THE IRAN JOB follows American basketball player Kevin Sheppard as he accepts a job to play in one of the world’s most feared countries: Iran.
With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Kevin tries to separate sports from politics only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran.
Along the way he forms an unlikely alliance with three outspoken Iranian women. Thanks to these women, his apartment turns into an oasis of free speech, where they discuss everything from politics to religion to gender roles.
Kevin’s season in Iran culminates in something much bigger than basketball: the uprising and subsequent suppression of Iran’s reformist Green Movement – a powerful prelude to the sweeping changes across the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring.
With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, and the world’s attention laser-focusing on Iran again this is a critical time to take a fresh look at Iranians. It may even be crucial in avoiding the next war in a Muslim country.
HOW THE IRAN JOB STARTED:
In the fall of 2008 – shortly after Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Israel – husband-&-wife-filmmakers Till Schauder & Sara Nodjoumi had a Skype call with Kevin Sheppard, a flashy point-guard from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Kevin was about to start a basketball contract in the Iranian Super League. A minute into the conversation he had Till and Sara rolling on the floor laughing in spite of the prospect of playing in a country that’s supposedly full of illegal nukes and Islamic terrorists. They decided to start filming.
Till (husband/director) filmed Kevin in Iran over several visits, until on his last trip – in the run-up to Iran’s 2009 election – he was informed that he had been placed on a “black list” (for reasons still not clear), and was put in detention in a kind of “hotel-prison” inside the glitzy new Tehran airport. Sara (wife/producer) was at home, 5-months pregnant, while Till was in Tehran hand-shredding some not-so-cool-documents-when-you’re-stuck-in-Iran and flushing them down the toilet. He was sent back to New York on the next plane — a stroke of luck in retrospect given the number of filmmakers and journalists recently arrested in Iran.