We were given the wonderful opportunity to speak with Farbod Ardebili about his film Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran whose film is eligible to be considered for a 2022 Academy Award in the Live Action Short Film category. This beautiful piece of art examines the importance, as well as the suppression, of artistic industries and, in this film, women in these industries. Ardebili graciously gave us a glimpse into his creative process as well as the personal significance that Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran has to him.
Describe Forbidden to See Us Scream in Tehran in one word.
I know that at the end of the film, you dedicate it to your father. Can you talk about that a bit?
One of the main struggles that Shima, our main character, has to deal with is to choose between her dreams and her family. I had the same experience. I struggled with the same choice too, when I was in Iran. But my father made it extremely easy for me. Even though we were extremely close, he pushed me hard to follow my dreams, and he never stopped supporting me. He passed away before he could see the film, but everything that I have done and will ever do belongs to him.
What was the creation process of this film like?
It was a crazy process. I could not go back to my home country, Iran, so early on, we made the decision that I would direct the film through WhatsApp. It wasn’t easy, but thanks to the dedication and courage of my cast and crew, we were able to make this film happen.
You’ve directed a variety of genres. Do you have a favourite? Are there any others that you’d like to dabble in or combine?
Great question. Yes! I always love to combine different genres. And I think Horror and Drama, two of my favorites, can make a fantastic combination.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects?
I’m working on a few things. But one of the projects that we’re working on is a feature version of “Forbidden to See us scream in Tehran.”
Would you ever want to expand on Shima and Sherin’s story? Maybe in a long form version of this film?
Yes. But as you mentioned in a long-form version of the film with the same basic elements but a different story. However, I think this ending fits this short perfectly, and I don’t want to expand this particular short story beyond what it is now.
What do you hope that audiences take from the film?
I believe that whatever they take from this film is valid. But, from a personal point of view, one of the reasons that I decided to make this film was to bring attention to the situation because no problems can be resolved without awareness.
What makes this film important for people to view?
I can’t make that judgment. But I think it’s good for people to understand what real people in other countries look like, especially real people in countries like Iran, who are not often presented in a good light in the media.
How were you able to capture the world of underground metal music in Iran? Do you, yourself, have experience in it?
I had a metal band in Iran for many years, so I had first-hand experience with the underground scene in Tehran. And one of the inspirations for this film was a female singer who joined our band for our second album. She was terrific, and it was such a pity that she was not allowed to show her talent to the rest of the world.