Mention in conversation that you’re planning on travelling to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and you will typically get one of two responses:
1. Concern or pity that you have clearly just signed your own death warrant; that you will, upon arrival in Iran, either be swiftly beheaded in public, or disappear from the face of this world altogether
2. Excitement or perhaps even jealousy that you are visiting one of the most hospitable nations a traveller might be fortunate enough to visit, and that you will have an absolute whale of a time doing so.
OK, a mild generalisation, perhaps – but why this very noticeable dichotomy?
Consensus of opinion regarding other places is something that politicians and mass media have long worked together to engineer. Travellers, on the other hand, quickly learn to see through the propaganda – especially when first-hand experience contradicts it so tangibly.
In recent decades, Iran – the country that dared defy the West and blaze its own revolutionary trail from 1979 to 2015 – has been a prime example of this process at work.
Things are changing, though. As relations thaw between Iran and the West, people are beginning to ask questions beyond those of international politics. What exactly do we know about life there? How does the country look, sound, smell, taste and feel from the inside? Is it safe to visit Iran…?
The answer, of course, is best experienced for yourself. Go. See Iran. Gaze upon some of the best-preserved ancient monuments on Earth. Smell the saffron, the rosewater, the fresh pistachios. Taste herbs you’ve never heard of. Explore the mountains, the deserts, the forests. Above all, spend time among the diverse and welcoming people of modern-day Iran. (You’ll find this happens by default.)
Not everyone has the ability to drop everything and go to Iran, of course. My goal in releasing Karun: Misadventures On Iran’s Longest River today is to allow viewers to do so vicariously through a six-week adventure – a real cross-section of Iran – compressed down into an hour of film.
Two years in the preparation and crafting, and with the generosity of 665 Kickstarter backers to thank for its existence, I want to invite you to partake of this portrait of a misunderstood place that’s so very close to my heart.
Watch the trailer and download the full movie at karunfilm.com.