“With so much impressive art to draw on, this film is a visual treat, but what really elevates it as a documentary is the strength of the interviews - strong voices with sometimes clashing agendas, each offering a unique perspective on a country “which seems to have a revolution every 30 years.” Iran is in flux and none of the women speaking here is sure what the outcome will be, though many are hopeful. It’s often said that suffering makes a great artist, and this film suggests that the suffering of a nation can have a similar effect.”
UK film critic Jennie Kermode in Eye For Film
Robert Adanto's Pearls on the Ocean Floor is a thought-provoking, feature-length documentary examining the lives and works of Iranian female artists living and working in and outside the Islamic Republic. This unflinching and incisive study, featuring interviews with art luminaries Shadi Ghadirian, Shirin Neshat, Parastou Forouhar and others, captures the uncertainty of this momentous time in Iran's history. Speaking with grace and honesty, these brave women express what is seldom seen in western media: unique individual perspectives regarding issues of identity, gender, and the role that art plays in challenging the traditional stereotypes often associated with women in Iran.
Pearls on the Ocean was an Official Selection at the UK Iranian Film Festival in London, The Glasgow International Film Festival, The New Orleans Middle East Film Festival, Petaluma International Film Festival and received the Bronze Palm award for Best Documentary at the the 2011 edition of the Mexican International Film Festival. In addition, Mr. Adanto’s film has enjoyed screenings at The Smithsonian Institution, The MFA Boston, LACMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Orange County Museum of Art in association with the California Biennial, Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Art Institute.
Pearls on the Ocean Floor was an Official Selection at the 10th International Exile Film Festival, which took place in Göteborg, Sweden, the XIII International Festival of Independent Film: PURE DREAMS, in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the ION International Film Festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In addition, Pearls on the Ocean Floor was an Official Selection at the 2012 version of the Cape Winelands Film Festival in Cape Town, South Africa and received an Independent Spirit award at the 27th Fort Lauderdale International Film Fesitval. Most recently, Pearls on the Ocean Floor screened as an Official Selection at the 2012 DocMiami International Film Festival.