ArteNews & Events

< Back to ArteNews & Events


Hadi Afarideh, The Afar (still), 2015, 29 minutes


Featuring films by Hadi Afarideh, Bahman Kiarostami, Gelareh Kiazand and Reza Sayah.
Curated by Lila Nazemian, ArteEast Programs and Communications Director

Online ScreeningFebruary 25-March 5, 2024
Free / $5 suggested donation

In-person ScreeningThursday, February 29 at 7:00pm
352 Onderdonk Ave, Queens, NY 11385

For tickets to the in-person screening please use the link:

Reflections from the Future

REFLECTIONS FROM THE FUTURE presents documentary films that explore continuities and transformations over the last two decades within Iran’s cultural landscape. Shedding perspectives on some of the forces that have resulted in the decay and preservation of various traditions, the films explore Iranian culture across food, music, sport, as well as literary and spiritual performance. The program highlights the tireless efforts of individuals as they struggle to maintain the long legacy of Iran’s cultural diversity while simultaneously innovating traditions to align with the evolving times.

Bahman Kiarostami’s Infidels (Koffar) documents the traditions and ways of life of the Godars, an ethnic minority based in the Mazandaran region of Iran. Despite the daily struggles they face due to being ostracized from mainstream society, the Godars are resilient and full of life. The film reflects their dedication to preserving their traditions through dancing, performing, playing music and hunting. Also set in Mazandaran, Gelareh Kiazand’s Preserving Taste focuses on culinary traditions from the northern province where some of the oldest methods of growing and fermenting food have been practiced for generations. Centered around chef Hadi Sadr’s efforts in preserving and sharing the food from his region to communities in the U.S., the film further explores various regional dishes and the struggles faced by locals in maintaining their ingredients and food culture.

Hadi Afarideh’s The Affar focuses on an ancient ritual dance marking the Nowruz (new year) celebration dating back to pre-Islamic Zoroastrian times. The dance represents natural cycles of nature and humanity’s connection to the greater cosmos. Practiced only by small communities in Iran’s north eastern province of Khorasan, this spiritual performance is at risk of disappearing. Afarideh’s The Story of Gordafarid follows the unwavering journey of the first female Naqal, Fatemeh Habibizad, as she trains for the role of Gordafarid, an ancient heroine from the Shahnameh. Often performed in teahouses and public squares, the Naqali tradition is a show led by an individual who dramatically recounts ancient legends or historical stories. Habibizad’s story reflects the struggles of artists pushing to creatively innovate age-old beloved traditions. In ComebackReza Sayah recounts the revival of Iran’s National Polo team and their reentry into the international circuit. As a sport that was created in Iran and used to train soldiers on horseback, the film explores how modern polo nearly ceased to be practiced due to its associated politics and a lack of resources. Yet again, Comeback is a testament to the commitment of individuals in preserving and restoring traditions at the core of Iranian heritage.

REFLECTIONS FROM THE FUTURE is curated by Lila Nazemian and co-presented by ArteEast and UnionDocs. This program is part of the legacy program Unpacking the ArteArchive, which preserves and presents 20 years of film and video programming by ArteEast. The program will be screened online on from February 25-March 5. The in-person screening takes place on February 29 at at 7 pm and includes Hadi Afarideh’s The Afar and Gelareh Kiazand’s Preserving Taste, followed by a Q&A and tasting with filmmaker Gelareh Kiazand, Chef Hanif Sadr, and ArteEast Programs and Communications Director, Lila Nazemian. For more information and tickets, visit In conjunction with this program, ArteEast is organizing a Cooking and Storytelling Demonstration led by Chef Hanif Sadr alongside filmmaker Gelareh Kiazand on March 3 at The Knife Factory. For more information please visit Eventbrite.