Anthem Persian Film Festival Schedule

Saturday March 2, Chapman University's Folino Theater, Marion Knott Studios, 283 North Cypress Street,Orange, CA and Sunday March 3, the Frida Cinema, 305 E 4th St, Santa Ana, CA

The Anthem Film Festival has been called “one of the centers of film innovation… running counter to film industry practice.” At Anthem, we’re proud of being counter-cultural when it means being in favor of individuality, choice, accountability, and self-reliance. We are now accepting submissions for 2024. Click on the button at the bottom of this page to submit your film, and join us for the Anthem Film Festival at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, July 10-13, 2024.

We are also happy to announce Anthem’s first annual Persian Film Festival, where we will showcase short and feature-length narratives sent to us by courageous, liberty-oriented filmmakers in and outside of Iran. Join us for the Anthem Persian Film Festival and Gala Reception at Chapman University’s Folino Theater Saturday, March 2, 2024 and the independent Frida Cinema in nearby Santa Ana Sunday March 3.

We’ll see you at the movies–in both venues!

Saturday 4:00pm

Director: Jo Ann Skousen Length: 90 minutes

Director: Jo Ann Skousen

Length: 90 minutes

Gala Cocktail Reception

Meet the filmmakers and our celebrity guests! The gala reception includes hot and cold hors d'ouevres, wine, champagne, music, keynote speakers, and more. Sandhu D conference center ballroom on the Chapman University campus. Then hop over to the Folino Theater inside the Marion Knott Studios for the film festival! Purchase tickets here.

Saturday 6:00pm

Director: Omid Iranikhah Length: 25 minutes

Director: Omid Iranikhah

Length: 25 minutes

COFFEE WITH BABA

Amin (Omid Iranikhah) and his father Hossein (Shary Nassimi) don't talk much anymore. Aside from the occasional phone call and brief get-together here and there, they aren't as close as they would like to be. The COVID pandemic, now on its third year, has only added to that distance. One day, Hossein gets into a mild car accident and must take his car to the repair shop. He has a few hours to kill, so he calls his son and asks if he wants to grab breakfast. Amin agrees. It begins with small talk and awkward silences. Then, the more the two men open up to each other, the more their differing worldviews drive a wedge between them. Will Amin and Hossein ever come to terms? Our 28-minute film follows their conversation in a coffee shop (think "My Dinner with Andre" with a Persian flavor).

Saturday 6:40pm

Director: Nicholas Mihm Length: 28 minutes

Director: Nicholas Mihm

Length: 28 minutes

BUBJAN

'Bubjan' chronicles the journey of Parwiz Zafari, a former member of the Iranian parliament who dedicated his life to cultivating a progressive, modern, and free society in Iran - before the rise of the Islamic Republic eclipsed those aspirations in 1979, and forced him to leave behind everything he knew. Told from the perspectives of Parwiz and his eldest son, Abarmard Maziar; the film delves into the mythology behind the principles Parwiz learned as a boy. Principles that guided him as a young idealistic man in government, and that continue to guide him as a displaced elder living among the Iranian diaspora.

Saturday 7:15pm

Director: Rayan Farzad Length: 22 minutes

Director: Rayan Farzad

Length: 22 minutes

HIDDEN

Parham, a young Iranian boy, feels undermined by his younger step-brother's presence. After a mental and physical confrontation while playing at the beach, the step-brother becomes sick and dies. Unsure of his role in this unfortunate event, Parham feels guilty and has to confront his inner emotions. Beautifully filmed by the late Halyna Hutchins.

Saturday 8:00pm

Director: Malihe Ghloamzadeh Length: 18 minutes

Director: Malihe Ghloamzadeh

Length: 18 minutes

TANGLE

What is the cost of emigration? What are the entanglements left behind? Can we ever unravel the sense of connection and yearning for a past that no longer exists? Animated.

Saturday 8:10pm

Director: Maryam Keshevarz Length: 147 minutes

Director: Maryam Keshevarz

Length: 147 minutes

THE PERSIAN VERSION

When a large Iranian-American family gathers, a family secret is uncovered that catapults the estranged mother and daughter into an exploration of the past, and to discover they are more alike than they know.

Sunday 12:00am

Director: Omid Moallem Length: 14 minutes

Director: Omid Moallem

Length: 14 minutes

A FEW STEPS FURTHER

Two men stand on opposite sides of the border. One is a writer. The other is a border guard admires his works. The border makes them enemies. What will happen if one of them takes a few steps further?

Sunday 11:35am

Director: Mohammad Towrivarian Length: 15 minutes

Director: Mohammad Towrivarian

Length: 15 minutes

PARVAZ MAHIHA

When the new teacher in the village sees that the only girl in his class has cigarette burns on her hand, he tries to offer his help.

Sunday 12:00pm

Director: Mahyar Mandegar Length: 20 minutes

Director: Mahyar Mandegar

Length: 20 minutes

WHITE WINGED HORSE

A man returns to his Iranian war-torn hometown, searching for his childhood sweetheart who had promised him eternal love – if he were to return as a white-winged horse.

Sunday 12:00pm

Director: Jo Ann Skousen, Michael Moses, Farbod Ardebili, Cyrus Saidi Length: 20 minutes

Director: Jo Ann Skousen, Michael Moses, Farbod Ardebili, Cyrus Saidi

Length: 20 minutes

PANEL: Magical Realism and the Power of Persian Filmmaking

What makes Persian films so special? There’s an element of magical realism in many Persian films, along with vivid cinematography, strong storytelling, and mythical allusion. The stories unfold slowly with a subtle tension that rises to a moment of unexpected resolution. This panel will tell you what to watch for in our short narratives.

Sunday 12:45pm

Director: Ali Pakniaa Length: 24 minutes

Director: Ali Pakniaa

Length: 24 minutes

TOOTH OF A TREE

While driving to a vacation garden with his wife, a man accidentally knocks over a cart of pomegranates. He offers to pay for the ruined fruit, but the price is far more than they can ever repay. This eerie, elegant story is full of mythical allusion and a rising sense of terror.

Sunday 1:15pm

Director: Farbod Ardebili Length: 18 minutes

Director: Farbod Ardebili

Length: 18 minutes

FORBIDDEN TO SEE US SCREAM IN TEHRAN

The front woman for an Iranian death metal band risks everything as she plots to call the cops on her own underground concert in the hopes that the raid will help her secure her asylum in another country.

Sunday 1:45pm

Director: Alireza Kazemipour Length: 14 minutes

Director: Alireza Kazemipour

Length: 14 minutes

SPLIT ENDS

A bald girl  and a young boy with long hair whose car has been confiscated because he is not wearing a hijab are trying to solve their problem with the Tehran Morality Police without having to pay a fine. Police surveillance cameras have mistaken the boy for a woman because of his long hair, and the young girl, despite her shaved head, has to pay the fine simply because she’s a woman and the hijab law only applies to females. The two of them are hence resisting the police. Being humiliated by a police officer, they decide to punish the officer in their own way.

Sunday 2:15pm

Director: Farbod Ardebili, Cyrus Saidi, Trevor Klein Length: 20 minutes

Director: Farbod Ardebili, Cyrus Saidi, Trevor Klein

Length: 20 minutes

PANEL: THE TRAGIC ABSURDITY OF WAR

Sunday 2:30pm

Director: Farnoosh Abedi Length: 9 minutes

Director: Farnoosh Abedi

Length: 9 minutes

THE SPRAYER

In the land occupied by the sprayers army, no one has the right to grow any kind of plants, either in public or private. So many of the people and soldiers do not know how a plant grows or even what one looks like, until one day one of the soldiers finds a seed buried deep down in the dust. His curiosity is just the beginning of something extraordinary, something big, something revolutionary. (Watch for the homage to Ray Bradbury.) Animated.

Sunday 2:45pm

Director: Karim Mohammad Amini Length: 12 minutes

Director: Karim Mohammad Amini

Length: 12 minutes

BLOOD SNOW

In his last days before his transfer away from patrolling the border, a young soldier is forced to make a decision he instantly regrets.

Sunday 2:45pm

Director: Farbod Ardebili, Mandana Boscotti, Cyrus Saidi, Rob Hustle, Michael Moses (mod) Length: 20 minutes

Director: Farbod Ardebili, Mandana Boscotti, Cyrus Saidi, Rob Hustle, Michael Moses (mod)

Length: 20 minutes

PANEL The Power of Art as a Tool of Resistance

Art has the power to touch our hearts, affect our emotions, and change our minds. Music, film, and painting have long been a tool of persuasion and resistance. Our panelists will discuss how this tool is used in the films in this festival.

Sunday 3:20pm

Director: Shabnam Gholikhani Length: 15 minutes

Director: Shabnam Gholikhani

Length: 15 minutes

PAPER DOLL

Raha is a young girl who is eager to learn the mythical dance called "Sama" after she sees a dance session in a neighbour's studio. Her father opposes her interest as a result of rumors about the dance instructor in the neighborhood. An incident that happens in the street causes everyone to think differently about the neighbor.

Sunday 3:40pm

Director: Sousan Salamat Length: 3 minutes

Director: Sousan Salamat

Length: 3 minutes

ONE NICE DAY

A teacher has a new backpack to give to one student. To be fair, he asks the children to write their names on a piece of paper, and he draws one to pick the winner. What happens next will warm your heart.