Lioness – A Freedom Project for Iran – 3RD PRIZE WINNER

Festival Year:
Director: Arrad
Producer: Arrad, Connor Gould, Candy Samareta
Screenwriter: Arrad

A short film shedding a light on the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iran, “Lioness” honors the Iranian women, men, and children who are risking their lives every day for basic human rights.

For the innocent children who are getting mercilessly slaughtered on the daily and the youth who are breaking down the barriers to gender inequality. For all the people of Iran putting themselves on the front line, fighting for freedom, and longing for a new, revolutionized country. For the hundreds of courageous citizens who have been killed in the streets and thousands who are imprisoned unjustly.

Note from director: I began creating this project immediately after the protests were sparked by the women of Iran (not only in the country but amongst the diaspora as well). Inspired by their tenacity and fearlessness, I sought to encapsulate their spirit and persistence in this project, thrusting myself into a fervent quest to connect with an array of Iranian creative talents, ranging from musicians to dancers and artists. This film is imbued with a sense of urgency that mirrors the swift, unyielding pursuit of these women towards their emancipation.

Pay attention to each woman in the film. The tombak player who we see is a reflection of Mahsa (Jina), almost like Mahsa’s soul – drumming and telling us to keep fighting. That’s why we see her in such a divine light. And each strum of a drum represents the pain, torture, bloodshed, and gunshots that the Iranian women / people are enduring every single day.

The two dancers who are doing the choreographed head movement. Each drum beat makes the women move in sync – they are a mirror reflection of one another (in terms of movement). They are in sync, united; just as the women of Iran are. Their shared struggles bind them together, creating a formidable force against adversity.

The airplane. Iranian stuntwoman Mahsa Ahmadi, strapped to the top of a plane, flying at speeds of 120 mph+, holding a “Woman Life Freedom” flag, highlighting the true bravery of Iranian women. Strapped atop a plane, Ahmadi was willing to risk everything for the symbolic scene, exemplifying the daring defiance these women possess in their relentless quest for freedom and equality. The stunt underscores their willingness to confront danger head-on and encapsulates their determination to reach for the sky in their pursuit of liberation.

Categories: , ,