Interview with Professor Hassan Namvar, a veteran producer and documentary filmmaker

Hassan Namvar, born in June 1964 in Tehran, is a professor at the Faculty of Arts and one of the most experienced experts in the field of sound, image, and media and the author of several books and scientific articles in various fields of cinema and television. He also produces and directs short films and documentaries. That is why we have a conversation with them, to which we invite you.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became interested in documentaries and short films.

I was born in Tehran and my origin goes back to TALEGHAN. Therefore, traveling to this beautiful and unique region and seeing nature and its lovely people, and hearing their stories and sorrows from childhood created a desire in me to retell and show it. The existence of similes (TAZIEH singers) in the name and seeing the art of these great people was another reason for my desire in the field of art.

I have been interested in documentaries and short films since I was a child. In high school, I read many books about the film industry and the art of documentary and short films. After graduating from one of the best schools in Tehran (HADAF No. 1), I pursued my studies in electronics and obtained an engineering degree in the current atmosphere. I got bored. After that, I succeeded in obtaining knowledge from the University of Radio and Television and the University of Tehran in the field of media at higher levels. In addition to twenty years of audio-visual work and teaching at the university and numerous trips to different parts of the world and seeing the cultures and differences in cultures, I decided to make short films and documentaries to express my inner concerns.

I started my art career seriously in the 1991, and I know how I became more interested in filmmaking, I was always curious to see, and I did not easily turn a blind eye to the themes and events I witnessed. People almost always want to tell their stories, and you just need to be a smart listener to be able to capture them.

What problems might a documentary filmmaker face in production of a film?

Regardless of the lack of facilities and suitable working space, it is very difficult to reconstruct or capture an event in an instant.

A documentary filmmaker knows full well that he wants to make something, but in the stage of action it is the nature and conditions of time and place that may lead him to another direction, and the tension between the documentarian’s initial thought and believes and the truth of his circumstances is one of the most difficult conditions is a documentary claim maker. In documentary production, your actors are not professional and do not know the commands and principles of art and can only do what they are used to Therefore, the documentary film maker must adapt his mental template to the situation in such a way that it does not deviate from his dreams and goals and also expresses the truth of the story. In my opinion, we should never be afraid to pursue our dreams, but we should bring the conditions closer to the realization of our dreams.

 What are your main goals in making short films and documentaries?

A short film is a type of film production that tries to achieve the subject matter in a short period of time and thus significantly destroys its structure. As I said before, by trying to see the cultures and customs of the people along with taking energy from pristine nature, in addition to addressing the social issues that young people are involved in, I have also tried to address the role of nature in human behavior. I have on my agenda and document the songs and patterns in the handicrafts of each region that are inspired by the nature of that region.

A filmmaker must know how to articulate the mission of art in cases and issues that are hidden from the eyes of others with a subtle look and raise people’s understanding and awareness of the unspoken and the unspoken and some issues under the skin of human society. The farther we go from nature, the more we reach issues where mechanical behaviors and behaviors away from emotion and love will emerge. Therefore, keeping alive the traditions of each region and expressing them to society is one of my mental goals. In a nutshell, short films are just as good as feature films, if not better: because focusing on a small corner of the world can reveal universal truths.

what are you doing engaged?

The conditions created in the past year, both economically and socially, and in terms of the great challenge of the century in the face of a great pandemic called the corona, have changed the natural course of every person’s life. As a symbol of the Day of Judgment, human beings stay away from each other and everyone thinks of himself and considers avoiding others as the principle. I am no exception to this rule, so in addition to academic work and teaching, I used this opportunity and started writing books. Of course, there is an opportunity to organize my manuscripts and programs. I am waiting for my plans to be implemented in short films and documentaries by reducing or destroying this virus. I also have a plan for Corona and its role in the family that will be key soon.

How do you assess the future of documentaries and short films in Iran?

I see a very bright and capable future for documentaries and short films. Nowadays, despite the educated youth and those interested in the fields of filmmaking, there is not the slightest incident or incident or news that passes through the keen eye of these loved ones and is not recorded. Today’s generation is well aware that there are hundreds of TV and cable channels that inform people about the misery of the world. Hundreds of nonprofits also meet these needs at a fraction of their film cost.

The richness of the Iranian filmmakers’ unique views on an issue makes them very different from what they have at home and abroad. It does not matter, as a result, it may raise hatred and resentment for the same subject that they once sympathized with. I am sure that we will soon see the conquest of the great world arenas of short films by Iranian youth.

In the field of documentaries and short films, which of the prominent directors of Iran and the world do you like?

In my opinion, any short and documentary film that is far from nihilism and the promotion of corruption can be considered and respected. But I would like to tell all my professors only to answer this question: In Iran, the work of professors such as Messrs. Mustafa Farzaneh, Morteza Pedynas  Mostafa Razagh Karimi, Majid Barzegar, Mohammad Affaredeh, Amir Naderi, Maryam Sepehri, Ahmad Alesti, Elham Asadi, and …

In international supply, I have followed the work of Andrea Arnold, Gurmo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarran, renowned Mexican filmmakers Jane Campion, Australian filmmaker Alexander Sokorov, African Ousmane Sembon and Canadian Guy Madden.

What advice do you have for the younger generation interested in the art of cinema and documentary making?

First of all, we have to react to a small incident and pay more attention to what is happening. Always take notes on issues that occur in the travels and associations of individuals and peoples. Always be a good listener to hear the story of people’s lives. God has created countless subjects and scenarios in the world, you just have to take a closer look and find and retell it. Having the spirit of research in various fields along with dealing with subjects that fewer filmmakers or documentarians are interested in can highlight you in this area. Of course, traveling and moving and seeing and touching on different subjects up close can teach you as much as several books, in fact, things have to be depicted that cannot be expressed in words and speech. The more you write about the dimensions of love (to anything), the less effective and lasting it is than the romantic look you show with the right music in the film.

The reflection of the artist’s personality in the output of his works must be obvious, in fact, we have to be honest with ourselves and what we offer, so be patient.

Academically and generally, to create a short documentary, it is categorized as follows: After reaching an idea and subject, first research about it. You should note that while feature films have scripts, documentaries live and die with the plot. While documentary storylines can often be very fluid, an effective outline during production basically provides you with a beacon so you don’t get distracted. Another important point is that sound in documentary filmmaking can be more than just an interview or a voice. Sound can overwhelm the viewer in your story. Sound design can connect you with the characters, which helps to tell a more effective story.

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