Press Conference: Shanin Parhami - Michelle Mason


Shanin Parhami: JABAROOT

Attending the press conference held on Thursday, March 6th at the Olympion RENAULT theatre in the framework of the 5th Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century, were director Shanin Parhami, musician Kiya Tabassian and director Michelle Mason, who spoke about their films The Friendship Village and Jabaroot, respectively.

Michelle Mason’s film The Friendship Village deals with a group of American war veterans who build a village in Vietnam for the children that were born with deficiencies because of the use of the insecticide Agent Orange during the war. The director said: “I worked for the news in Canada, London and Washington. We received awful news on a daily basis. I decided to film this documentary to remind people of the possibility of tolerance and peace. I am, of course, a realist and I’m aware of the vested interests behind the upcoming war in the Middle East but I believe that the United Nations are doing everything they can to stop it”.

As for The Friendship Village, it’s a story about simple people who have nothing in common with these organizations. The film shows us that we can actually work independently from these large consortiums. I believe that the mass media deprives me from all my strengths. If we want to create something, we must take action…”. “I was born in 1968 in post-Vietnam times and many times I had doubts of whether I would be able to shoot a film about Vietnam veterans. People that have seen the film, though, assure me that its historical structure is clearly pronounced”.

Shanin Parhami spoke about his film Jabaroot: “Jabaroot is a term from Islamic mythology which means complete authority and refers to God. The film is the third part of a trilogy with poetic form and contains only images and no narration. I didn’t want any words. I wanted the audience to experience the music and the absence of space and time. The film can take you from Teheran to Montreal without notice”. “Besides music, we also used some poetry; verses from traditional Persian and Turkish poetry”. Kiya Tabassian, who composed the music for Jabaroot said: “The film is a journey. I grew up in Iran and moved to Canada when I was 14. Persian music is like my native language and my attitude towards it is evident in the film”.

In a question of whether the two Iranians longed for their homeland and wanted to return there, they both replied that they prefer Montreal and would feel out of place if they returned to Iran.