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Winds of Asia "Dog Sweat" Interview with Hossein Keshavarz (Director) & Maryam Azadi (Co-writer/Producer)(10/24)

Winds of Asia "Dog Sweat"  Interview with Hossein Keshavarz (Director) & Maryam Azadi (Co-writer/Producer)(10/24)

Excerpts from Dog Sweat Interview with Hossein Keshavarz (Director) & Maryam Azadi (Co-writer/Producer)

New era has been infused into the world of Iranian films that had already established vivid lyrical images through the works of internationally famous directors such as Abbas Kiarostami and Majid Majidi. The infuser is the director Hossein Keshavarz, 32 years old genius. His first feature-length film “Dog Sweat,” in which he co-wrote the script, produced and edited, was presented at the Winds of Asia-Middle East section.
This is an ambitious work that realistically portrays the lives of 6 young men and women that suffer various emotional conflicts. In the interview, he talks about his expectation toward the film world of his homeland, his vision for the future as well as his thoughts for this memorial work.
©2010 TIFF

---Keshavarz knew that the Iranian films somehow have a fixed image, and one of the motivations for making this film was to get rid of this stereotype.

Iranian films have negative images which associate with deserts and religious connotation. But in fact there is a wide range of people living in Iran, and most of them live in the cities. Two thirds of the population is under 30 years old, so the country is full of energy. I wanted to show and describe this reality in the film.

---He has cooperated with Azadi, the co-writer and producer of Dog Sweat, in order to embody his idea.

Through fighting (laugh). There were numerous episodes that we wanted to write, and so it was hard to make a short list. I focused on talking about young people and wrote up the first draft in about 7 days. Then we had a long discussion about various points and developed the plots spending 6, 7months or more.

--- Dog Sweat deals with the reality in Iran, and includes criticism for Islam fundamentalism. There must be a considerable restriction in shooting underground.

Though I can't talk about how I filmed it, we shot when we could, and took a lot and edited many pieces. So, most of the budget was used for post-production. Before filming, I had black beard, but now it went gray. You can imagine how difficult the shooting was.

---They were rewarded for their efforts as the film succeeded to depict the six characters' frustrations with reality. Furthermore, it is impressive that the film doesn't combine all characters in the end, which is typical for ensemble drama.

Dog Sweat literally means a best homemade alcohol. All people in the story go after what they want, even if it doesn’t officially exist. So each episode is based on a common desire, but we didn't want to say that everything was related.

---Keshavarz and Azadi, sharing the same goal, overcame numerous hurdles and got married last year.

There is an old Iranian saying, "if you want to know someone, you should travel together," but I think "you should make a film together."

--Your feature debut film was Asian-premiered here in Tokyo.

I am really honored. I have been interested in Japanese culture, especially Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story" is my favorite. It's great opportunity to visit and learn more about Japan. I feel there are some similarities between Iran and Japan, in terms of traditional way of thinking, like family bonds and respect for elders.

--While living in the U.S., he pays great respect for Iranian senior filmmakers including Kiarostami and Majidi, and aspires to produce films in his homeland Iran.

Of course, they are fantastic filmmakers, but today, a lot of young directors, including myself, make films about the characters that they can empathize and understand. I would like to encourage this trend. Iran has such a great energy, and I have so many things I want to depict there.
©2010 TIFF

The day may come when Keshavarz will be the producer of a film directed by Azadi. Supporting each other for the same purpose. Hopefully with the participation for the TIFF, they will make the next leap forward.

(Interviewed by Gen Suzuki)


©Deluxe Art Films
Film Information

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