In November 1979, a group of young Iranian revolutionaries took 63 hostages at the American Embassy in Tehran. This event echoed daily on television sets across America for 15 months, and soon enough Iranians living in the States were singled out because of their nationality. The dream of the American melting pot was over.

America 1979 is a short narrative in which an Iranian American teenage boy and his young sister are coming of age with world politics influencing how they behave, how they are treated, and ultimately who they will grow up to be.

In addition, we hope to create an online documentary archive consisting of short interviews with Iranians who lived in the U.S. during the time of the hostage crisis, to give voice to the Iranian community that lived through this charged time history that continues to inform how middle-eastern people are perceived and treated in America.

America 1979 is currently in development. Please check back frequently join us on Facebook or sign up on on our mailing list below to receive updates on the project. If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation, please click here or send us an email.

Who's Behind America 1979?

Lila Yomtoob is a New York based director and producer. Shortly after receiving her degree from NYU film school, she went on to direct and produce her first feature film, High Life. The "perfectly honed" and "razor sharp" micro-budget improv film premiered at San Francisco Indiefest in 2005 and screened at several festivals and non-traditional venues. High Life and several of her other short films have screened in galleries and festivals across North America, in Iceland and Montreal and have gone viral on youtube. Her current project, America 1979 is currently in development.

In addition to directing, Lila also produces and consults, specializing in marketing and distribution. As a producer she connect films with their audiences and helps directors understand and reach their goals. She co-produced Foreclosure, a feature length narrative starring Michael Imperioli, and produced Hidden Battles (feature length documentary) which premiered at Rhode Island International Film Festival, and has consulted on many other feature films. In 2006, Lila received an Emmy Award for sound editing on the HBO documentary Baghdad ER. Lila had the pleasure of working on over 40 films in post-production directed by the likes of Spike Lee, The Coen Brothers, Mary Heron, and John Cameron Mitchell.

Lila has also sat on the selection board for The Brooklyn International Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival and The Crown Point Festival. She has taught editing and distribution workshops, at Downtown Community Television (DCTV) and Raindance NYC. In 2007 was selected for the Talentcampus at the Reykjavik International Film Festival.

Lila was born into a working class immigrant family in the mid-seventies: a first generation American and the third of three children. Although she is the first Iranian Jew to win an Emmy, Lila has yet to make work about her ethnicity. She insists that her worldview, sense of humor, and storytelling is informed by her mix or Iranian, Iraqi, Jewish and American culture.

Find more about Lila on IMDB
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