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ABOUT THE FILM
Set in Iran, where dance is forbidden, Desert Dancer is the true story of Afshin Ghaffarian, who risked everything to fight for his dream of becoming a dancer. His story is set against the backdrop of the 2009 protests, when the passion and defiance of a young generation ignited a movement towards greater freedoms.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
RICHARD RAYMOND began his career in film by sneaking past the guards at Pinewood Film Studios when he was 15 years old. He established himself as a regular face there, obtaining work experience on movies such as Neil Jordan's Interview With The Vampire & Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. In 2009, Raymond produced the multi award winning feature Heartless, starring Jim Sturgess. Desert Dancer marks his directorial debut.
NAZANIN BONIADI is rapidly making her mark in both film and television. Beginning in episode two, season three of the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama “Homeland”, she co-stars as CIA analyst Fara Sherazi. Among her many television credits, Ms. Boniadi is probably best known as Nora, a relatively longstanding love interest to Neil Patrick Harris’s Barney Stinson, in seasons six and seven of “How I Met Your Mother." In 2014, she joined the cast of "Scandal" in a recurring role. Boniadi was born in Tehran at the height of the Iranian Revolution, before her parents relocated to London.
NASRIN RAHIMIEH is Maseeh Chair and Director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture and Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Her teaching and research are focused on modern Persian literature, the literature of Iranian exile and diaspora, contemporary Iranian women’s writing, and post-revolutionary cinema. Among her publications are Oriental Responses to the West (Brill 1990), Missing Persians: Discovering Voices in Iranian Cultural History (Syracuse 2001), and Forugh Farrokhzad.
ABOUT THE MODERATOR
MIKE SHUSTER is an award-winning diplomatic correspondent and former roving foreign correspondent for NPR News. Shuster covered issues of nuclear non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and the Pacific Rim. He has traveled frequently to Iran – seven times since 2004 – to report on Iran’s nuclear program and political changes there. He is currently serving as a Burkle Center Fellow.
Part of the UCLA International Human Rights Film Series
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