The late 60s saw globetrotting film-maker Tony Williams chronicles an east meets west festival held in the Iranian city of Shiraz. The film caught the attention of the director James Ivory (later of Merchant Ivory fame).
The late60s saw globetrotting film-maker Tony Williams soaking up cinematic experiencesin LA, London and France, plus shooting and editing two films for Iraniandirector Mahmoud Khosrowshahi. In the second film, Williams chronicles an eastmeets west festival held in the Iranian city of Shiraz. Williams proves aperfect collaborator; his love affair with music and montage helps lend paceand life to a film whose sonic interests range across cultures, from Iranianlutes and Indian oboes to Cathy Berberian, who is busy turning comic-stripsinto song.
On Making « Sound the Trumpets Beat the Drums » byDirector Producer Tony Williams
My Iranian Mahmoud Khosrowshahi (or ‘K’ for short) approached the BBC tomake a film with me in Iran. The Shah had designed a music festival to bringeast and west together. The BBC supplied a sound recordist, I would shoot andedit the film. My wife Lynn acted as my clapper loader.
The four of us travelled to Tehran where we were welcomed by K’s wealthyfamily with a sumptuous dinner party including many embassy representatives. Westayed with the head of television and travelled to the palace to interview thebeautiful Empress Farah.
A few years later, the Shah and Empress Farah were forced to flee Iran, andwe believe that the head of television was executed by firing squad by theAyatollah’s regime. Back in London while editing the film, a young James Ivory(later of Merchant Ivory fame) heard me transferring Bismillah Khan’s music andcame into the cutting room to ask if he could possibly have a copy. I was happyto oblige.
In 2005, we made contact with Empress Farah – now living in New York – and sent her a copy of the film, which she was delighted to receive.