An Interview with Mash-Up Americans

While I was in Los Angeles for our Hollyshorts screening, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mash-Up Americans’ editor Suevon Lee and talking about America 1979. Mash-Up Americans is a great website dedicated to all things American – from the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic perspective.

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America 1979 receives a Puffin Foundation Grant

We are very pleased to share that America 1979 has been awarded a grant from the Puffin Foundation to continue our outreach and distribution efforts. We are humbled to be included amongst the important projects Puffin supports. A bit about the Puffin Foundation: The Puffin Foundation Ltd. has sounght to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunitites due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. Why the Puffin? The Puffin, once endangered in the northeastern United States, was returned to it’s native habitats through the efforts of a concerned citizenry. Our name is a metaphor for how we perceive our mission in the arts: to join with the other concerned groups and individuals to ensure that the arts not merely survive, but thrive at all levels of our society. To learn more, visit... read more

Noor Iranian Film Festival

October 19, 2014 – 3:30pm – LA Our Los Angeles Premier is coming soon on October 19 at 3:30pm. Check out the Noor Film Festival Site for tickets and details. Here is more information that was not shown in the... read more

A Few Photos from the set of “America 1979”

We are taking a short break from editing, which gives me a few extra free moments to share some photos with you! Cast and Crew try out their hand at cursive on the blackboard. From left to right:  Andre Gulik (Extra) Liene Dobraja (wardrobe designer) Sondra James (Ms. Ambrose) Greg Horoupian (producer) Guy Kozak (production designer) and Yessica Curiel-Montoya (swing). From left to right: Lila Yomtoob (Director/Producer), Adrian Correia (Director of Photography), Kathy Lee (Location Sound Mixer), Solya Spiegel (Regina), Anne Pope (boom operator) and our classroom extras prepare for a classroom scene. Jordan Gatti (grip), Yessica Curiel-Montoya (swing) and Chris Ungco (1st AC) make an eye patch for one of our crew members who got some dust in his eye. This crew could do anything.  Nico Pollack (Bobby) and Chris Ungco (1st AC) rock out in Bobby’s groovy bedroom. From left to right: Nico Pollak (Bobby), Soraya Broukim (Roya), Solya Spiegel (Regina) and Ali Farahnakian (Bijan) posing for a family portrait. Julie Spiegel and Adriana Najera, the moms of our child stars. Big shout out for the moms for encouraging their kids to explore their creativity and be in the film. Roya (played by Soraya Broukhim, reaches out during rehearsal of the family meeting scene. Also in this photo: (from L to R) Anne Pope (boom operator) Zach Meyer (2snd Assistant Camera/DIT) Jordan Gatti (grip), Soraya Broukim (Roya) Nico Pollak (Bobby) and Solya Spiegel (Regina). Production Designer Guy Kozak puts finishing touched on the family living room. Director of Photography Adrian Correia surveys the next... read more

The Scallion Wars: Passover Iranian Style

I felt honored to write this comedic expose of Passover Iranian Style for a great blog called Sex and Fessenjoon. I’M A JEWISH IRANIAN IRAQI AMERICAN. Yes, it’s a mouthful. Every year my family would have a Passover Seder. My mother would cook and clean for a week until relatives appeared, often sleeping over on any available surface in our house. My dad would sit at the head of the table with his special Hagada (prayer book), and lead a ritual that lasted all evening long. Take a... read more

Ajam Media Collective

Thank you Ajam Media Collective, for asking me to write about my motivation for making “America 1979.” From the forward by Ajam editor Alex Shams: The Iran Hostage Crisis was a seminal event in the experiences of thousands of Iranian-Americans. Although many Iranians had settled in the United States in the decades prior to 1979, they had largely blended into the seemingly undifferentiated mass of olive-skinned immigrants who poured in following the repeal of the racialized immigration quotas in 1965. The Hostage Crisis dramatically transformed how Americans understood Iranians as well as how Iranian-Americans viewed themselves. Once peculiarly exotic, Iranians suddenly emerged as the primary targets of a xenophobic American rage that led to a wave of hate crimes and widespread discrimination. To read the rest of the article, go to:... read more

Casting children’s roles for “America 1979” on Wed. July 24th

AMERICA 1979 **Casting Notice** seeking children for short film AMERICA 1979 is a short film about a 9 year old girl who experiences racism at school and how her experience trickles down through her family. What makes this film different is that the girl is Iranian American and it takes place during the 1979 Hostage Crisis. AMERICA 1979 is directed and produced by Emmy Award winning Iranian American filmmaker Lila Yomtoob. To learn more about the film, please visit We are planning to shoot the film for three days in September 2013 in Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens or New Jersey. Compensation is $100/day for 3 days. There will also be rehearsal dates in August. We are auditioning children at the Great Neck Arts Center – 113 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, NY 11021 on Wednesday July 24th from 5:00-8:00pm. No acting experience necessary. If possible, please bring a printed photo with you to the audition. The audition will between 5 and 15 minutes. If you have any questions, or would like to send your photo ahead of time please email It is preferred that the children are Iranian American, but it’s also ok if they are other ethnicities but pass for Middle Eastern. Following are descriptions of the children we are looking for: Regina –  a 8-10 years old girl, who speaks English with an American accent. Smart and quiet, with a spark of troublemaker. An avid reader. Medium to long black or brown hair. Bobby – a 13-15 year old boy, who speaks English with an American accent. Slim, preferably with grown out, shaggy hair. Naïve and respectful, but grumpy toward... read more

…and we’re back!

After an unexpected hiatus, “America 1979” is back in action with production scheduled for September 2013. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for frequent... read more

Interview with Suzi Khatami at KIRN Los Angeles

Ms. Suzi Khatami graciously invited me onto her radio show during my quick visit to LA a few weeks ago. She is such an important part of Tehrangeles culture, that I am increasingly psyched every time she has me back.  In case you missed it, you can listen to part of the interview... read more

Fundraising Has Begun

You can make a tax-deductible contribution to our Nest Egg Campaign, by clicking here. The Nest Egg Campaign is our first round of fundraising that will contribute equipment and website upgrades, as well as future fundraising activity. All donations, no matter what size, are greatly appreciated. “America 1979” is a project of Yomtoob Film, which is sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of “America 1979” must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by... read more

Mickey Mouse says “Hey Iran! F-YOU!”

Today I was researching imagery to use in the “America 1979” fund raising video. I remembered a friend telling me about a bumper sticker that cropped up in 1979 that read “We Play Cowboys and Iranians.” I was hoping to find visual proof of this bumper sticker, that so far has not been preserved online. But I did find a few images of Mickey Mouse giving the middle finger with the text “Hey Iran!” I found these images as a signature in a forum, and as an illustration to an article discussing the post 9/11 war in Afghanistan. We all know that Afghanistan and Iran are separate countries, and that 32 years has passed since this Mickey Mouse image was issued. So why continue to use this image? It’s hard to tell why these individuals used these images.  It seems to me that the villainization of Iranians (and all Middle-Easterners) that began in 1979 with the hostage crisis has never died, and remains an undercurrent in the portrayal of the middle east in the media, and in the psyche of many Americans. I couldn’t possibly end this without mentioning a forum thread from 2008 that I found, about a poster that featured a “guy holding the sword next to the Iranian hanging from a noose” and ends with “let’s get together and shoot another one!”   I made this short film about an Iranian American family living in the US during the time of the hostage crisis, to show what what life was like. You can rent it below. ... read more

Lila blogs about blogging for Jon Reiss’s “Think Outside the Box Office”

For those unfamiliar, Jon Reiss literally wrote the book on new methods of independent film distribution – it’s called – yes, you guessed right – “Think Outside the Box Office.” I was consulting his blog as I as writing the outline for a class on marketing and distribution that I was teaching at Union Docs for Raindance and I decided I would write him a thank you note for putting together such an important compendium of resources. I was quite surprised when he asked me to write a guest post for his blog. And so what did this comedienne decide to blog about? I blogged about blogging. I wasn’t even trying to be funny! But really folks, I do alot of blogging as a producer, because I think it helps in so many ways. Check out the article... read more

Trippin to Los Angeles (the Motherland)

I will be in Los Angeles Oct 26 – 31 and the bay area from Oct 21 – 26 to meet with potential advisory board members for America 1979 and visit with friends and family. Look out for exciting announcements! In the mean time I look forward to delicious osh and my dad’s kookoo, and getting stared at by the older ladies at Eilat Market whoa re trying to figure out if I am Persian or not. “Irani... read more

10202010 – An auspicious day for a project launch!

This is our first blog post here at America 1979. Thanks for tuning in! If you don’t know much about how independent movies are made, the first rule of thumb is that there are a lot of steps in making a film, and it either takes a lot of people (and money) or a lot of time. So bear with us (me) as we get up and running! While you are here, sign up for our mailing list, and either the facebook or twitter feeds. I hope visiting and interacting with America 1979 is interesting enough to keep you coming back for more! Speak your mind, tell me your thoughts…don’t be... read more


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