised the discussion to a higher plane. Despite having been both maligned and admired during her lifetime, she has come since her death to inspire a large number of women and men who have rejected sex segregation. She has come to stand for a moment in the history of her nation that reflects the tensions and crises as well as the triumphs and joys that she faced as an individual. Farrokhzad’s work was and continues to be a double metaphor. It seldom leaves the Iranian reader impartial, evoking strong attraction or keen aversion, exaggerated hostility or exalted praise. Whereas some consider her a promiscuous woman, dangerous in her advocacy and her choices in life, love, and art, others see her as a cultural hero, a rebel in search of freedom. No matter how she is seen, her fame has grown consistently since, especially since her death. She died at the height of her powers, deprived of the possibility of further evolution both as a woman and as a poet. So we will never know what further heights she may have attained or what depths she might have plumbed. And yet, in spite of her tragic and early death, until Farrokhzad no woman had reached that level of mass appeal reserved for male poets such as Ferdowsi, Hafez, Sa’di, Rumi, Attar, Nezami, and others, who have been revered as producers of a national scripture for centuries. Although her work was banned soon after the 1979 Revolution, she is now the Iranian equivalent of a rock star or guru or cult figure. An icon-bashing woman has ironically become an icon herself.”
Conceived, Produced and Performed by: Sussan Deyhim
Co-Directed by Robert Egan and Sussan Deyhim
Co-Composed by: Richard Horowitz, Sussan Deyhim (and very special guests )
Film and Visual Design and Direction: Sussan Deyhim
Plus excerpts from Forough Farrokhzad’s award-winning Documentary Kheneh Siah Ast (The House is Black).
And excerpts from Nasser Saffarian’s documentary on Farrokhzad’s life The Mirror of the Soul
Literary Advisor: Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
Program Preface: Farzane Milani
Translators: Amin Banani, Ahmad Karimi Hakkak and Farzaneh Milani
Dramaturge: Robert Egan
Lighting Design: Anne Militello
Projection Design: Jason H. Thompson
Assistant Director and Movement Advisor: Madeleine Dahm
Associate Producer: Simon Edery
Cinematography: Jefferson Miller, Snehal Patel and Siamak Nasiri Ziba
Editors: Ashley Monti- Louis Iacoviello and Siamak Nasiri Ziba
Wardrobe Supervisor: Susan Wilder
Associate Projection Designer: Kaitlyn Pietras
Assistant Lighting Design: Rose Malone
Stage Manager: Erika Sellin
Stage Crew: Dorian Ovalle and Max Oken
Projection Technician: Quin Cabalquinto
Audio Engineering and Programming: Andrew Silagy
Live Sound: Flash Feruccio
Farrokhzad was no doubt the godmother of Iranian modern poetry and film and a radical feminist whose horizon truly transcended feminism to reach a universal humanistic outcry, which is relevant to this day both inside and outside of Iran. Her nuanced polyphonic poetry takes us through a shockingly wide spectrum of ideas and visions. She is Iran’s Sylvia Plath.
Forough was born in Tehran to career military officer Colonel Mohammad Bagher Farrokhzad (originally from Tafresh city) and his wife Touran Vaziri-Tabar in 1935. The third of seven children (Amir, Massoud, Mehrdad, Fereydoun, Pooran and Gloria), she attended school until the ninth grade, then was taught painting and sewing at a girl’s school for the manual arts. At age 16 she was married to Parviz Shapour, an acclaimed satirist. Farrokhzad continued her education with classes in painting and sewing and moved with her husband to Ahvaz. A year later, she bore her only child, a son named Kamyar (subject of A Poem for You).
Within two years, in 1954, Farrokhzad and her husband divorced; Parviz won custody of the child. She moved back to Tehran to write poetry and published her first volume, entitled The Captive, in 1955. Farrokhzad, a female divorcée writing controversial poetry with a strong feminine voice, became the focus of much negative attention and open disapproval. In 1958 she spent nine months in Europe. After returning to Iran, in search of a job she met filmmaker and writer Ebrahim Golestan, who reinforced her own inclinations to express herself and live independently. She published two more volumes, The Wall and The Rebellion before traveling to Tabriz to make a film about Iranians affected by leprosy. This 1962 documentary film titled The House is Black won several international awards. During the 12 days of shooting, she became attached to Hossein Mansouri, the child of two lepers. She adopted the boy and brought him to live at her mother’s house. In 1964 she published Another Birth. Her poetry was now mature and sophisticated, and a profound change from previous modern Iranian poetic conventions.
At 4:30PM on February 13, 1967, Farrokhzad died in a car accident at age 32. In order to avoid hitting a school bus, she reportedly swerved her Jeep, which hit a stone wall; she died before reaching the hospital. Her poem, Let us believe in the beginning of the cold season, was published posthumously, and is considered by some to be one of the best-structured modern poems in Persian.
Farrokhzad’s poetry was banned for more than a decade after the Islamic Revolution. A brief literary biography of Forough, Michael Hillmann’s A lonely woman: Forough Farrokhzad and her poetry, was published in 1987. She is also referenced in a chapter of Farzaneh Milani’s work Veils and words: the emerging voices of Iranian women writers (1992). Nasser Saffarian has directed three documentaries on her: The Mirror of the Soul (2000), The Green Cold (2003), and Summit of the Wave (2004). She is the sister of the singer, poet and political activist Fereydoon Farrokhzad. (Forough farrokhzad.org).
Deyhim is an Iranian composer, vocalist, performance artist and activist. She is internationally known for creating a unique sonic and vocal language imbued with a sense of ritual and the unknown. She was part of the national ballet company in Iran from the age of 13 and traveled all across Iran studying with master folk musicians and dancers. In1976 she joined The Bejart Ballet in Europe after receiving a scholarship to attend Bejarts’ performance art school Mudra, where she was trained in many of the great world, dance, music and theater traditions as well as in classical ballet. Her music remains true to the spirit of her ancient heritage while pointing to the future with a very personal and poetic dramatic sensibility.
In 1980, she moved to New York, embarking on a multifaceted career encompassing music, theatre, dance, media and film. She created/starred in groundbreaking media operas at La Mama in the ‘80s including Azax/ Attra and The Ghost of Ibn Sabah.Sussan’s wide-ranging collaborations with leading artists from across the spectrum of contemporary art include Ornette Coleman, Bobby McFerrin, Peter Gabriel, Bill Laswell, Richard Horowitz, Rufus Wainwright, Marius De Vries, Hal Winer, Micky Hart, Branford Marsalis, Jerry Garcia, Will Calhoun, Karsh Kale, Doug Wimbish, Keith LeBlanc, Skip McDonald, Jah Wobble, Talvin Singh, Adrian Sherwood, The Blue Man Group and with prominent female visual artists Shirin Neshat, Sophie Calle and Lita Albuquerque.
Her composition Windfall/Beshno Az Ney was recently used by U2 throughout the U.S. and Europe. “U2s360 tour” in one of the largest-scale rock tours to this day. Sussan has performed with international orchestras such as the Polish Radio Orchestra and the Krakow Philharmonic, and has received commissions as a composer from international ensembles such as Bang On A Can. She has performed her music at Lincoln Center Summer Festival, Carnegie Recital Hall, Albert Hall, The Old Vic, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royce Hall and many other major venues. On Jan 26-27th, 2015 Sussan performed at the Sundance Film Festival 2015 in The Way of the Rain (creative Director: Sibylle Szaggars Redford, collaborators: Will Calhoun, Dave Eggar, Chuck Palmer, Desmond Richardson, Ron Saint Germain, Steve Cohen, Floyd Thomas McBee III) — and special guest appearances by Robert Redford, singer Marc Roberge, and musician Richard On.
Deyhim’s art works and the visual components of The House is Black Media production are presented by The Shulamit Gallery in Venice, Calif. http://shulamitgallery.com
Her solo recordings include:
Madman of God: Divine Love Songs of the Persian Sufi Masters, Shy Angels (with Bill Laswell) for the visionary label Crammed Discs. Her recordings with Richard Horowitz include: Majoun (for Sony Classical), Desert Equations (released on Crammed Discs), A Gift of Love (for Deepak Chopra), with composer and director Heiner Goebbels, Deyhim recorded Shadows (for ECM), based on writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Heiner Mueller. She was also a featured soloist on Hal Willner’s tribute to Kurt Weill, Lost in the Stars in collaboration with Elliott Sharp.
Her label Venus Rising Records has released five new albums of her works on film, multimedia and recent collaborations. Deyhim can be heard on the soundtracks of numerous films including: Argo– music by Alexandre Desplat (Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for best score 2012); The Last Temptation of Christ-music by Peter Gabriel; The Kite Runner– music by Alberto Iglesias; Any Given Sunday– Music by Richard Horowitz, Tobruk Music in collaboration with Richard Horowitz, winner of Czech Lion Award in 2009. The Stoning of Soraya– music by John Debney; Unfaithful– music by Jan Kaczmarek; Sleeper Cell– music by Paul Haslinger (Golden Globe-winning Showtime series); The Rise of the Argonauts– music by Tyler Bates.
Sussan has been a frequent participant at Iranian events and benefits, including a performance at the gathering of the spiritual leaders of the world at the UN General Assembly in 2001; the first Gathering of Female Spiritual Leaders in Geneva at the United Nations; the Royal Hope Gala at Royal Albert Hall, London, with Placido Domingo; The Royal Ballet and many others, for medical aid to Iraqi children. In 2009 she performed in a sold-out concert at the UN General Assembly organized by Pakistan’s biggest rock musician and activist, Salman Ahmad to raise funds for misplaced children in Pakistan with other participants such as Jeff Skol, Bobby Sager, and Gavin Rossdale.
ROBERT EGAN – Co-Director
Robert Egan has been an award-winning producer, director and dramaturge in the American theatre for over 25 years. He has developed and directed hundreds of new plays in the United States and Europe with writers such as Jon Robin Baitz, David Hare, Anthony Minghella, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Charlayne Woodard, Luis Alfaro, Bill Cain and Len Jenkin. He is the Artistic Director/Producer of the acclaimed Ojai Playwrights Conference, which develops new plays that speak to the challenging social, political and moral issues of our day. Prior to Ojai he was the Producing Artistic Director of Los Angeles’ award winning Mark Taper Forum for 20 seasons and was Founding Artistic Director of its internationally acclaimed New Work Festival for 15 seasons for which he produced and developed Angels in America and Kentucky Cycle, both Pulitzer Prize winners.
Robert is also the former Associate Artistic Director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre where he created their new play program, The Other Season. He also created Home Productions in Seattle where he produced and directed award-winning productions of Waiting for Godot, Home and Steambath. Robert is the Founder and President of Rhegan Productions LLC and Eye Street Media which conceives and produces films and live events for major organizations throughout the United States like Homeboy Industries, Global Green USA, Cure Autism Now, LA Team Mentoring and many others. His team created opening events for both the Valley Performing Arts Center and the new LA Cathedral. Directing and producing credits include major productions ranging from world premieres of new plays to Shakespeare at theaters across the country and Europe — in Southern California at the Mark Taper Forum; the Kirk Douglas Theatre; Taper, Too; the Los Angeles Theatre Center; the Actor’s Gang; the Rogue Theatre; South Coast Rep; and the La Jolla Playhouse; in New York at the Public Theatre; Playwrights Horizons; Naked Angels; Under the Radar; Joe’s Pub; and the Hip Hop Theatre Festival; in Seattle at the Seattle Repertory Theatre; A Contemporary Theatre; and the Empty Space; in the Bay Area at the Berkeley Rep; TheatreWorks; and Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium; in Washington DC at the Signature Theatre; and the Kennedy Center; and in England at the Oxford Playhouse and the Oxford University Drama Society. He produced and directed a national Hip-Hop Tour for Norman Lear; and developed and directed a production for the HBO Aspen Comedy Festival.
For television he has directed episodes of Frasier and Stark Raving Mad among others. Robert was educated at Boston College, Oxford University and Stanford University. Robert is an Artistic Director of Watts Media in Seattle for whom he wrote and directed the 100th Anniversary Show for Fluor Industries in Dallas Symphony Hall with Colin Powell, Cirque du Soleil and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra — a live event fed to 14 countries around the world for 60,000 viewers. Egen recently created a live event in Royce Hall to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of UCLA.
RICHARD HOROWITZ – Composer
Award-winning composer Richard Horowitz has collaborated with Sussan Deyhim since 1981.
His major motion-picture composing credits include: The Sheltering Sky (Golden Globe and Los Angeles Film Critic’s Awards – Bernardo Bertolucci director); Any Given Sunday (BMI Music Award – Oliver Stone director, Sundance Audience and Grand Jury Prize winner); Three Seasons (Tony Bui director, Tobruk Czech Golden Lion Music Award with Sussan Deyhim); Lakota Woman (Frank Pierson, director Jane Fonda producer); Intersections (David Marconi, director, Luc Besson producer); Return to Rajapur (starring Lynn Collins, Frank Langella, Justin Theroux, Kajarya Madhureeta Anand director. Winner of the China 2014 Silk Road Festival).
In 2006 he directed and co-produced a documentary film Spiritual India: River of Compassion about the old masters of Indian music for The Annenberg Foundation. CDs, films and media projects include: Majoun (Sony Classical); Desert Equations, City of Leaves and Gift of Love (for Deepak Chopra); Logic of the Birds (a high-tech media opera with Shirin Neshat produced by Lincoln Center, the Walker Art Museum, Art Angle in London and The Ortigia Festival in Siracusa Sicily).
His band with Deyhim has performed internationally since 1984. From 1968 to 1979 Richard lived between Paris and Morocco where he studied Arabic, French, music, eastern philosophy and film. He first met his mentor Paul Bowles in 1974 in Tangier. In 1982 Bowles nominated him for the American Academy of Arts and Letters Goddard Liberson Award. In 1989 Bowles introduced him to Bernardo Bertolucci. He was a member of the Jon Hassell ensemble from 1981 to 1986. He produced Night Spirit Masters for Axiom Records with Bill Laswell and Ritmos del Futuro Maroc/Seville, the music for the Moroccan National Day at Seville Expo 92. In 1997 Richard co-founded and served as artistic director for The Gnaoua (Gnawa) Festival in Essaouira, Morocco. The festival is the Woodstock of Morocco. It still attracts more than 400,000 people and many international performers every year.
AHMAD KARIMI KAKKAK – Literary Advisor and Translator
Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak is professor of Persian language, literature and Cultures at the University of Maryland’s School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He has studied in Iran and the United States, receiving his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University in 1979. Karimi-Hakkakhas authored, edited or translated more than 20 books and nearly 150 research articles. The study of language, literature and culture in their various sociopolitical contexts and along the diachronic dimension has been at the center of his scholarship. He counts Recasting Persian Poetry: Scenarios of Poetic Modernity in Iran (University of Utah Press, 1995), Essays on Nima Yushij: Animating Modernity in Persian Poetry (Brill, 2004) and Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature (Arcade, 2005) as most representative of his contributions to the study of Persian literature. In 2012 his landmark book Recasting Persian Poetry was reissued in paperback form by Oneworld Publications of London. He has also written entries on Iran and Persian literature for many reference works, including The Encyclopedia Britannica, The Encyclopedia Iranica, and The Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. Karimi-Hakkak has won numerous awards and honors, and has served as President of the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) and several other professional academic organizations. He is spending 2014-15 as the Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), after which he plans to retire and devote his time exclusively to research and writing.
ANNE MITITELLO – Lighting designer
Anne Militello is a renowned theatrical designer, founder of Vortex Lighting, Los Angeles and Head of Lighting Programs at Cal Arts. She has collaborated with Deyhim for many years including performances at LaMama, ETC and Carnegie Hall. Her eclectic design history includes work on Broadway, international opera stages and large scale concert tours. She has worked with artists including Sam Shepard, David Lynch, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, among others and is the recipient of many prestigious design awards including the OBIE for Sustained Excellence. Her work has been seen at the Los Angeles Opera, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, Royal Albert Hall, and more. She designed the UCLA 100th Anniversary Gala Celebration projected against Royce Hall in May of 2014. She is also a fine artist and has created a 10-story light sculpture called Light Cycles, which is currently on view at the World Financial Center in New York and was recently named Critics Pick of the Month from Time Out New York.
JASON H. THOMPSON – Projection Designer
Thompson has worked as projection designer on more than 50 Productions around the world. Select credits include The Great Immensity and This Beautiful City for the Civilians; The Broadway musical Baby It’s You!; Venice at the Public Theatre; Remember Me, an international touring show with Parsons Dance Company; Cage Songbooks, a 45-minute selection of Cage Compositions performed at Carnegie Hall, SF Symphony, and New World Symphony in Miami; Crescent City Opera, a new experimental opera directed by Yuval Sharon; Bad Apples, a new musical about Abu Ghraib; and Val Kilmer’s one-man show Citizen Twain. He has designed the video for Stars on Ice for the last six years, and has worked with the Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation for the last two years. He’s received an LA Ovation Award, Jesse Award Nomination, LADCC Nomination, and LA Weekly Theatre Award Nomination for his work. In addition to his professional career, he has taught as an adjunct professor at Cal Arts and UCLA. He is a member of USA Local 829.
MADELE INE DAHM–Assistant Director and Movement Advisor
Madeleine trained under legendary dance pioneer Martha Graham, and enjoyed a 17- year career in international contemporary dance. Performance highlights include: dancing in Royal Galas at The National Theatre, The Royal Sadlers Wells Theatre, and Covent Garden; partnering with Christopher Aponte (American Ballet Theatre), and Nicholas Gunn (Paul Taylor Company); working with Janet Eilber (Martha Graham Dance Company); and collaborating with John Watkiss (Painter – The Royal Academy of Art). Her own critically acclaimed avant-garde dance theatre works and experimental theatre pieces have been presented across Europe, in London, New York, and Los Angeles. Madeleine is the recipient of a ‘City of London Dance Performance Award’ and a ‘Theatre Guild Award’. She has a Post Graduate in Movement Arts and is also a master teacher of Laban Movement and Physical Theatre.
SIMON EDERY – Associate Producer
Simon Edery is a versatile and successful producer-director and voting member at the Directors Guild of America (DGA), The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, (BAFTA) and the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA). Simon Edery has realized over 10 feature films, and multi-screen performances. Simon is presently the co-producer and Artistic Director of a rock opera based on Richard Wagner – The Ring Cycle, with music arranged by Zbynek Mateju, and co-produced by Chinese artist/writer/producer Mian Mian, with a premiere in Shanghai scheduled for late 2016. Simon Edery’s works have appeared in museums and film festivals worldwide.
Grammy-nominated Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Queen Latifah, Steely Dan, Dianne Reeves and even one stint with James Brown, seems to be heard and seen everywhere. He is Music Director for the Thelonious Monk Institute producing the International Jazz Day gala concerts, recently worked on the James Bond Skyfall movies. He was heard in our favorite TV shows growing up, like Cheers, Family Ties and Fame. He continues to work in TV on singing competitions such as Music Director or Lead Arranger for American Idol, The Tonight Show, Duets and an upcoming ABC show Sing Your Face Off. In between shows, he can be found on stage with a wide range of artists from Stanley Clarke, Carly Simon, Sussan Deyhim and Chaka Khan.
John Leftwich was born in Los Angeles and grew up in San Diego playing music, surfing, and writing as a journalist. He started singing in choir and playing clarinet at age 8, and as a teen sang and played guitar and bass in bands. John developed an interest in classical music and jazz in high school, and after studying the double bass in college, he spent many years as bassist with Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Sergio Mendez, Freddie Hubbard, Nancy Wilson, Charles Lloyd, and Hubert Laws. He served as musical director for several years with Rickie Lee Jones, and has recently worked with Lyle Lovett, Blood Sweat and Tears, Dionne Warwick, and Ronnie Laws.
John has played on several hundred recordings and in films such as Mission Impossible 2, As Good as it Gets, The Cooler, It’s Complicated and Despicable Me 2. He has worked as arranger on such films as The Mask and Dreamgirls, and as composer for films Let’s Get Lost, Double Bang and Blood Signed My Name. He currently lives in Studio City with his family and maintains a busy work and tour schedule.
Greg Ellis is a drummer/composer/producer based in Los Angeles. He is known internationally through his work with artists such as Zakir Hussain, KODO, Mickey Hart, Juno Reactor and his own projects Vas and Rhythm Pharm. Ellis can also be heard on more than 75 film scores including Argo, 300, Iron Man and The Matrix Trilogy.
Guitarist Ken Rosser has worked with Smokey Robinson, The Bobby Bradford Mo’tet, Alphonse Mouzon, The Grand Mothers, Prince Diabate, Samite, Nels Cline (Wilco), Kevin Breit, David Torn, David Pritchard, John Stowell, Page Hamilton (Helmet), Mike Einziger (Incubus), Tim Brady, Glenn Branca and John Cage. Ken’s stage, film and television credits include Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage, Lars and the Real Girl, Always Patsy Cline, Firefly and Spamalot.
Mehdi Bagheri is a composer, kamanche and setar player. Mehdi was born in Kermanshahin in 1980, and started his musical endeavors by learning to play the tonbak, under the instruction of Ramin Tafazoli. He then started learning other instruments in order to familiarize himself even further with Iranian music and composing. These included the setar and kamanche. He finally chose kamanche as his main instrument. Mehdi learned to play the kamancheh from Maestro Ardashir Kamkar, and studied drama at the university as well.
Jon Ossman began playing string bass at age 11 in the school band. On his 13th birthday he was given an electric bass, and by 14 Jon was working with local bar bands and playing club dates and casuals with a local salsa band. At age 17 Jon moved to New York City to steep himself in the study of North Indian classical music and the sitar. While keeping with his studies Jon continuned playing bass with various groups when in 1982 He joined Richard Lloyd (Television). Through the years, Jon has gone on to perform and record with a number of exceptional artist and players. Credits include; Chris Botti, Marc Cohn, Paula Cole, John Hall, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Dominic Miller, Sting. Jon lives in Los Angeles and can be seen performing locally with The Michael White Quintet Unit 2, and touring nationally with Marc Cohn this summer and fall.
If Miles Davis, George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix, Fela Kuti and Duke Ellington made a musical child in the Sinai desert, it might sound like MAETAR. Hailing from Israel, brothers Hagai (trumpet/shells/flutes/ram’s horn) & Itai (bass/sound design/percussion) created MAETAR as a way to fuse their love of soul, jazz, classical lyricism and sacred tribal music from around the world, both as an expression of peace/cross cultural collaboration, and booty shaking. They are joined by the renowned drummer/world percussionist, Richard Fultineer and continue to collaborate with stellar musicians the world over.
ANDREW SILAGY: Audio Engineering and Programming.
Andrew Silagy makes music and sound for films and mixed media. In his short time since graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, Silagy has lent his talents to a bevy of Industry leaders in varied creative practices. Managing a rejection and embrace of subjective creative and cultural idioms, he creates work through technological-intensive processes, which can be seen as an obsessive realization practice. Reaching a consensus between 19th-century Romantic sensibilities and postmodern process, he makes work that is deeply visceral and contemplative. His work can be heard in feature films, video games, television, orchestras, multimedia stadium tours, mobile apps, and on the dramatic stage
FLASH FERUCCIO: Recording Engineer, Mixing and Live Sound
Flash Feruccio is an Audio Engineer specializing in studio/mobile recording and live sound. He has recorded more than 200 bands live all over the country for clients such as Scion — a division of the auto manufacturer Toyota, CherryTree Records, Listen For Life and many more. Flash works regularly with acclaimed vocalist and composer Sussan Deyhim as well as Golden Globe-winning composer Richard Horowitz. He has helped many artists, composers and producers including: Misha Segal, Herman Jackson, Marcy Levy, Billie Myers and Steve Ferrone.
During the years of working with live sound Flash has worked with a wide range of genres and artists such as Sly Stone, George Clinton, Bruno Mars, Patti Smith, The English Beat, Jake Shimabukuro, Tjupurru and with more. He has worked with many great comedians such as Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Dana Gould, The Sklar Brothers and Bobcat Goldthwait.
JEFFERSON MILLER: Cinematographer
For over 25 years Jefferson Miller has been an award-winning director and cinematographer. In 2003, the film Twin Towers, with Miller as director of photography, won the Academy Award for best short documentary. From television features to commercials and music videos, his camera and directing skills have been showcased at such venues as Sundance, the Margaret Mead, Aspen and Woodstock film festivals. Miller has also filmed projects for National Geographic, PBS Frontline, American Masters, the BBC, History Channel, Discovery Channel and the Smithsonian. Miller’s camera work has taken him throughout the United States and much of the world, including the Caribbean, the highlands of South America, the jungles of Myanmar and the interiors of China, Korea, Japan and greater Europe.
SNEHAL PATEL: Cinematographer
Snehal Patel is a film and television professional with over two decades of experience creating content and adapting new technology. He grew up in Chicago where he began his career, then moved to Mumbai for a few years, participating in one of the largest entertainment industries in the world. For the last eight years, Snehal has lived and worked in Los Angeles. He is proud to call Hollywood his home and looks forward to telling many more stories.
LOUIS LACOVIELLO: Editor
Louis Lacoviello is an actor and filmmaker currently living in Los Angeles. He attended film school at Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando Florida, where he graduated as Valedictorian and began working as an Avid editor shortly after. In 1995 he produced the music video for Rainfall by A Flock of Seagulls. In 2013 he co-produced the feature film Raze, an official selection at Tribeca Midnight which is being distributed theatrically by IFC Midnight January 2014. He also co produced the feature film Night of the Alien, directed by Vaughn Verdie in 2010. As writer/director, he was a finalist in the YouTube-Fox Searchlight Project Direct Contest with his film Plumbing in 2007. In 2009 his short Talk Is Cheap was an official selection at The L.A. Comedy Shorts Festival, The Chicago Shorts Festival and Just For Laughs in Montreal. His digital comedy shorts have been on Comedy Central, Attack of the Show, Just for Laughs TV and Revverlive, as well as all over the web. His acting credits include several independent films and network television shows, with appearances on NCIS, CSI Miami, ER, Heroes and Hannah Montana. He also starred in the film The Legacy by writer/director Mike Doto, which won Best Comic-Related Film a Comic Con. Louis is thrilled to be working on This House Is Black, editing along side Sussan and Snehal.
ASHLEY MONTI: Editor
Born in Toronto Ashley has edited numerous shorts and documentaries. She is currently being mentored by Oscar-winning editor Gabriella Cristiani. They most recently worked on a sci-fi picture Teleios scheduled for release in 2015. Concurrent with the editing world, Ashley has directed her seventh short The Divide which has won an ARRI Alexa Production grant. The Divide has received special attention as Official Selection to the Chicago International Film Festival and has been invited to screen at the Global Girls and Women’s View Film Festival. The Divide has received many awards most recently a Special Mention Award at the Montreal World Film Festival. Ashley is also a graduate fellow of prestigious film school, the American Film Institute.
SIAMAK NASIRI ZIBA: Videographer and Photographer
He was born in 1978 in Tehran. He discovered the love for the art world at the age of 12. That’s when he started learning the art of photography. He has made 16 short films of which some were selected in various festivals including international Cracow Film Festival in 2004. Twenty-one countries competed for a spot in this festival and his film was the only experimental film that was selected. Also in 2007, his Video Art was shown at the Ellipse Arts Center in Virginia. One of his photographs was chosen in Iran photo biennial (2007). In 2009, his Artworks were presented in the Phantom Gallery, Los Angeles. He has worked with various video artists in numerous projects as an editor, videographer and photographer. He has been part of Sussan Deyhim’s visual team as photographer, editor and visual programmer since 2012.
KAMARAN SOURESRAFIL: 3D Animation
In 1990, he started exploring 3D animation and different 3d software systems (soft image – maya – Cinema 4D) in order to create images and sounds. In 1995, he began working with various music bands. He has been working for 18 years in industrial and electro-metal music as well as image synthesizing.
Archival Historical Research
As a former dancer with Pars National Ballet in Iran and Los Angeles, Morassaa has always had a deep appreciation for performing arts. Born in Sanaa, Yemen and raised in Teheran Iran, her current passion lies in her work in human rights as a researcher at the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, working to promote human rights and democracy in Iran. She holds BA in Public Relations and Communications from Mass Communication Faculty in Iran and resides in the USA with her husband and two children.
Born in the leper ghetto of Mashad in 1956. In 1962 he the young poetess Forough Farrokhzad adopted the boy during the shooting of her first film, The House is Black.
After Farrokhzad’s early death in 1967, Hossein Mansouri grew up in her mother’s house in Tehran. After a few years of studies in London he moved to Germany and studied sociology.
Today he lives in Munich as a writer and translator of poetry. He dedicated a large part of his work to his “new mother” Forough Farrokhzad. In 20018, he unveiled his incredible journey of life in Claus Strigel’s documentary Moon Sun Flower Game: A True Fairytale.
Born in Tehran on July 9, 1975, Saffarian is a graduate of English Literature, writing on cinema since 1991 and has collaborated with a number of film periodicals and newspapers including Film Monthly, Salam, Adineh, Iran, Cinema jahan, Mehr, Cinema-ye no, Donya-ye tasvir Gozaresh-e Film, Zanan, Nowrooz, Vaghayeh Etefaghieh, Hamshahri, Film International and others. Books include The poet who is not like as his poems and The Chants of Sigh.
Films include: The Night Of Loveliness, The Sun Sleeps, Care For Me, Lady!, Her Memory Framed, Freedom In The Fog, A Good Time for Tragedy, Auto Stop, The Song of Sunshine, The House is Dark: The Original Version and Forough Farrokhzad`s Trilogy (The mirror of the soul, Summit of the wave, The Green Cold).
Born in Munich in 1955, Strigel filmed enthusiastically on Super 8 between ages 11 and 18. He studied psychology, pedagogy and communication. In 1976 he co-founded his production company DENKmal-Film. (“think twice-film”). Since then he has made more than 70 documentaries and fiction films for cinema and TV. The main focus of his work centers on social and environmental affairs. Most of his films were shown at international film festivals and gathered prominent awards.
The Farhang Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Residency/Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Bernardo Bertolucci, Shulamit Gallery, Anoushe and Ali Razi, Mark Amin, Farhad Mohit, Ahmad Gramian, Anne Brady, Alan Schwartz, Shulamit Nazarian, Renee Fox, Narges Hamzianpour, Abbas, Afsoon, NazziBeglari, Seifollah Samadian, Eve Ensler and VDay, Laurie Frank, Shari Rezai, Ameeta Nanji, Peter Scarlet, Shirin Neshat, Bita Daryabari, Christian Dominguez, Peter Frank, Firoozeh Khatibi, Leila Jarman, Arash Akhtari, Juliette Menager, Shari Rezai, Homa Sarshar, Manije Mirdamad,,Afsaneh Bassirpour, Soumaya Akaarboune, Peter Rogers, , Nahal Tadjadod, Steve Weisberg , Farhang Farahi, Homa Sarshar,Sohrab Akhavan, Radiohamrah, Andisheh TV, Javanan Magazine, Pars TV, Shida Pegahi , Bethany Barnes, Zack Avshalomov, Margot Brahmi, Parviz Kardan and Kourosh Beigpour.
Sussan Deyhim would like to thank the original team that worked on the preview version of this project including co-producer Simon Edery for being a dedicated part of the project since 2012, Jon Kellam who co-directed the preview version of the piece, choreographer Madeline Dahm and brilliant performers, Sharokh Moshkin Ghalam, Shima Khaki, Maribel Mayorg, Raydel Caceres and Drea Sobke.