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"In the Footsteps of Our Forefathers" a film by Tenaz Dubash
In the May of 2000, thirty-six Zoroastrians from Canada, the UK and the United States made their first visit and pilgrimage to Iran, the ancient home of their religion's founder and prophet, Zoroaster. In the course of their visit, they made pilgrimages to Zoroastrian shrines and centers located in Yazd, Kerman, Shiraz and Isfahan. Tenaz Dubash chronicles the experience on film, that included visiting their kin, who have preserved their religion in its homeland, long before the birth of Christianity. Their journey included standing in the very places where their ancestors practiced their traditions and rituals thousands of years ago. Teachings that profoundly influenced the Judeo-Christian traditions. Yazd.com conducted the following online interview with Tenaz Dubash the director of the film:
Yazd.com: When did you visit Iran?
Tenaz Dubash: A group of about 36 of us visited Iran last May.
Y: What compelled you to visit?
TD: Laila Contractor, one of the tour organizers, had visited Iran a few years ago with her family. She loved Iran and was inspired to organize a similar trip, with her friend Cyrus Fatakia, for some of the young Zoroastrians in America and Canada. I, being a journalist, was very interested in going and shooting a documentary to capture our thoughts and feelings during this historical journey.
Y: Which cities did you visit in Iran?
TD: We spent about three weeks in Iran and spent time in Tehran, Shiraz, Kerman, Yazd and Isfahan. We also visited smaller Iranian towns like Chum and Sharifabad.
Y: Prior to your visit, what were your views of Iran, and how did you visualize the atmosphere, subjectively and graphically? Also how did you view Yazd?
TD: To be honest I was a little nervous when I was visiting Iran because I was not used to wearing the hejaab and more importantly, I was not used to being submissive. However, I knew that visually we were in for a treat. I had seen a lot of pictures of Persepolis and Yazd in books and was very excited to be actually going there!
Y: Which sites did you visit in Yazd?
TD: While we were in Yazd we visited the lovely little towns of Zainabad and Chum where we saw a thousand year old Cypress tree. We also visited one of our oldest Atash Behrams, or fire temples, in the city of Yazd. It was a humbling experience. We also had a chance to visit some of the beautiful shrines in the mountains like Pir-e-Herisht, Pir-e-Sabz and Pir-e-Banoo.
Y: What is the number of Zoroastrians in Iran and in Yazd?
TD: Though I cannot be sure of this, we were told that there are about 40,000 Zoroastrians in Iran altogether and about 14,000 in the city of Yazd and its surroundings.
Y: How do you view Iran now? How do you view Yazd?
TD: I feel proud and privileged to have visited Iran. I now consider Iran to be part of my personal history and the beautiful city of Yazd is a very integral part of this feeling.
Y: Which single part of your visit affects you profoundly and you remember vividly?
TD: There were many magical moments in Iran. For me, perhaps, the most magical was to hear a little Zoroastrian child recite her prayers flawlessly in a tiny fire-temple in Yazd. It made me realize that our faith is truly abiding and strong. It has survived for thousands of years and will hopefully will continue for the next 1000.
Y: How does your visit affect your faith now?
TD: My faith is a lot stronger now. Visiting Iran made some of the ancient concepts of Zoroastrianism come alive for me.
Y: Would you want to visit Iran again to make more films and what would the subject be?
TD: I would love to visit Iran again. There are at least a 100 topics that I would like to do documentaries on! I would like to devote one, entire, documentary to Persepolis and maybe another one on the status of Iranian women.
Y: What are you working on now? Are you working on any film project now?
TD: I am trying to put together a proposal and budget for the next documentary on Zoroastrianism.
Y: What media did you shoot the film on? What is the running time?
TD: The film was primarily shot on Beta and small parts of it were shot on a Digital camera. The total running time is one hour.
Y: Where can a copy of the film be found? Any distribution? Or video retailer Web Site?
TD: The film can be purchased by educational institutions at www.buyindies.com. Individuals can purchase it by e-mailing my office at Tdubash@aol.com.
Y: Have you submitted the film to any festivals?
TD: The film has been submitted to the Margaret Mead film festival, as well as a documentary festival in Seattle and New York.
Y: Would you like your film to be screened in Yazd Film Festival?
TD:Yes, I would be very interested. What is the procedure? (Contact Yazd office of Culture an Tourism at: +98-351-38046 or +98-351-38047 or +98-351-38048)
Y: Do you have a Web Site?
TD:Our website is a link on www.zarathushtra.com
Related Links: In the Footsteps of Our Forefathers Web Site
Photo Stills from: "In the Footsteps of Our Fathers"
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