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The Glass House

Synopsis

The fringes of Iranian society can be a lonely place, especially if you are a teenage girl with few resources to fall back on. THE GLASS HOUSE follows four girls striving to pull themselves out of the margins by attending a one-of-kind rehabilitation center in uptown Tehran. Forget about the Iran that you’ve seen before. With a virtually invisible camera, the girls of THE GLASS HOUSE take us on a never-before-seen tour of the underclass of Iran with their brave and defiant stories: Samira struggles to overcome forced drug addiction; Mitra harnesses abandonment into her creative writing; Sussan teeters on a dangerous ledge after years of sexual abuse; and Nazila burgeons out of her hatred with her blazing rap music. This groundbreaking documentary reflects a side of Iran few have access to or paid attention to: a society lost to its traditions with nothing meaningful to replace them and a group of courageous women working to instill a sense of empowerment and hope into the minds and lives of otherwise discarded teenage girls.

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The Filmmakers

Hamid Rahmanian Filmmaker, Producer

Hamid Rahmanian is a filmmaker and graphic designer. He holds a B.F.A. from the University of Tehran in Graphic Design and earned a M.F.A. in Computer Animation in 1997 from Pratt Institute in New York City. He received “The First Place College Award” (a student Emmy) from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and was nominated for a Student Academy Award for his animation, THE SEVENTH DAY, among other awards in 1997. His first 35 mm film, a 19 minute experimental short, AN I WITHIN, received Kodak’s "Best Cinematography Award" and “Best American Short” from the LA Int’l Short Film Festival. Mr. Rahmanian has made three documentaries on video: BREAKING BREAD (2000), SIR ALFRED OF CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT (2001) and SHAHRBANOO (2002), all of which have been well received by the media and worldwide audiences. In 2003, Mr. Rahmanian co-founded ARTEEAST. In 2005 he completed his first feature length film entitled DAY BREAK, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He completed THE GLASS HOUSE in the fall of 2008 where it premiered at IDFA in The Netherlands and Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah in 2009.

Melissa Hibbard Producer

Melissa Hibbard is a photographer and filmmaker. She earned her BA in Moving Image Arts in 1996 from the College of Santa Fe where she studied documentary filmmaking. Upon graduation, she moved to Los Angeles and worked in the film industry as an art director on feature films for five years. Her photographs have been exhibited in the US and abroad over the past 6 years. She produced four documentaries on video: BREAKING BREAD (2000), which premiered on PBS and SIR ALFRED OF CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT (2001). Both have been well received by the media and worldwide audiences. SHAHRBANOO (2002) premiered on PBS where it received among the highest ratings for an independently produced documentary. THE GLASS HOUSE (2008), produced in association with Sundance Channel, premiered at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November 2008 and Sundance Film Festival in 2009. In 2003, she co-established a non-profit organization – ARTEEAST - its mission statement to promote the arts and cultures of the Middle East and it’s worldwide diasporas in the United States; she was a board member and the ArteEast Online Director through 2007.

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2009

Official Selection

IDFA

2009

Official Selection

Reviews

The women's stories are heartbreaking and their voices hold strength…[they] have spirit to spare.”

-Eye for Film

Outreach

THE GLASS HOUSE enjoyed a seven-city tour, during which the founder of the Omid-e-Mehr Center traveled with the filmmakers to answer questions from audiences and to attend fundraising events. They raised $60,000 for the Center, in addition to bringing attention to the issues raised in the film. They are currently launching a new initiative called “New Day of Hope” which will entail a series of community screenings during Iranian New Year in March hosted by individuals and institutions across the US and Europe. The goal is to have 100 screenings raise $100,000 for the Center, and to generate an even wider audience and buzz for the film in advance of the DVD release.