Burbank, Calif. - Oct. 17, 2013 - KCET, the nation's largest independent public television station, presents a unique five-part documentary series, Bridge to Iran, exploring the rich lives of Iranian citizens and the vibrant Persian culture. With more than half a million Iranians living in Los Angeles, the series fills a knowledge gap by providing Angelenos with an insider's view on modern Iranian society, through documentaries by Iranian directors, living both inside Iran and within the Iranian diaspora. The series begins on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 9 p.m. and will air every Tuesday until Nov. 26.
Bridge to Iran presents memorable characters, confronted with a wide range of obstacles and opportunities as they navigate their lives through a changing social and political landscape. The series is a direct response to the cultural misunderstandings and political tensions that have developed between Iran and the U.S. since the Iranian revolution. It also avoids simplistic categorizations and stereotypes about Iran to provide new insights and understandings of a nation, a people, and culture that most Americans have little knowledge.
Host Parisa Soultani, who adds layers of meaning through personal interviews with each filmmaker, introduces each program in the series. Episode descriptions and airdates are as follows:
Oct. 29 at 9 p.m.
The Queen and I is Nahid Persson Sarvestani's thought-provoking documentary about her friendship with Queen Farah, the wife of the Shah of Iran, demonstrates how even those at most odds -- politically, idealistically -- can find middle ground and understanding.
Nov. 5 at 9 p.m.
Iran: A Cinematograpphic Revolution traces the development of the Iranian film industry, which has always been closely intertwined with the country's tumultuous political history.
Nov. 12 at 9 p.m.
Siah Bazi - The Joymakers offers a look at how folkloric entertainment is challenged by modern political and economic changes in Tehran. Siah Bâzi theater troupes -- similar to Commedia dell'arte -- traditionally performed at weddings and parties led by men and women in full harlequin garb making impromptu skits peppered with subtle commentary on current events and politics. When Tehran's troupe faces the closing of their 400-year-old theater due to changing cultural shifts, the performers face uncertain futures as truck drivers and tea-servers.
Nov. 19 at 9 p.m.
We Are Half of Iran's Population provides an extraordinarily intimate and timely look at the country. Three months before Iran's presidential elections Iranian women's rights activists -- consisting of a vast spectrum of different points of view from religious to secular and ordinary women -- are filmed posing their questions to the 10 candidates and three of them discuss their opinions after watching the film. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, is not willing to take part in the film or to respond.
Nov. 26 at 9 p.m.
Where Do I Belong? plunges into an unusual and seldom-discussed phenomenon transpiring in the Middle East, whereby Afghans -- fleeing poverty, war and destitution -- illegally resettle in Iran and enter nuptial relationships with Persian women. This occurs even despite inter-marital cultural conflicts and a broader Iranian socio-cultural framework not gamely poised to accept interracial romance or marriage.
On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its nearly 50-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. KCET is a service of KCETLink.