Work inspired by filmmaker's struggle to flee Iran

SCREEN TEST: Work begins on Kurosh Asemani's short film, My Name is Ashti

SCREEN TEST: Work begins on Kurosh Asemani's short film, My Name is Ashti

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Darlington)

A FILMMAKER who fled his homeland after criticising the regime is producing a film inspired by his struggle.

Kurosh Asemani fled Iran when he was 19 after his student friends were arrested for dissent.

He escaped to Turkey before making his way to Britain and is now living in Darlington, after being granted asylum.

The 33-year-old, whose love of film was sparked by a trip to the cinema when he was around nine years old, has written a short film inspired partly by his own experiences, and those of other asylum seekers he has met.

It follows a young Kurdish boy named Ashti who flees his homeland under Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime.

His family are wiped out in a chemical attack and, after living in a refugee camp for a number of years, he makes the decision to flee his home country and travel to Britain.

Mr Asemani said: “When Ashti is in Britain he meets three girls who have no hope, they are drinking and smoking. They do not give much thought about their future and do not think their country is a good country.

“But Ashti tells them his story and how he has suffered, and how much he loves this country. He inspires the girls to make more of their lives and appreciate what they have got.”

He said the film - titled My Name is Ashti - is inspired by his love of Britain and is a tribute those who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I love this country - I think that if more countries were like Britain, the world would be a better place,” he added.

Mr Asemani was part of the student movement in Iran, demanding freedom, democracy and human rights.

He fled his country by escaping into the mountains, often going without food for days on end.

“When you are young you believe you can change the world. You do not know how you should behave and you do not care much about the threats,” he said.

“You are standing up against a huge power without realising what might happen to you.”

Mr Asemani is creating the film with help from members of the Arc, in Stockton, and is looking for an Asian male actor, aged around 20 to 25.

Anyone who has filmmaking skills who would also like to be involved can contact Mr Asemani on 07963-605-415.

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