Young Iranian Filmmaker Has Bright Prospects, but Not Back Home

Washington — At age 22, Iranian filmmaker Farbod Khoshtinat has encouraging options for where he will work and what he will do.

“I have the connections, both in Europe and Australia, so I’m not worried about that,” he said.

The one thing he says he cannot do is return home to make movies in Iran.

Khoshtinat was in Washington to accept his prize as one of six winners of the State Department’s Democracy Video Challenge. He received his award from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a September 10 ceremony at the State Department. The trip also includes stops in New York and Los Angeles, with opportunities to make still more contacts in the international film industry. Khoshtinat has a few months left in film school in Malaysia, where he went to study, he said, after Iranian authorities prohibited him from pursuing his career at home.

His career is promising: In addition to his award-winning video, he has worked for directors outside of Iran. He honed his skills in Tehran’s underground art scene, where he played in a rock band and shot music videos under the name “Fred.” He founded Persian’s Underground Cinematic Arts and edited the videos for No One Knows About Persian Cats, a feature film about Tehran’s underground music scene by Bahman Ghobadi.

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