Over the past 9 months since getting the RV micro-grant, I’ve been able to experiment with many aspects of the project. One of the most important realizations that I have made is that the success of the project depends on how well I am able to provide incentive for the filmmakers and how important they find IRAN INSIDE OUT to their goals and future. I believe the need is significant, only that it is a new phenomenon that will take some time to catch on.
- Young Iranians, filmmakers included desire connection to the world
- Filmmakers want recognition and the chance for their films to be seen by many
- Distribution opportunities for short filmmakers in Iran is almost non-existent, but the Internet can change that
- Bettering Iran’s image is important to most filmmakers (however it is a problem sometimes for those who do not care about this)
With this in mind, it is important to create and advertise the needs effectively such that bloggers and filmmakers understand the opportunities that lie behind online video and see the advantages it has for them personally—and also that they realize the contribution they can make to their country.
Accomplishments to date
- Functioning website created
- Informal workshop conducted with 10 filmmakers
- Developed relationships with filmmakers and am working with three of them who understand the potential of IIO and wish to be apart of it into the future
- Two videos made for IIO. One on its way soon.
- Obtaining a collection of re-cuts of other short films and original cuts of short films
- Hired a coordinator and trained him to assist with uploading and collection of films
- IIO educational filmmaker handbook drafted and waiting to be translated
- Attracted attention of online film festival “Culture UnPlugged” who wants to show the two videos in their festival (a great reward for the IIO filmmakers)
- Other relationships formed and being nurtured for the future
Main Weaknesses and Obstacles
- Not enough money and inability to rely on on American grants because of political and legal issues
- Me being remote and also having many other projects on my plate
- Lack of a solid team (Most significant problem)
- People coming in and then leaving the project (I have had people for example make promises to be coordinator or to make films and they later canceled their commitment)
- Political situation in Iran makes everything feel like walking on glass. Filmmakers are always concerned with the intentions of my project and that it is on the Internet. And I myself have to be careful what kind of films are made and how IIO is perceived at all times. This is while the “red lines” are always changing and are very vague. Thereofore one never knows what is really “right” or “wrong”.
Goal for next 6 months
- Finalize handbook in Farsi and make available as a free resource on website and other websites relevant to film
- Growing knowledge and awareness of IIO among filmmakers as well as in the Internet world
- Promoting works and getting recognition for filmmakers in order to create further incentive and motivation
- Providing a framework (like a newsletter or blog) for filmmakers to get news on online festivals and opportunities such as competitions, etc.
- Getting more films in
- Supporting more filmmakers through giving them equipment for filming and developing ideas for videos with them
After 6 months
- A re-evaluation of the project, based on website activity and amount of films submitted
- If I see that films are not being submitted, I will have to move beyond the grassroots level and join forces with a local partner which means that money will have to be raised and spent
WORKING WITH UNIVERSITIES: One idea is to begin working through universities and, such as alongside programs in international communication, journalism, and film schools. There are many benefits to this sucha as the fact that we wont have to deal with the issue of lisences which is the case with DEFC and Young Cinema Society. It might also be a good time for this since certain programs are starting to teach about new media.
Please don’t forget to visit the site, tell your friends about it, and leave comments for the filmmakers! http://iraninsideout.com
Thanks for the update and interesting to see how the project has evolved in consideration with factors on the ground in Iran. It is interesting to see how many don’t like to be considered “video bloggers” due to the negative connotation of the word by many.
Thanks for reading it through. I should clarify perhaps that “video-blogging” is only negative in the eyes of government based organizations because of the political weight that blogging in general can and has taken in the past–and to some filmmakers who dont want to become “bloggers” because they see film as a kind of art form distinct and inseparable from “video-blogging” (which is something to debate about).
But there are alot of bloggers and non-bloggers who find the idea of “video-blogging” interesting and want to be involved.
Good luck with your amazing project Shag ! We all have changed our goals and improvised a lot on the way . Keep it up all the time ! What you are doing is not well understood but step by step they will join you and all the “missing coordinators” will get back to IIO. And don’t forget : the big RV family is here for you, moral support and sharing tips !
You are really such a great supporter and I always appreciate that you read my so very few blog posts so quick!! Its really great of you! This support is what keeps me going, even if it is slowly..
It be great if you and everyone else would leave comments on the site for the filmmakers. It will really encourage them. Feel free to ask them questions and give feedback…
This is a very valuable evaluation. I think it offers a lot of tips to others interested in launching similar initiatives. I can easily see how and why filmmakers would want to distinguish themselves from bloggers, especially given the frequently political nature of the Iranian blogosphere. I wonder if it would help to more arts-focused online video sites like Curator for a Day.
I absolutely support your idea of partnering with the communication, journalism, and film departments of universities. It would be great if you could talk with some professors about giving presentations about Iran Inside Out and workshops on online video. Keep up the great work and determination.
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Bravo. Thsis is great my friend
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