Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko
22 min | 16mm to HD | Iran & Canada | 2018
In 1973, the Shah of Iran commissioned the construction of a paper factory in the lush northern province of Gilan. Foreign engineers from Canada and the United States were brought to develop and run the facility, bringing with them their families as well as a species of pine tree previously unknown to the region. Their stay, however, came to a sudden halt in 1979 with the Iranian revolution forcing them to flee the site overnight.
Chooka unfolds between the site of this factory and a rural family house located in a nearby village. Coinciding with the construction of the factory, this family hosted the production of Bahram Beyzaie’s film, The Stranger and The Fog. Shot in the same village, the film begins when an unconscious stranger drifts ashore in a small boat. After the revolution, Beyzaie returned to the same house to produce his film Bashu, The Little Stranger, about a young war refugee who escapes the south and ends up alone in a small northern village.
Returning to this landscape 40 years later, we meet the family again. It is summer and the grandfather of the family who hosted Beyzaie has passed away. His adult son is working at the paper factory while his grandson, between English classes, shows us the secret corners of his family’s house. Mediated through screens and photography, Chooka weaves original material with elements of archival documentary footage and fragments of Beyzaie’s cinema to explore the entangled relationship between a stranger and a host, a factory and a village, a film crew and a family, foreign trees and a landscape.
Commissioned by Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) as part of the Jacques Madvo Collection Project
- Punto de Vista International Documentary Festival, Pamplona, Spain, Mar 11–16, 2019: http://www.puntodevistafestival.com/en/ultima_edicion.asp?IdSeccion=106
- Sharjah Film Platform, Sharjah Art Foundation, U.A.E., Jan 24, 2019: http://sharjahart.org/sharjah-art-foundation/events/sharjah-film-platform-programme-23
- What the Complete Image Could Be: Works by Parastoo Anoushahpour, Faraz Anoushahpour, Ryan Ferko, Toronto International Film Festival, Wavelengths year-round programming, Dec 4, 2018: https://www.tiff.net/events/what-the-complete-image-could-be-works-by-faraz-anoushahpour-parastoo-anoushahpour-and-ryan-ferko/
- Duke University, Durham, USA, Nov 12, 2018: https://artscenter.duke.edu/event/lift-presents-the-madvo-collection-commissioning-project/
- Media City Film Festival, Windsor, Canada, Nov 10, 2018: http://mediacityfilmfestival.com/mcff23/international-competition-4/
- Viennale, Vienna, Austria, Nov 8, 2018: https://www.viennale.at/de/film/chooka
New York Film Festival (Projections),
New York City, USA, Oct 6 & 7, 2018 // Info:https://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2018/films/program-3-trips-to-the-interior/
Cinema Multiverse 3, curated by Ana Vaz, Lisbon, Portugal, Sept 30, 2018
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, Jun 26 & Jul 1, 2018: https://www.edfilmfest.org.uk/2018/chooka