Sunday, June 21, 2015

Interview of Kabul Press with M. Amin Wahidi Director and a producer of THE PERSIAN DINNER (movie) 2015

Kabul Press is the official media partner of the independent movie, THE PERSIAN DINNER 2015. THE PERSIAN DINNER will be released in September in Italy. It is the debut feature film by the Hazara film director Amin Wahidi. Before this film, Amin Wahidi has made five short films including L’OSPITE/THE GUEST that won VENICE CITY AWARD 2014 last year during Venice International Film Festival. 
Kabul Press did this interview with Amin Wahidi on his new film in Italy THE PERSIAN DINNER 2015.

Kabul Press: With your new film THE PERSIAN DINNER, what message do you want to transform to the viewers?

Amin Wahidi: Well, first of all, thanks a lot for this interview. In Dari we have a good proverb that says, “A perfume scents by itself and doesn’t need perfumer’s explanation”, so the same case is with a piece of art or literary work. Based on this saying, I believe if there is a message, my film itself should transform, so I don’t want to say about it now. I also consider myself a story teller, so, I don’t make a lot of efforts on how strongly transform messages through my films, but I do my best to tell a story and let the viewers have the space of thinking about it, even after they leave the movie theater.    
So, saying this, I would only recommend the Kabul Press readers to watch THE PERSIAN DINNER when it will be released in the movie theaters.

Kabul Press: So you mean, you are not a film director who uses symbols and metaphors in his works?

Amin Wahidi: Not really, or at least, not in my last two works. In a couple of my first short films, I was very precise and did all the shootings frame by frame by the help of storyboard, it was from 2003- 2007 but then I discovered a new style of making films, where one can leave a lot of space and freedom for improvisation and for what really happens on real time on the set. Thus now I have totally changed my point of view about cinema and way of making films. Also because, the language of films nowadays are much more different than a few years back, therefore the style of how to make films influences the language of a film.
And since I discovered myself, not to be a filmmaker of millimeteric frame by frame accuracy, I find myself easier when there is improvisation that relies on what is going on at that moment on the set, because as a person I am a bit disordered when doing my things and most of the time when filming I enjoy letting things in disorder or letting things go the way they go. Partly, may be, doing independent films has forced me becoming this way. Because when you do independent films, you are supposed to be very creative, active, a quick decision maker, which sometimes can have negative effects as well on the final result of your product. Mostly I use the real locations as the sets of my short films, this way; the result is very realistic as well as economic.  

Kabul Press: Could you tell us, what exactly is The Persian Dinner about?

Amin Wahidi: Well, The Persian Dinner is a film about social classes, integration, racism, friendship, Expo, corruption, love, hate, betrayal and more than all, it is about the clashes between the old and the new generation of Italian society, nowadays.

Kabul Press: Could you explain it better, the influences of independent films on director’s creativity?

Amin Wahidi: Well, the short films I made so far are all low-budget ones, which are mostly auto-financed or are made by the help of my friends. In this case, you have to be very fast, clever, full of contacts and creative. For instance, first, if you don’t have enough equipments, you just borrow them from your friends and add their names in the credit titles of the film, then you do your best, not to pay for locations to reduce the costs, and if you do find actors who take part in the film without being paid, then it is fantastic. In the case of THE PERSIAN DINNER, most of the actors are professionals but none are paid, because they liked the project and took part in it on honorary basis for which I am grateful.
Then remain only transportation expenses, and the meal which is usually sandwiches on the set, and a place to stay.
For costumes as well, we did our best to utilize the actor’s own costumes, this way, you save a lot on costs. And if you find people who work with you on honorary basis for post production as well, then, your film is a really very low budget.       

Kabul Press: What is in THE PERSIAN DINNER that makes it unique?

Amin Wahidi: Well, good question! First, it is the story of THE PERSIAN DINNER that makes it unique, because it is very simple story at the same time, it has its complexity. Then the cast is extraordinary and the crew is exceptional. So, there was a lot of positive energy behind this project and obviously the final outcome is wonderful. The way, we’ve shot it, with a documentary style of camera on shoulder, we take the viewers into the core of the story and as closest as possible with the characters of the film so that they feel themselves within what is happening there; in other words, with the style of shooting, we let the viewers participate very intimately in what is going on in the story, whether there are tensions or relaxation and happiness. I could consider it a kind of neo-realism work as well in which everything is taking place in real places and real time, only the difference that we have professional actors. The overall rhythm of the film is very dynamic. I think it’ll be a heart-throbbing film. It is a social drama.   
The story takes place, just in less than twenty four hours and the story line is simple; triangle of a family relationship; a father, a son and a grandmother as a main thread of storyline. While there are a couple of other triangles of relationships that help the story go on. The location is a social center in Milan.  

Kabul Press: What is the duration of THE PERSIAN DINNER and how long did it take you to shoot it?

Amin Wahidi: It is a feature length film, actually my first feature film and the running time is about 100 minutes. Being an independent low-budget film, the project faced with a lot of problems and it took us about eight months to complete the shootings. We did not shoot continuously though; we had to have breaks in the middle because of production problems. But we all were strong to confront the problems. We continued on and went ahead until the end and finally soon we’ll be ready to be screened.  

Kabul Press: What about theatrical release of your film?

Amin Wahidi: For the moment, our first intention is sending THE PERSIAN DINNER, to different International Film Festivals, but we do not have a theatrical or Home Video distributor yet. Lately we have been contacted by a couple of Independent movie theatres in Milan, who were interested to screen our film, and we are looking forward to see what we can do. However, the premiere of the film will be in September. So, the festivals can also help us find interested theatrical or Home Video distributors.       

Kabul Press: What other projects do you have after THE PERSIAN DINNER?

Amin Wahidi: Well, even if THE PERSIAN DINNER is still in post-production these days, I have a couple of other parallel projects as well. My next work after THE PERSIAN DINNER is a feature documentary tilted MANU ON THE ROAD. This film is about a brilliant female singer/songwriter MANUELA PELLEGATTA in Milan who is struggling for the release of her first studio album. I am following her artistic carrier during the year 2015. She is a unique talent and has a magical voice and has to be introduced to the entire world. The production of this feature documentary will be finished by the end of this year.

Then there is another feature docu-fiction titled TWELVE BICYCLES that will be shot between Italy and Sweden in 2017. It is too early now to talk about it.   

Beside films, my other important projects are literary works such as novels novellas and short story collections. I have a novel, a novella and a couple of short story collections under work and hopefully by the end of 2016 I will be able to publish them if I find the interested publishers.   

Kabul Press: Anything you would like to say to the viewers of your film/films?

Amin Wahidi: Well, I would just like to invite them to watch our film when we will be released in the movie theatres of Milan or elsewhere. It is very important to support independent filmmakers who in spite of many difficulties make films for their heart, for the people and not only for income.
And it is them, who will judge the film after they watched it.

Kabul Press: Which are the production houses that produced THE PERSIAN DINNER?

Amin Wahidi: Deedenow Cinema Production Afghanistan, Hazara People International Network, Remspot and Ri-Make. It is a co-production between Afghanistan and Italy.  

Kabul Press: As the last question, why do you think your previous film, L’OSPITE/THE GUEST won the Venice City Award in 2014 and Premio Carpine D’argento Award in 2015?

Amin Wahidi: Well, may be because, it was a film that could relate a strong story in a short time. It is a social drama that depicts the refugee problems in Italy. This short film is dedicated to the asylum seekers and the victim of mistreatments with refugees and the people who are drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while coming to Italy. Especially this year so far, as everyone knows, more than one thousand seven hundred people are being drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, so, L’OSPITE/THE GUEST is just a small tribute to all those victims. Therefore it caught the attention of the juries of both festivals to assign the awards to this short film.       

Kabul Press: Thank you very much for your time.

Amin Wahidi: Thanks for your interview.


Source: This Interview was first published on KABUL PRESS .ORG 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Manu On The Road: Amin Wahidi’s newest film project 2015 - 2016

“Manu On The Road” is an independent observational feature documentary, produced by Deedenow Cinema Production ® Afghanistan in the year 2015-2016. This independent low-budget documentary follows the activities and artistic evolution process of the artist (singer/songwriter) Manuela Pellegatta during her career in the year 2015 by covering her activities in 360 degrees.

The activities Manuela Pellegatta conducts are; her live concerts in pubs, bars, discotheques, theater halls and restaurants as well as her live on-the-road performances on regular basis. 

In addition, some of Manuela Pellegatta’s radio interviews and live performances are recorded in this documentary as well.
This documentary not only simply depicts the activities and artistic performances of the artist, but it also pictures the efforts she makes step by step as a female artist to excel in her career and how these struggles are seen by the others in the society.   

Manuela Pellegatta’s courageous performances on the road in Milan has confirmed her as an admirable artist in Milan; her fan page on social network has got a vast Milanese public of listeners and admirers which shows that she is applauded at least by three thousand fans who had joined her on the social network after listening to her live performances on the road.

Though Manuela Pellegatta’s fast growing fan page shows her strong position on the social network, and her daily contact with different group of people, introduces her more and more, but in comparison to her unique voice and extraordinary talent she got, it is not enough, and she is worth beyond that.

Therefore the makers of the feature documentary MANU ON THE ROAD, who have discovered Manuela Pellegatta’s unique talent, aim to introduce this singer/songwriter to a vaster public further than only Milan and beyond Italian borders.  

The documentary is an observational work concentrated on Manuela Pellegatta, without interference of a second or third person, except when the artist is involved in group works. It is shot in an experimental way and a free style filming without creating any interruption or disturbance for the artist or the group she works with. 

The director of this documentary is M. Amin Wahidi a Hazara refugee filmmaker from Afghanistan, who lives and work in Italy since late 2007.

For more information about the director and his previous works:

Manuela Pellegatta's Photo Gallery  

The Persian Dinner (2015) A film by M. Amin Wahidi

Deedenow Cinema Production ® Afghanistan,
Remspot Italia & Hazara People International Network

In collaboration with

The Persian Dinner (2015)
A film by M. Amin Wahidi

The Persian Dinner is the debut feature film by the Hazara director from Afghanistan, M. Amin Wahidi who is a political refugee in Italy. It is an independent low-budget film.
This social drama feature film is located in Milan of Italy, the city in which the World Expo 2015 takes place with the hope of economical reinforcement and job opportunities for this city but the event has so far been blended with scandals of corruption and luck of punctuality on completion of the projects.

The story of The Persian Dinner which takes place in one of social centers of Milan, not only pictures the cultural clashes and differences between the native Italians and the newly becoming Italians, but it also points out the Expo 2015 and the scandals behind it; financial corruption on one side and a huge number of unemployment during this grand occasion on the other side.
The Persian Dinner is a film about social classes, integration, racism, friendship, Expo, corruption, love, hate and more than all, the clashes between the old and the new generation of Italian society, nowadays.

Italians are traditionally well known for the concept of family values they keep, while on the other hand “betrayal” has always been a challenge against these values, but are these “family values” still reserved and respected in the contemporary Italy?

What “friendship” could mean in our nowadays contexts, how people “change” in “different circumstances” and how a “cultural clash” could break relationships in an eye-blink, and finally, is “multiculturalism”, as mingle of Europeans with the “non-European newcomers” in this continent “still functional” or is it already “failed”?   
They are some of the questions that “The Persian Dinner” tends to bring into the attention of the viewers.

Andrea a theatre actor, son of Cesare Potente, a rich art dealer, with his girlfriend Elena invite his friends in a social center to present a film project and get it produced by famous Milanese producer brothers Stefano and Giordano Lombardo. They also invite famous actor, Marcello Marcelli to convince the producers for the investment, and a relatively famous director of social movies, Guido Tommasi to direct the movie. As a guarantee for the production of the film, Andrea offers to the producers the documents of his father’s museum house inherited from his grandfather.

With the help of their Persian friends Arash, Pari and Mahtab, they prepare an enormous Persian dinner to enliven the night and late everyone enjoy it. But when Arash, Pari and Mahtab get busy in dancing with a Persian music while cooking, most of the food burns and almost nothing remains to serve the invitees. They call a Persian restaurant in the city and order the food.

The food arrives from outside and they all eat well, admiring the Persian girls for their cooking, as none of the guests knows about the fact that they brought everything from outside.

Once the Persian restaurant rescued them from the first disaster of the night but after the dinner, when they are to discuss about the project, there are still things to show up to ruin the night.  

By the arrival of Silvia, a friend invited by Elena who hasn’t seen her for years, Stefano Lombardo’s night goes ruined as he faces his ex-fiancée who left him at once and disappeared without any reason, three years ago.  

When Rosa, a recently unemployed black young lady enters the social center, where she lives now after she’s lost her job, the famous producer Giordano Lombardo’s sense of racism erupts and began treating her in a bad manner.  

And when the discussions reach to Expo 2015, the director, Guido Tommasi who’s famous for films with labor and social issues, takes a position against Expo and there is a fight between him and the producers who are pro Expo 2015.

The writers of screenplay, Azra and Mourad both refugees, and Azra’s girlfriend Laura who are all admirers of Guido Tommasi also take position against the producers and leave the session one after the other.    

The atmosphere is still dense and it gets worse when Andrea’s father comes into the social center to tell him an important secret of his life; it is when Andrea discovers the other face of his father, this way, the night goes deeper and darker in the hotchpotch of misunderstandings, betrayals, sense of guilt and sense of revenge, but will all this harshness be erased by the coming dawn or perhaps in continues for ages? Nobody can predict it. 

This film is not only the story of a relationship between a father and a son, but it is the tale of two different generations, as well as two different points of views about the world around us.       
World and European Premiere
As the debut feature film of its director The Persian Dinner is intended to be presented in the Orizzonti, Giornate degli Autori, and Settimana Internazionale della Critica sections of 72a Mostra Internazionale D’arte Cinematografica di Venezia 2015 for its World and European Premiere.
Background and Inspiration
The director of the film, in addition to having a lot of Persian friends in Milan and elsewhere, as a refugee in Milan has come through a long process of integration into his new home, which of course has not been easy and without problems. His social position as a new comer in Italy and his personal experiences through the years of living, studying and working in Italy has inspired M. Amin Wahidi for writing The Persian Dinner.

Deedenow Cinema Production ® Afghanistan (
Remspot Italia ( 
Hazara People International Network (
Ri-make- Milano (

Media Partners:

Director’s Filmography and Works in Progress

1-     The Red Shoes (short) 20′  2003 Kabul- Afghanistan
About: The struggles of Narges, a little girl who doesn’t have shoes to go to school with.

2-     Treasure In The Ruins (short) 27′ 2007 Kabul- Afghanistan
About: Homa, seven years old, instead of going to school, looks for treasures in the ruins of Kabul suburbs to cure her sick mother with.

3-     Within The Mists (short) 30′ 2011 Milan- Italy
About: Mr. X is an artist (writer-poet-painter) who finds himself imprisoned in a big city and at the end decides to leave the city and its crazy people for a destination he doesn’t know.  

4-     The Guest/L’Ospite (short) 19′  2014 Milan- Italy (Winner of Venice City Award 2014)
                                       Winner of CARPINE D’ARGENTO AWARD 2015 in Visciano- Naples
About: A refugee arrives in Venice after three times of deportation to Greece. He is searching for hospitality for one night, but could anyone take home a clandestine newcomer?

5-     The Fighter (short) 20′ 2014 Milan- Italy
About:  A Hazara former champion of Kickboxing is trying to obtain his glory once again but will he overcome all challenges with all hardships for the refugees in Italy?!

6-     La Cena Persiana / The Persian Dinner (debut feature fiction) 100′ 2015 Milan- Italy
About: A young couple organizes a Persian dinner with the help of their Persian friends and invite a couple of producers to get a film project produced, but all goes wrong during the discussions after dinner as different secrets reveal among the invitees one after the other. 

7-     Manu On The Road (feature documentary) 90 ′ 2016 (in progress) Milan- Italy
About: This feature documentary depicts the artistic evolution and the activities of an artist (singer-songwriter) Manuela Pellegatta who sings and plays on the roads in Milan during the year 2015. It is a testimony on how the singer thrives to get recorded, published and distributed her first album.   

8-     Tesoro Nascosto (short documentary) 20′ 2016 (in progress) Milan- Italy
About: The activities of an eighty-two-year* old Milanese artist, G.M who still works in this age without getting tired. He has always tried to live a low profile life, keeping himself away from media attention.    

9-     Twelve Bicycles (feature docu-fiction) 90′ 2017 (in preparation) Milan- Stockholm
About: This docu-fiction pictures some particular, socio-cultural differences between Swedish and Italian societies. This docu-fiction is to be shot both in Italy and in Sweden in the year 2017.        

THE PERSIAN DINNER Backstage Photo Gallery


For more information about the film and the director;

Official Facebook page of the film: