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A professional American basketball player accepts an offer to play in one of the world's most feared countries: Iran.
A professional American basketball player accepts an offer to play in one of the world's most feared countries: Iran.
744 backers pledged $100,466 to help bring this project to life.

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Update from Sara & Till

Hello everyone!

We're back!!!

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:

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

Follow us on Twitter @theiranjob

And subscribe to our newsletter at

Much love and gratitude,

Sara & Till

Summary of a miracle...

Hello everyone!

We know, we know ... the withdrawal... It's rough, right?

We started fighting it off it the night of the photo finish, taking our interns, and our Persian parents and a fantastic cousin out to a Persian restaurant (chaspeed!). The German parents were a bit too far to join us - at least physically - but we toasted to them with a few glasses of Shiraz, and we're told they returned the favor in Germany ... with a bottle of champagne...

The unavoidable mental drain was further postponed by our son Luca, who demonstrated impeccable timing by delaying a scary-high-fever to the morning just after the campaign ended. Perhaps he knew that it might be better for a damn good finish - and possibly world peace:-) - if he could just delay this fever by a day? Then of course, we had a school tour that same morning - scouting out a potential elementary school for Nika. It's one of the many things we love about the kids -- they have a way of grounding us:-)

And rushing a two-year old to the doctor at 8AM will get you off the high real quick. Luca is totally fine now! -- It was just enough of a quicky-fever to remind us that we need to take good care of them, spend time with them, make up for the past 50 days, which have been a bit crazy for them too...

That said, we wouldn't be surprised if someone came up with a 10-step program to wean people off Kickstarter...

One of our supporters, Oliver from Germany, put it this way:

"Damn, how am I going to start my days now - without checking your current kickstarter status?? ... Ahem... when do you guys start your next project?... please..."

Or in German;

"Verdammt: Wie beginne ich denn nun meine Tage - wo ich doch sonst immer in den vergangenen Wochen Euren aktuellen Kickstarter-Stand abgefragt habe... oh, Mann... ähm, wann startet Ihr ein neues Projekt?.... bitte...."

Truly, everyone - what a finish! We've run out of superlatives to express our gratitude to you all. For spreading the word about the film. For helping us reach this amazing goal. For making these 50 days one of the most special times of our lives.

We also want to thank all the new backers who flocked to our campaign in the last few days -- 78 in the last 16 hours alone! Welcome!

With 744 backers from over 40 countries and $100k raised The Iran Job is in Kickstarter's "Top 25 Funded Films" of all time - thanks to YOU ALL!!!  (we've attached the official press release, with more stats, at the bottom)

For us it was truly unbelievable to see people pledging from all over the world, and in such numbers. All of the encouraging comments, emails and messages we received made it clear that people did it because they see the importance and the timeliness and the value of this movie. We had always hoped that someone other than ourselves would see the merit of the film, but to have this actually confirmed by supporters from all across the world is frankly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And then such a  photo finish! Literally a buzzer beater! We're attaching a picture of our fund raising graph to demonstrate just what happened during the last three days, and particularly during the last hours of the campaign. It will give you a sense of the frenzied pace towards the end.

It was incredible knowing that so many people from so many countries were glued to their computers or smart phones at the exact same time to witness the final hour of this campaign, and to contribute to the amazing finish. It kind of felt like a world wide new years party - one week after new year's... (which is cool because we spent the actual new year's night sick on the couch eating chicken soup...:-)

We've heard from a couple of people on the West Coast, who were driving during the last 45 minutes, that they had to pull their cars over for fear of getting into an accident -- they couldn't take their eyes off the countdown!

A supporter from Japan called during the final minutes trying to figure out issues with her Amazon account so that she could still contribute before the clock ticked down! Thank you again! We can't wait to bring the film to Tokyo!

Someone said "I feel like we're all family now"

Another person wrote: "The WHOLE WORLD is backing this movie"

We could literally feel the love pouring in from all corners of the planet!

In fact one supporter got so into it, she wrote "This is so exciting I feel like having SEX now!!!"

This reminded us of the soccer world cup in Germany a few years ago... 9 months after that world cup they had a wave of what they called "world cup babies."

You never know - there might just be a wave of The Iran Job babies in about 9 months...:-)

Another supporter, from Michigan, actually invited us to his farm! We'd like to share with you what he wrote, because we feel this kind of support coming from a farmer in Middle America demonstrates the potential reach of this movie:

Sara & Till,

As your last update suggested, Yes...take a break, relax and spend time together as a family. The goal was met by 200% because of your hard work! That will take a lot of pressure off both of you. I figured you would do well; it looks that good. Definitely going to be a blockbuster that will do very positive things. Not just for Iran but the whole world. You watch.

Keep in touch with new developments!

And if you are ever in the Detroit area, look us up. I feel like you are friends. Our farm is only about 1 1/2 hours N of downtown Detroit.


ps: my hat, which I wear all the time, needs one of those Iran Job buttons, don't you think? *smile*

Norb, thank you so much for this kind note! But careful what you wish for!! Did you see what the kids did to our office after we cracked 50K??? If we show up, we'll bring them and they'll take your farm apart!!

That said, we hope very much to have screenings in your neck of the wood at some point - and then we'd love to meet you and personally thank you for your support - as well as outfit you with one of those Iran Job buttons for your fashionable hat!

We've also gotten a lot of emails asking us if people can still contribute to the project. YES they can. In fact, we've just migrated our fundraising to our website

There's a "Back the Iran Job" button and it lets anyone make a contribution to the project -- and the good new is: All contributions are now 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE (something that Kickstarter couldn't offer).

So if you know of anyone who might be interested please send them to the website, which we're currently expanding.

Before we go we'd like to once again express our deepest gratitude to you all who've made THE IRAN JOB campaign such a success. You are now part of this film and we hope to see and meet each and everyone of you at a screening soon!

Don't fear the withdrawal! This was just the beginning! We'll leave you alone for the next couple weeks - perhaps - but we can't wait to share more news with you and to have more celebrations! All of this will happen as soon as the film will finally have its world premiere! Keep your fingers crossed!

Also, two more pieces have been published since we cracked 100K on Monday:

On POV's blog about how we went about planning our campaign

And a new blog on Deborah Stambler's betweenparents.

For those of you who haven't done it yet please "like" us on facebook

Follow us on Twitter @theiranjob

And subscribe to our newsletter at

We believe in miracles now. From the bottom of our hearts: Thank you!!!

Much love and gratitude,

Sara & Till

PS 1: here's a summary of some of the press generated during the campaign, roughly in order as it appeared:



CNN (this article got 100,000 hits – so popular that CNN International now wants to put it on their “World Report”:


CNN International 'World Sport' had a piece about the film on their broadcast:

CNN International "World Report" did an actual feature with Kevin on their show to discuss the impact of the movie.

PBS FRONTLINE: iran-job/                              

German basketball site:        

German Radio Interview:



P.S.S.: Some of you have requested a re-run of the video of our kids partying it up in the office after we cracked 50K. Please enjoy it here:

And our panel following the screening at the Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace can be viewed here:

P.S.S.S. - The official press release that went out on Tuesday - in case you'd like to forward it to interested parties:


January 10, 2012                                                                                           




New York, NY – Thanks to an overwhelming worldwide response THE IRAN JOB, produced by Sara Nodjoumi and Till Schauder (Partner Pictures), directed and photographed by Till Schauder, and executive produced by Abigail Disney (Fork Films) more than doubled its initial $50,000 Kickstarter funding goal.

The film's trailer had over 20,000 viewers online. A related article had 100,000+ hits.

With donors from all over the world contributing, the film's Kickstarter campaign reached its initial goal 10 days before the deadline. After reaching a newly set goal of 75K just days later, the campaign proceeded to breaking yet another fundraising goal of 100K.  "After working on this film for over four years we are thrilled by the word wide interest and overjoyed by the outpouring of support," said Producer Nodjoumi.  "Our backers – most of them people we didn't know before – come from all corners of the world. It motivates us to work towards the widest possible release in the U.S. and internationally."

With 740+ backers from over 40 countries and $100+k raised The Iran Job is in Kickstarter's "Top 25 Funded Films" of all time.

Supporters of the film include Christiane Amanpour who co-hosted an earlier fundraiser, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Associate Karim Sadjadpour, Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani. And in the campaign's final days the film caught the attention of Hamed Haddadi of the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA's first-ever Iranian player, who tweeted about it to his fans.

The film is in final stages of post-production and gearing up for a much anticipated 2012 World Premiere.

THE IRAN JOB tells the real-life story of Kevin Sheppard, a professional American basketball player who, when he doesn't make it to the NBA, takes a job playing professional ball in Iran.  With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Sheppard tries to separate sports from politics, only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran. Along the way he forms friendships with his teammates and several young Iranians turning his apartment into an oasis of free speech, where they discuss everything from politics to religion to gender roles. Sheppard's season in Iran culminates in something much bigger than basketball: the uprising and subsequent suppression of Iran's reformist Green Movement – a powerful prelude to the currently unfolding Arab Spring.

Schauder, a German citizen, filmed Sheppard in Iran over several visits as a one-man-crew using minimal equipment, each time entering with a tourist visa issued freely to Germans, until on his last trip - in the run-up to Iran's 2009 election - he was placed on a "black list" and put in detention at the Tehran airport. He was sent back to New York on the next plane -- a stroke of luck given the number of filmmakers and journalists recently arrested in Iran.

Abigail Disney, the film's executive producer, said "THE IRAN JOB is a great reminder of how woefully tiny and warped a view of Iran we have in the U.S... Stories are the currency of our hearts. They glue us all together. It is good stories--not good fences--that make good neighbors. As the saber-rattling grows--and it will continue to grow as we approach November--I'd like to push back with something true. That's what THE IRAN JOB is about."

To learn more about The Iran Job please visit



Everyone please STOP increasing -- you've done enough!!!! We're over the hump!!!! 

The last time we saw a buzzer beater like this was when Kevin hit the three in the game against Tehran!!!


YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!








Much love and gratitude,

Sara & Till

35 minutes left!!!! -- $2

to raise 1.5K -- WE CAN DO THIS!!!!

A $2 increase from everyone will get us there!!!

9 hours left!

Hello everyone!

We have 679 backers and we're at 86,336K with now just 9 hours to go. Please keep inspiring people!!!

For those of you who've already increased their pledge - and there are so many of you! - please disregard the following!!!

For everyone else, the number to get us to 100K has dropped again to $20! Here are three ways to get to the magic 100K:

  • Each of you inspires on person to pledge at $20 - this will get us to 100K
  • Each of you increase their pledge by $20 -- same result, 100K
  • A combination of both of the above - same result, 100K

Let's get a buzzer beater!!!

Much Love & Gratitude,

Sara & Till