News ID: 170594
Published: 0257 GMT October 19, 2016

Iranian director: I intended to illustrate real image of war in both humor and solemnity

Iranian director: I intended to illustrate real image of war in both humor and solemnity

By Sadeq Dehqan & Hamideh Hosseini

Iranian director Mona Shahi who has received two awards at Australia's Veterans Film Festival (VFF) said that she intended to illustrate the real image of war in the forms of both humor and seriousness.

'Little Boy', directed and written by Shahi, won Red Poppy Award for Best Animation at Veterans Film Festival in Australia.

The festival also awarded Red Poppy Award for Best Music to another production by Shahi called 'Red Line'. The music score was written by Hossein Jalili who received the award.

Excerpts of the interview follow:


IRAN DAILY: Please tell us briefly about yourself and how did you become interested in animation?

MONA SHAHI: I received my BS in physics from Sharif University of Technology, but I changed my major into animation directing for my master’s degree from the Faculty of Cinema and Theater at Tehran University.

The fact is that while I was teaching physics at school, I figured out it was difficult for students to learn mathematical and physics problems, thus I decided to simplify the topics through comic strip and paintings. With the passage of time, I found that on the one hand, my interest lies in telling stories rather than solving physics problems and on the other, came to know that I like to communicate with people.

I began making animation in 2009 and in 2012, I became professionally involved in the genre. In addition to designing, scriptwriting and filmmaking, I teach animation at two levels of associate degree and bachelors.


Tell us more about Australia’s Veterans Film Festival and your participation in the event?

Veterans Film Festival is dedicated to sharing stories that explore real or imaginary perspectives, in and out of war. The VFF presents an annual program that showcases human experience of on-duty and veteran military personnel and their families, as well as stories about the impacts of and the complex conditions before, during and after war.

The festival aims to illustrate war through animation to place emphasis on the significance of peace.

I participated in the festival with 'Little Boy' and 'Red Line'. Both animations have taken part in a lot of festivals and received many awards. For instance, 'Little Boy' received Special Jury Prize at the Asian Youth Animation and Comics Contest (China 2015), Best Animation Award at the 19th Poland Zoom Independent Film Festival (Poland).

'Red Line' also won the top award at the Eastern Breeze International Film Festival (Canada 2013), the top award at Aakruti International Film Festival (India 2015), second top award at Frames Festival (India 2016) and Best Animation Award at the Arroios Film Festival (Portugal 2016).


How did the plots of the two animations receive so much attention?

'Little Boy' is a short film about a little boy and a bomb. People are leaving a town upon the order of military but a little boy does not want to follow them as he has his own mission.

'Red Line' takes place in a desert never land where a turtle and a lizard unwillingly get involved in a war between two powers. As a result, they both are put in a tough situation. The turtle can solve the problem but his decision comes with a price.

These two animations use different techniques and cover separate plot line. 'Red Line' enjoys more childish atmosphere and its characters are animals and the story is presented in a colorful atmosphere, while 'Little Boy' has a serious and sorrowful story and indicates Hiroshima bombing. In fact the boy's name is the same as the name of the first bomb that exploded in Hiroshima and killed 150,000.


Which aspect of 'Little Boy' caught your attention more?

The town was alarmed about bombing and people were asked to evacuate the city at the earliest. Meanwhile, a little boy avoids leaving since he is busy drawing his childhood dreams which will gradually be personified and come to life.

At the end of the film, a shadow of the victims of the bombing appears on the wall and paintings and the child's dreams are replaced by shadows.

In fact, the flick aims to illustrate that away from the difficulties of war, children are pursuing their wishes and dreams, but at the end war destroys all of them.

'Little Boy' uses black and white drawing.


Why did you include the subject of war in your animations?

I was born in 1983 at the height of the war between Iran and Iraq. I was really preoccupied with the war.

The preliminary script of 'Red Line' was incidentally studied by the famous director Vajihollah Fard-Moqaddam and thus he encouraged me to make the flick.

Unlike 'Red Line', the order for 'Little Boy' was placed by the Association of Visual Arts Resistance.

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