Bahar, an 8-year-old Iranian girl, believes she has caused the death of her grandmother. As she deals with her feelings of guilt, her parents decide to steal grandmother’s body. As Baha’is living in Shi’a Iran, the family risks everything when they spirit the body away in the middle of the night so that they may perform their prohibited religious rituals.
In Iran of 1980s, all but one religion is condemned and this family of religious minority struggle to survive in the new circumstances.
Writer, Director: Maaman Rezaee
Maaman Rezaee is a US-based Iranian filmmaker whose work focuses on issues of exile, geopolitics and transcultural dynamics.
She has written and directed a number of films which have been screened locally and internationally, including Family of Too Many (2018) which received the Award of Merit for narrative shorts at University Film and Video Association and Best Foreign Film at Philadelphia Independent Film Festival.
Born and raised in Iran, Rezaee began her creative practice with studies in music and painting. She later attended Baha’i Institute of Higher Education, an underground university for Baha'is, a religIous minority in Iran not allowed in state universities. At BIHE she studied Architecture before moving to the US to finish her BA in Fine Arts at University at Albany, concentrating on photography and video arts.
She received her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and is currently an Assistant Professor at University of New Mexico.
Director of Photography: Jen Schneider
Jen Schneider is a NY/Philadelphia based cinematographer of narrative and documentary shorts, features, pilots and episodics. She is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild, as well as Cinematographers XX and International Collective of Female Cinematographers. Her documentary work on Ben Kalina's Shored Up screened at Sundance 2014, where it won the Hilton Lightstay Sustainability award, as well as Doxa, San Francisco Green Festival, and on DirectTV and PBS. She photographed Marc D'Agostino's post-apocalyptic episodic series, The Source, which won “Best in Fest” and “Best Drama” at the 2013 LATV and NYTV & Film festivals, respectively. Jen is currently in production on Pinky, a Refinery 29/Sundance Shatterbox Anthology project directed by Roja Gashtili and Julia Lerman (Rita Mahtoubian Is Not A Terrorist); Unbound, an AFI/Directing Workshop for Women project directed by Maggie Mahrt; and a long-form documentary following a women's prison that activists, formerly incarcerated women, and Manhattan architects are transforming into a sanctuary for women and girls called The Women's Building. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son.
Producer: Lisa Jiang
Lisa Jiang is an independent filmmaker and artist based in the East Coast, with a degree in Film & Media Arts, and Psychology from Temple University. She completed her senior thesis, “Lie” in 2013, which won the Derek Freese Film Foundation Award for Best Script, and has been screened at various venues/festivals around the U.S. and Italy. She has experience producing both documentary and narrative films.
With several films headed to the festival circuit, she’s most recently produced commercials for Welch’s Fruit Snacks and Colorforms, and served as the Unit Production Manager on the feature film, “Hometown Hero,” staring Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) and Jordan Tisdale. In the past, she’s worked with Tribeca Film, in NY, as well as Academy Award nominee, Oren Jacoby at Storyville Films. Currently, she is the Head of Marketing at Resolution Rentals, and works as a producer with Four Oak Films, an independent film production company based in Philadelphia.
Composer: Sahba Aminikia
Born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, Aminikia studied music composition in Russia at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory under Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko, a post-graduate student of Dimitri Shostakovich..
He received his Bachelor of Music and his Master of Music with honors from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under Dan Becker, David Garner and David Conte where he was the proud recipient of Phyllis Wattis Foundation scholarship. He has also received lessons from Conrad Susa, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano, Oswaldo Golijov and John Adams. He is the recipient of many various commissions from theatre troops to contemporary classical ensembles, film scores, Persian traditional music groups to jazz bands including Kronos Quartet, Symphony Parnassus, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Mobius Trio, Delphi Trio and Living Earth Show.
His “Tar o Pood” (Warp and Weft) commissioned by Nasrin Marzban for Kronos Quartet was the second place recipient of the American Prize 2015 in composition, professional chamber music category. His most recent project was a piece originally written for Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Kronos Quartet, titled "Sound, Only Sound Remains" which involves pre-recorded media obtained from Iranian female singers residing in Tehran whose voice have never been heard before due to religious restrictions. "Sound, Only Sound Remains" is described by the Wall Street journal: "..an ingenious and arresting concoction of live and recorded music …". Aminikia was recently named the artist-in-residence at Kronos Festival 2017 at SFJAZZ center, through which ten of his old and new works were featured.
Kambiz Hosseini as Parviz, Bahar's father.
Kambiz Hosseini is an Iranian satirist, actor, TV and Radio host based in New York. He was born in Rasht, Iran in 1975 and moved to US in 2000. Hosseini was the host of popular Radio show called " Islamic revolution blossoms" when he was 10 years old. Since then he wrote and directed many stage plays, radio and TV shows. Kambiz was the writer and host of satirical show in Voice of America called: Parazit. He studied dramatic literature and acting both in Iran and US.
Mary Apick as Marzieh, Bahar's great aunt
Mary began her acting career as a child star in Iran in countless television shows, feature films and plays. She was the first actress in the Iranian Motion Picture history to win the Moscow International Film Festival Best Actress Award for her performance in Dead End, written and directed by Parviz Sayyad.
The Iranian revolution forced Mary to flee the country and find her new home in the United States. Here Mary starred in two critically acclaimed films, The Mission and Checkpoint and played featured roles in productions such as the NBC miniseries On Wings of Eagles and produced the MGM release, Mind Games.
Among many awards she recently received the prestigious ARPA International Film Festival Foundation Award for her Humanitarian efforts using the theater to mirror the true voices and the stories of the women of the Middle East. In 2005, she wrote, directed and produced the politically charged Critic's Choice play Beneath The Veil which was presented in many prestigious venues such as Lincoln and Kennedy Center and Geffen playhouse.
This year Mary co-starred with Paul Sorvino and Sally Kirkland in the Motion Picture 'Price for Freedom" as well as with Academy Award nominee Edward James Olmos. in feature film "Monday Nights at Seven" to be released soon. Throughout her adult life, Mary has remained fiercely committed to improving the lives of women and children, especially in the Middle East.
Addison Hidlay as Bahar
Addison Hidlay is an aspiring actress and dancer. She has more than three years of professional acting experience, including background work in “The Night Before”, “Breakable You”, “The Jim Gaffigan Show”, “Law and Order: SVU” and “The Leftovers”. She has also appeared as a background dancer in an anti-bullying campaign music video and has walked the runway for Future Fashionistas of Livingston and Nordstrom Short Hills.
Addison has taken numerous acting classes under David Triacca and Jonellyn Orellana-Stanek. Addison is represented by Maria DeSantis at XIST Talent Management. She is also a competitive dancer, practicing tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics.
Lara Wolf as Parichehr, Bahar's mother
Lara Wolf was born to an Iranian mother and to a Swiss father. She was raised bilingually, growing up in Zurich, where she showed a deep passion for playing the violin, singing jazz and acting in the local theater. The elevated reality on stage has always been her ‘magical safe place’ as she recalls it. Later on she majored in psychology at the University of Zurich and immediately after she moved to NYC, where she got accepted for the 2 year conservatory at the Lee Strasberg Institute for Film and Theatre. Lara lives in NYC, where she is represented by Phoenix Artists.
Victoria Blankenship as Aziz Joon, Bahar's grandmother
Victoria recently played Duke Frederick, Duke Senior, Corin & Sir Oliver Martex in As You Like It for the Folding Chair Classical Theater. Recent roles have also included Mrs. Grose & Henrietta in Turn of the Screw for the Everyday Inferno Theater Company. The 2014 Barcelona Film Festivalhonored her with the El Rey Award for Excellence in Acting in a Supporting Role for the role of Faye in the indie short film “Escape from Garden Grove,” a role she created off-off-Broadway in New York. She has also appeared in productions and staged readings for Red Bull Theater, Penny Jones Puppets and the August Strindberg Repertory Theater. For many years, she worked steadily for Richard Barr-Clinton Wilder-Edward Albee at the Cherry Lane Theater and on Broadway in Albee’s Malcolm and Lyle Kessler’s The Watering Place. Notably, she worked with Al Pacino in Why Is A Crooked Letter; with Rip Torn in Macbeth; and under the direction of Harold Clurman, Michael Kahn, Alan Schneider, Elaine May and Burt Shevelove.
Born in Ohio and growing up in Austin Texas, Victoria began acting as a child and continued through her studies at the University of Texas Drama Department and moving to New York in 1961, where she began working immediately. In New York she studied with Lee Strasberg and Allen Miller and after a hiatus of several decades, currently studies with the Shakespeare Forum and Red Bull Theater. She has three grown children and two young grandchildren.