Reza grew up in Iran and studied to be an architect, but he was outraged by the human rights injustices of the Shah's regime. At the age of 16, he protested by photographing the abuses and posting the pictures in public places. Eventually, he was caught by the Shah's secret police, imprisoned and tortured for five months. He believes that the Iranian government viewed photographs as actual weapons to contain and suppress.
The troubles in his homeland forced him into exile, which prompted him to tell the stories of others who’ve found themselves trapped by history. He explains, "Within you remains the memory of your lost country, and you may feel disappointment in the land where you are now living, the country you thought would be your promised land. And beyond the joy of being free, there remains, too, a feeling of mourning for your native land. … For the exile, the joys of the present are full of memories of the past."
This unflagging world traveler has worked along the front lines of war, particularly in Afghanistan, spending significant time with Ahmed Shah Massoud, the revered leader of the Northern Alliance. Massoud and his men battled the Russian occupation and then the Taliban before he was assassinated by Al Qaeda in 2001, two days before the events of 9/11. Reza is also the founder of Aina, which uses photography and other means of communication to educate and empower women and children by helping them develop these storytelling skills.
In Person: Reza
Dear Governor Hickenlooper
Inspired by the 2013 Mountainfilm selection Dear Governor Cuomo, this compiling by Colorado creatives follows Shane Davis (a.k.a. The Fractivist) as he guides us through a series of vignettes. These stories were collected from the state’s filmmakers, farmers, skiers, activists and concerned citizens and use both science and emotional appeal to explain why fracking is problematic in Colorado. This confident and brash film incorporates work from some previous Mountainfilm contributors, including Suzan Beraza (Bag It and Uranium Drive-In, Mountainfilm 2009 and 2013), Alexandria Bombach (“MoveShake” series and Common Ground), Pete McBride (Chasing Water and The Water Tower, Mountainfilm 2011 and 2013), Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Ice, Mountainfilm 2012) and Scott Upshur (The Local’s Bite, Mountainfilm 2012).