THE IRAN JOB
Directed by Till Schauder
For many in the United States, Iran means “illegal nukes” or “rogue state.” But for the U.S Virgin Islands athlete Kevin Sheppard, it means job opportunity. Undeterred by the increasing hostiles between the U.S. and Iran, Sheppard accepts an offer to play pro basketball in the city of Shiraz.
As the hired-gun foreigner on a newly-established team, Sheppard struggles against lofty expectations, while also trying to navigate Iran’s cultures and traditions. Ever the slick-tongued charmer, Sheppard brings his on-court enthusiasm and charisma to his interactions with teammates and neighbors. Despite wanting to distance himself from the country’s politics and religion, Sheppard, in the spirit of hospitality and good fun, inadvertently makes his home a safe haven for three progressive Iranian women who expose him to debates regarding gender roles, religion, and the Islamic government. Before he knows it, his efforts on the basketball court start to run parallel with the mounting tensions of the 2009 presidential elections.
Director Till Schauder masterfully brings together a crowd-pleasing sports film with a surprising narrative of cultural and political struggle. Not only does Schauder elegantly chronicle the experiences of a fish out of water, he uncovers the hidden strength of Iran by highlighting its people’s own agency for reform and progress. –Tracie Yang
Producer: Sara Nodjoumi, Till Schauder
Veena Hampapur / USA / 2012 / Short / 5 minsFor an Indian immigrant twice displaced, home is where the hoops are.
Precedes: THE IRAN JOB