NYU Presents Pearls on the Ocean Floor: A Robert Adanto Film

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Painting © Bahar Sabzevari
Fairy Tale Icons., 2009 Mixed Media © Afsoon
Past Residue, 2009 Photography © Malekeh Nayiny
NYU Presents Pearls on the Ocean Floor: A Robert Adanto Film
Curated by: Robert Adanto

September 29th, 2011 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

New York University (NYU)
iranian, documentary mixed-media, installation, video-art
$10.00 for the general public; $3.00 for NYU students with ID


The Hagop Kevorkian Center for Middle Eastern Studies and The Gallatin School of Individualized Study present a screening of Robert Adanto's Pearls on the Ocean Floor (2010), on Thursday, September 29 at 7:00pm at the NYU Cantor Film Center, located at 36 East 8th Street.

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, Sara Rahbar and others, captures the uncertainty of this momentous time in Iran History. Speaking with grace and honesty, these brave women express what is seldom seen in the 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.

As UK film critic Jennie Kermode writes in Eye For Film, “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.”

A panel discussion consisting of Robert Adanto, the film's director, Hadi Ghaemi, the Executive Director of The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and PEN International writer and NYU Global Studies professor Shouleh Vatanabadi will be moderated by Laura Secor, noted journalist who covers contemporary Iran for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.

Screening History

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, The Petaluma International Film Festival and the film received the Bronze Palm Award for Best Documentary at the this year's Mexican International Film Festival. In addition, the 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, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and San Francisco Art Institute.

Pearls on the Ocean Floor will be screened at the The European Conference of Iranian Studies organized every four years by the Societas Iranologica Europaea and considered the largest event in the field of Iranian studies in Europe. The forthcoming 7th edition of the conference will take place from September 7th till September 10th and will be hosted by the Institute of Oriental Philology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Mr. Adanto's has recently been named an Official Selection for 10th International Exile Film Festival, set to take place this year in Göteborg, Sweden in October, and the XIII International Festival of Independent Film: PURE DREAMS, taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in November.