We thought you'd all enjoy a little break from us after the email flurry from January ...
But now we're back in town so to speak! And we hope that you - the most awesome and inspiring group of backers a film team can dream of - are ready for us again!
Don't worry, we won't bombard you with daily emails... yet again...(!) But we'd like to give everyone an update on where things stand with the film, and what we're currently working on.
Here's a summary since January 10th (the day after our campaign ended):
Immediately after the campaign our first task was to deal with a pressing concern many of you actually raised in your messages to us: how the women portrayed in the film might be affected when the film is released. This question came into sharp focus after the immense press response to our campaign, including a not-so-kind distortion/rebuttal of Kevin's CNN interview on an Iranian 'news watch' website that's affiliated with the Ministry of Intelligence in Iran. They called Kevin a "liar", the "American Director" (Till, who is actually German...) something to the same effect, and "CNN" part of a big propaganda machine. While the first two claims are certainly baseless the last one is at least debatable:)
They wrote their rebuttal without having seen the film - obviously. It was based purely on the trailer and on Kevin's comments about life in Iran. For reference we're including Kevin's INTV here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQLBsHgCezE
We've always felt that the overall-tone of the film - which can be summed up as unifying and bridge-building, and certainly respectful of Iran's culture and of Islam - will make it hard for conservative elements in Iran to criticize the women, or even punish them, for their involvement.
But you can't really know until you release it. And although the women had given Till permission to film in Iran, we felt it was important to show them the current version, so that they could form their own opinion.
To that end, Till flew to Europe to meet with Hilda who is currently studying there. The mission was to show her the current version of the film and to see if she is in fact comfortable with releasing it, given the continued tension around and especially inside Iran.
It's always a nerve-wrecking experience to show the film to your subject, especially a film like THE IRAN JOB. But the screening with Hilda was definitely the most nerve-wrecking we've had to date... When it was done Till was ready for a new set of fingernails and Sara back in Brooklyn was no less spent... But then came Hilda's reaction. She absolutely LOVED the cut! She wants the world to see this film, ESPECIALLY women, and she's motivated to support the film's release. You can imagine our exhale...
The second purpose of the trip was to introduce Hilda to a prominent Iranian dissident (who was actually imprisoned in Iran after the 2009 uprisings). This dissident would be better suited than any of us to gauge the potential repercussions once the film is released. He confirmed what we had hoped for all-along: that the balanced nature of the film would make repercussions unlikely. In fact, he suggested that in an ironic twist the film might actually please the regime since it's clear in its opposition to military intervention in Iran. The film celebrates commonality, shared humanity, common dreams and aspirations - all through the medium of basketball - and this will be hard to criticize, Inshalla.
Getting Hilda's endorsement for the film and seeing how genuinely touched she was by it was truly amazing.
We've since organized a similar screening for one of the other women portrayed in the film - and her reaction was also positive. Kevin of course was the first to see any version, even before the women, and he's been an incredible supporter ever since!
Check out some pictures of Till and Hilda from their recent meeting in London.
Till & Hilda in front of Big Ben
Anti-war sentiment in the U.K...
Hilda in her new home
After this trip, we both went directly to the NBA All Star weekend in Orlando, which we covered for a French network. We used this opportunity to introduce the film to some NBA legends, including Kareem Abdul Jabaar, Dikembe Mutombo and also to Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and Nets point guard Deron Williams (we did put in our personal pitch for Deron to stay with the Nets and play in Brooklyn next year...). Attached please find some pictures from that trip, including one of Sara amongst the giants... and some serious All Star Cheerleader support for THE IRAN JOB.
Till with NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo
Sara & the giants -- it's 9 feet+ vs. just-shy-of-5-feet...
Serious All-Star cheerleader support for THE IRAN JOB...
All Stars Kevin Durant, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Paul warming up
What's left to do on the film:
1) We're working on finalizing the feature version, which will have a length of about 90 mins. This is the version that will be used for theatrical showings, community screenings etc.
2) We've hired a couple of talented graphic designers to expand our website -- which is currently just a temp site. We hope to have the actual site launched in the next few weeks. It will be a comprehensive meeting point with various activities around the movie, e.g. a side-bar that aims to connect Iranian and American school kids, and an extra page for Kevin to highlight the great charitable work he's doing in St. Croix (he runs a basketball league for disenfranchised youth there). The site will also channel additional fundraising for a potential theatrical release this year. Stay tuned for an update when the completed site is launched!
3) As we're completing the feature-length version we're also beginning to work on the broadcast version - which will be shorter, most likely in the 50-80 minute range. The final length will depend on the broadcast requirements. This might still take until the fall of this year or even longer, since we might actually have to cut different lengths for different broadcasters.
4) As we're completing the actual film we're also working on our marketing art work: poster, post cards etc -- most of this will be finished in the next few weeks.
5) We are talking to potential parters about releasing the film theatrically, at least in limited-release, later this year. A theatrical release is a major undertaking, both financially and effort-wise, and so we're currently trying to put all of our ducks in order, discuss the various options in which such a release could unfold and determine whether it's better to do this with a traditional distributor or perhaps by self-distribution (the Kickstarter campaign has encouraged us to look at all options here). All of this requires a certain "chain-of-events," e.g. signing with a Sales Agent and/or distributor and actually mapping out a limited-release strategy for this film. It also takes much longer than we thought... For example, to actually book a film in theaters one has to account for a 4-9 months lead-time, as we learned.
Some of you have asked when the film will come out. The answer is: the release date depends on when the to-do-list described above is worked off. The one thing clear is that our original timeline was too ambitious. This is owned to a fact we're experiencing first-hand right now: filmmaking is a two-part process: the first part is about making and completing the film. And we're on track to completing the feature version as planned. The second step is about releasing it to the public.
In other words, even if a film is completed it doesn't mean that it comes out the next day. A lot of ground work has to be laid and the wheels of the industry often work in strange and mysterious ways, not to mention in slow ways.
With all that said, we are hoping to have our premiere (either theatrically or on broadcast) no later than this fall. There is a distinct possibility that some word-of-mouth community screenings (similar to the one we did at the Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace in Washington) will happen before the fall, as early as May actually. If that's the case you'll be the first to know!
In general you can rest assured that you'll be the first ones to know of any release, be it at a community screening, a commercial theater or on broadcast. You are our core support base, and so clearly we want you all to know when the film comes out first!
As for the question when the rewards will be distributed: by beginning of May we'll start sending out those rewards that DO NOT include the DVD - for example, the $35- T-Shirt pledge-level, and the art work associated with the highest reward levels.
The DVD - which is what most folks are waiting for - can only be created when the film is fully completed and has a fixed release date. This may take quite a bit longer than we originally anticipated. Right now, to be on the safe side, we're estimating by the end of this year (assuming that the broadcast or world premiere happens by the fall). But again, rest assured that you guys will be the first to know when they're available! And as soon as they are we'll send them out to you right away.
Please know that we're doing our best to bring THE IRAN JOB to you as soon as possible. It may take longer than we thought but it will happen eventually!
In the meantime, please continue spreading the word about the film and directing people to our FB site, where we regularly post new events and links.
We so appreciate your patience and continued support!
For those of you who haven't done it yet please "like" us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheIranJob?sk=info
Follow us on Twitter @theiranjob
And subscribe to our newsletter at www.theiranjob.com
Much love and gratitude,
Sara & Till