Jasmin Mozaffari’s ‘Motherland’ Wins Best Canadian Short at TIFF
Motherland , the short film directed by Jasmin Mozaffari and co-produced by Fela was awarded the Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.
“Displaying great mastery of craft, this incredibly ambitious film excels in its direction, performances, sound, and picture, with every frame exhibiting love and intention,” said the jury’s statement. “The film left us with one word collectively: wow.”
At the height of the Iran Hostage crisis in 1979, the film follows Babak as he embarks on a trip to meet his fiancé Katie’s parents in rural Iowa. When his fiancé’s father does not welcome him, this calls into question not only Babak and Katie’s relationship but Babak’s future. Played expertly by first-generation Iranian immigrant and award-winning actor Behtash Fazlali, Babak confronts the harsh realities of what it means to be an Iranian immigrant in a patriotic post-Vietnam North America, after leaving a homeland where a brutal Islamic regime has risen to power.
Motherland is shot on 16mm film to replicate the era authentically and costumes were based on photographs of the Mozaffari’s parents. “MOTHERLAND is my most personal film to date, chronicling an Iranian immigrant’s journey for acceptance and search for ‘home’ during the height of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis,” said writer and director Mozaffari. “The film is inspired by the story of my father, an immigrant from Tehran, who married my mother (a Canadian) in the shadow of the hostage crisis. My mother’s parents wouldn’t speak to my mother for two years after they found out she was marrying an Iranian. I wanted to use this true life ‘meet-the-parents’ story as a way to uncover a part of history that has largely been forgotten.”