Iranian Film “Dingomaro – Iran’s Black South” by Kamran Heidari

Since his Internet hit, “Bad Shans” (hard luck), Hamid Saeid has become one of the best-known Iranian musicians with African roots. He’s travelling by motorbike across the province of Hormozgan, which is situated in the South of the country on the Persian Gulf, in order to realize his dream. He wants to organize a concert with the best black musicians in the country.

Besides Persians, Indians, Arabs and Europeans, the province of Hormozgan, Iran’s “black south” has been influenced primarily by the descendants of slaves and merchants from Africa. Although Shiites, they still hold Voodoo ceremonies just as their African ancestors did and wakes in Hormozgan are more reminiscent of scenes from New Orleans, with the mourners dancing in an elated and joyous manner to black rhythms.

Filmmaker Kamran Heidari accompanies Hamid Saeid as he attempts to make his dream come true. He must overcome numerous hurdles along the way: Hormozgan’s landscape, which is as inhospitable as it is breathtaking, traveling from the coast over rugged mountains to the desert, the African spirit rites; and the resistance of his wife, who is completely against his plan.

In an Interview Mr. Heidari talks about the healing tradition of Zar in the south of Iran: “There are wild winds (Dingomaro) coming from Africa and these winds are always in movement. Sometimes these winds take over ones body and then they will stay inside. This is when the Zar ceremony becomes necessary”.

The healers and masters of Zar ceremonies are called Mama Zar or Baba Zar, depending on gender, and by beating the drums and chanting MamaZar or BabaZar will drive these wild winds away. During the filming of the documentary, Kamran Heidari was asked many times to let Mama Zar drive the Dingomaro away from his body but he declined saying that he has made peace with these African wind spirits and has made friends with them. He would like to keep them in his heart.

By incorporating African rhythms into the music that he plays, Saeid succeeds in preserving his heritage that he then shares with others. But, at the same time, cultures are dynamic: by mixing African and Iranian beats, he is recreating traditions and moulding them into a new form of hybrid identity. Holding an ‘African-style’ concert in an area where many have rejected, or forgotten about their roots can be challenging. Heidari, together with Saeid, show us how to value this cultural heritage and give it a meaning through music. It was screened as part of the UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema in May 2014.

Dingomaro – Iran’s Black South (trailer):

Director: Kamran Heidari
Film by: Kamran Heidari, Dariusch Rafiy
DoP: Sajjad Avarand
Camera: Kamran Heidari, Bahman Kiarostami, Hasan Rastin
Editor: Kamran Heidari, Martin Homel
Assistant: Tahereh Alavizadeh
Sound Recording: Mohamad Hossein Kaveh
Sound Mix: Kamyar Behbahani
Photography: Tahereh Alavizadeh
Producer: Dariush Rafi-y, Kambiz Khorram
Documentary / 66 min / Color / HD-Video / 16:9 / 2013 / IRAN

Sources: The Culture Trip | Kamran Heidari’s universal cinema beauty and humanity from Iran, Kamran Heidari Official Site | Films, Autentic | Dingomaro – Iran’s Black South, Blog Africa to Persia

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Kamran Heidari: Iranian film director and photographer

Born in 1977, in Gachsaran, close to the old city of Shiraz, Heidari directs documentaries and films about the lives of the people who come from his region. In 2012, Heidari directed his very first full-length documentary about the life of the eccentric and touching figure of Negahdar Jamali from Shiraz.

In 2013, Heidari directed another documentary, also on the life of an eccentric and touching person with a dream; Hamid Saeed, one of the best-known Iranian musicians with African roots.

One day while I was taking photos in Shiraz’s old neighborhood near the bazaar where century-old houses were falling into ruin I saw some beautiful writing on a wall which said “don’t know”.

I took a picture of the wall. As I was editing the photo and looking again at the writing it made me wonder about the person who wrote it? Did he or she write the words in a good mood or were they in a philosophical state of mind?

Rumi, the great Persian poet and philosopher wrote that “I” is a euphoric state — “What I know, what I know”. This “I” is what I think about when I take photos — it has become my overall concept for the Shiraz Street Photos series.

These old neighbourhoods serve as my photo workshop, the walls are my interior design and I carry my studio on my back. The subjects of these portraits stand in front of walls scrawlled with text — text full of sadness, happiness, pleasure, love, but also full of hope for life.

Apart from text, these walls incorporate other elements such as telephone and electrical cables, heater vents, and cracks, which make this environment even more attractive to me. These people represent the “don’t know” text on the walls. One can view them from an anthropological perspective — the geographic sections of the city of Shiraz become the backdrops for its’ inhabitants. In all of the photos the subjects look somewhat surreal. Kamran Heidari’s on Shiraz Street Photo Series

EXHIBITION
2014: “Good News from Iran”, Pasinger Fabrik, Munich Germany (Isfahan Gate Series and Shiraz Street Photos Series) – Curators: Stefan-Maria Mittendorf and Mojgan Endjavi-Barbé

FILMOGRAPHY
2004: “Dash Akol” (Documentary, 18min)
2006: Mohammad Bahman Beigi (Documentary, 40min)
2006: The Big Red (Short film, 14min)
2007: Comfortably Numb (Feature, 85min)
2008: At the End of Perfect day (Documentary, 50min)
2010: The Dead Sea (Documentary, 30min)
2011: Mola Sadra (Documentary, 30min)
2012: My name is Negahdar Jamali and I make westerns (Documentary, 65min)
2014: Dingomaro – Iran’s Black South (Documentary, 45min)

Sources: The Culture Trip | Kamran Heidari’s universal cinema beauty and humanity from Iran, Endjavi-Barbé Art Projects | Kamran Heidari, Kamran Heidari Official Site

Iranian film “My Name Is Negahdar Jamali And I Make Westerns” by Kamran Heidari

“My name is John Ford and I make westerns” this is how John Ford introduced himself at the American Film Directors’ Association gathering. Negahdar Jamali, an Iranian from Shiraz introduced himself the same way when I first met him without knowing John Ford that well.

“MY NAME IS NEGAHDAR JAMALI AND I MAKE WESTERNS” he introduced himself with self-confidence and without any weakness in his statement; not in the Monument Valley or in the Grand Canyon but in Shiraz and the deserts surrounding the city. He has been making Western films continuously for the past 35 years under hard conditions, and this film is about the struggle with his family, friends and society to make what he likes the most in his life “Western Movies”.

While “My Name is Negahdar…” might begin as an oddity it soon evolves into a moving tribute to a man who will let nothing separate him from his art. “I almost fell into the trap of making a social documentary but then I realised that with this film cinema is the only thing that matters,” said Heidari.

“It is about a man and his love for cinema and for making cinema. His love for cinema is just so pure. He doesn’t want to make money out of them, he just wants to make these films and he puts everything he has into it,” he said. “It’s inspiring and a lot more honest to just tell his story.”

My Name Is Negahdar Jamali And I Make Westerns (trailer):

Director: Kamran Heidari
Cast: Negahdar Jamali
Movie type: Documentary
Photography: Kamran Heidari
Editor: Bahman Kiarostami
Sound recorder: Sasan Kaveh
Sound mix: Kamyar Behbahani, Farshid Zarmehr
Music selection: Ennio Morricone, Hamid Saeed
Production Manager: Tahereh Alavizadeh
Producer: Mehrdad Monavarian
Color, SD-Video, 16:9, 65 min, 2012, IRAN

Sources: Iranian Film Festival in Germany, The Daily Star Lebanon, My name is Negahdar Jamali and I make westerns (Photos), Kamran Heidari Official Site | Films