Taghi Amirani – Red Lines & Deadlines

An unprecedented look into the Orwellian world of Iranian journalism.”

The Wall Street Journal

 * Iranian documentary maker Taghi Amirani presented a UK premiere of the new 2005 version of Red Lines and Deadlines, including footage from the recent Iranian presidential election, at a sell-out screening at Adam Street Club and later at the Guardian Newsroom.

Twenty-six years after the Islamic Revolution, Iran is struggling for reform. Red Lines and Deadlines goes behind the scenes with the young reporters of Iran’s leading pro-reform newspaper. Founded in 2003 and already Iran’s fourth largest daily, Shargh, which means “East”, has quickly built a loyal readership among Iran’s intellectuals, opinion makers, politicians, and the young.

With its youthful staff (the average age is 25), high number of female journalists, and a commitment to professional journalism and neutral reporting, Shargh * is a lightning rod for censorship. And there are severe consequences to attracting the attention of the country’s censors: in the past five years, over a hundred reformist newspapers have been shut down. Shargh’s own editors scrupulously evaluate all their articles, trying to ensure against crossing any “red lines,” which is what Iranian journalists call the strict but ill-defined boundaries that mark the topics, opinions and even writing styles considered off-limits.

The film documents three weeks in the life of this remarkable newspaper, following reporters on stories ranging from Saddam Hussein’s first appearance in court, to the trial of a history professor sentenced to death for criticising the ruling clerics, to the death of Marlon Brando. The story of these daring journalists, who struggle to report the news without incurring the “blade of censorship,” offers powerful insights into the complexities of today’s Iran.

Red Lines and Deadlines was broadcast on PBS in America as part of the Wide Angle series in September 2004.  Click here to read Amirani’s notes on the film. Click on the following link below to read a synposis of the film: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/about/film_s4_f309.html

 * Taghi Amirani is a distinguished Iranian documentary maker whose many films have been broadcast on the BBC and Channel 4, as well as American and French television. His films include The Dispossessed an intimate portrait of ordinary Afghan people living in a Taliban-controlled refugee camp on the Afghan/Iran border during the 2001 US invasion; Watch This Space and The Crash Bash, two films on the historic comet crash of 1994; Mad About Machines, a six-part series exploring relationships between people and household machines; and Inside Mecca, a National Geographic Special set in the Holy City of Mecca. Click on the link below to read viewers’ comments on The Dispossessed.


Many thanks to Taghi Amirani for giving PEN the opportunity to show such a wonderful film and to Adam Street Club for having us.

Report by Alice O’Hanlon. Photos by Andre Pisac and Alice O’Hanlon.

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/events/reportsonrecentevents/taghiamirani/

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