This Week In Washington, Wisconsin Iranian Film Festival

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The first annual Wisconsin Iranian Film Festival is underway at UW-Madison, bringing some of Iran’s best new films to audiences for free. We discuss the movies that will be showing this week, and what makes Iranian pictures some of the most celebrated in the world. We also look back at the week’s biggest news stories from Washington D.C.

Featured in this Show

  • This Week In Washington – April 19, 2017

    Craig Gilbert, Washington Bureau Chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, joins us to recap the week’s biggest stories in national politics.

  • The Wisconsin Iranian Film Festival Underway At UW-Madison

    The first annual Wisconsin Iranian Film Festival is underway. We speak to the coordinator Hamidreza Nassiri about the history of Iranian cinema and the films being shown at the festival.

  • Madison Hosting First-Ever Iranian Film Festival

    Hamidreza Nassiri wants Wisconsin to see the Iran he sees. And one way the University of Wisconsin-Madison teaching assistant is trying to do that is by coordinating Madison’s first Iranian Film Festival, which opened Saturday and runs through Sunday, April 23.

    “We’re trying to show how life in Iran really is,” he said. “An alternative picture, maybe a truer picture, of Iran and its culture and society.”

    The idea has been on his mind for years, but this year felt more urgent than most.

    “The past few months have not been great for Iranians, especially Iranians in America,” he said. “Politicians have said a lot of things about us that are just not true. Some media have helped them.”

    The films in the festival show a more diverse and accurate picture of Iran, he said.

    Iranian films have a history of prestige. This year, Iranian drama “The Salesman” won Best Foreign Language Picture at the Academy Awards. The director boycotted the awards in protest of President Donald Trump’s January travel ban, which, at the time, prohibited immigrants from seven countries, including Iran.

    The film festival screened that film last weekend to a packed crowd. Three more movies are set for Saturday and Sunday.

    For those who can’t make it to the festival, Nassiri recommends watching a range of Iranian films, past just the award-winning dramas.

    “Why are we just showing an exotic picture of Iran?” he said. “Do not just show an exotic picture of Iran, but a picture to see the similarities more than the differences.”

    All showings are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Craig Gilbert Guest
  • Hamidreza Nassiri Guest

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