By: Dylan Zehr, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
Olympic wrestlers Jordan Burroughs and
Sadegh Goudarzi at the London games
Boarders Without Borders
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Washington, DC - Public displays of affection between Iran and the USA are uncommon, a fact which made this month’s embrace between Olympic wrestlers Jordan Burroughs and Sadegh Goudarzi all the more meaningful. While Iranian and American wrestlers have enjoyed over a decade of cultural exchange, the relationship has rarely seen the media spotlight. That is why commentators immediately jumped on the Burroughs/Goudarzi embrace as a sign that relationships through sport and individual competition are able to transcend international conflicts.
The minds behind Boarders without Borders, a documentary that will chronicle snowboarding emissaries to Iran, hope to channel a similar message. Led by Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter and professional snowboarder Gabi Viteri, the team is aiming to travel to Tehran in early 2013. Once they arrive, they intend to give viewers a window into Iran and the unique Iranian snowboarding scene. “With over 70% of the population under 35,” the producers say, “counter-cultures like snowboarding are the hidden sanctuaries of the youth of Iran.”
As such, a large part of the film will be dedicated to the experience of coming to Iran. A proposed overview of the film concentrates on the relationships that the snowboarders will foster, with the mountains and snowboarding being a stunning backdrop for cultural exchange. “For us, this film is 100% about people,” says Chris Olenik. Viteri echoes this sentiment, aiming to “show everyone that politics can be put aside and new friendships can be made anywhere in any circumstance.”
The filmmakers and stars have faced continued discouragement from friends and family. For Teter, however, this only highlights the need for more understanding. “A lot of people think it is a bad idea.... That makes me want to go even more, because we'll be able to see and show this beautiful country of Iran and the snowboarders there that nobody seems to know much about,” she says.
The film is being funded largely by viewer engagement and donation. This is partially due to limitations on traditional production financing due to sanctions and the current state of U.S./Iran relations. If you’d like to donate, follow the link to the film’s Kickstarter campaign below.
KICKSTARTER VIDEO WITH GABI VITERI
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