"Hayedeh: Legendary Persian Diva"
A Documentary by Pejman Akbarzadeh
Edit by: Mostafa Heravi & Gregory Macousi
Camera: Sholeh Zahraei, M. Heravi, Behyar Zolfaghari
Sound: Virgill Bijnaar, Poster Design: Kamran Ashtary
Time: 100 min., Language: Persian, Subtitle: English
“Hayedeh Legendary Persian Diva” is a 2009 documentary film about the late Iran's iconic singer Hayedeh, made by the exiled musician and journalist Pejman Akbarzadeh in The Netherlands.
The 100-min. documentary was filmed in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and USA. The language of the film is Persian with English subtitles.
“Hayedeh Legendary Persian Diva” contains an extensive review of the singer's artistic activities from the beginning in late 1960s at Radio Tehran to the end in 1990 in California.
The documentary looks at Hayedeh's career against the backdrop of political and social upheaval in Persia as the nation went from monarchy to revolution to protracted war that forced many of its best and brightest into exile. In one of the first frames of the documentary, the director writes: "Since the 1979 revolution in Persia (Iran), which brought a fundamentalist religious government to power, women have not been allowed to sing in public. All Persian women singers were forced to end their careers and many of them moved abroad to sing. Hayedeh (1942-1990) was one of those who fled Iran."
“Hayedeh Legendary Persian Diva” includes rare videos, audio clips, photos, and original interviews with the main figures of her career: the songwriters Andranik, Mohammad Heydari, Anoushirvan Rohani, Farid Zoland, Sadegh Nojouki, producer Manouchehr Bibiyan, conductor Farnoush Behzad, music critic Mahmoud Khoshnam, tar soloist Parviz Rahman-Panah, and the last Persian queen Farah Pahlavi.
Left to right: Andranik, Parviz Rahman-Panah, Pejman Akbarzadeh, Los Angeles, April 2008
The Queen Farah Diba and Pejman Akbarzadeh, Washington DC, April 2009
Archival interviews of the lyricist Leila Kasra (Hedieh), singers Mahasti, Moein, Martik, and cinema actor Parviz Sayyad have been used to the film as well.
The documentary for the first time was screened on January 24, 2009 at Griffioen Cultural Center, associated to Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit. The event was organized on the occasion of 19th Anniversary of Hayedeh's death in exile. Holland's Persian community and US-/Europe-based Persian-language media warmly received the event. Before the screening, Voice of America's Persian TV, BBC Persian Radio, Radio Farda, etc. interviewed the director and broadcasted the trailer.
The documentary premiere in January 2009 in Amsterdam
In April 2009 the documentary was screened in an event organized by Rahaward Cultural Center in Aachen. In the German city some leftist Persian immigrants boycotted the event. Deutsche Welle correspondent wrote: "About 25 people were present for viewing the film, which was a source of bewilderment and disenchantment of the filmmaker and organizers of the event."
“Hayedeh, Legendary Persian Diva” had its sold-out US premiere at the 3rd Noor Film Festival in Los Angeles on May 1st, 2009. After the screening, the Hollywood Persian-American director Reza Badiyi in an interview with Homa Sarshar on Radio 670 KIRN described that as a "Chapter on the beauties of Hayedeh life".
The documentary was nominated as the ‘best documentary’ at Noor Film Festival in LA, May 2009
The documentary was also nominated as the "best documentary" at Noor Film Festival but according to BBC Persian TV's Aslan Hafezi: "Presentation of unveiled information in the film caused the objections of some of Hayedeh’s relations and fans."
“Hayedeh, Legendary Persian Diva” was also screened at the 9th International Exile Film Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden in October 2009. Following the sold-out screening at Hagabion Hall, Hooman Khalatbari, Graz-based opera conductor wrote in a review for BBC Persian website: "this is the first Persian documentary which covers all aspects of a singer's career and almost all important figures in the singer's artistic activity are present there". The opera conductor also wrote: "I believe Hayedeh's work will remain as a cultural memento for the next Persian generations".
Q & A session after the documentary screening at Int’l Exile Film Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden, Oct. 2009
“Hayedeh, Legendary Persian Diva” also was screened in December 2009 at the 4th Iranian Film Festival in Zaandam, Holland. The announcement of the screening was published in the national Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.
(Q & A session after the screening at 4th Netherland’s Iranian Film Festival, Dec. 2009)
In September 2009 the semi-official Fars News Agency in Tehran criticized Pejman Akbarzadeh for making a film about the "corrupt monarchist singer, Hayedeh".
The documentary has been partially supported by Radio Zamaneh Foundation and Ashtary Design in Amsterdam, Miec Marketing B.V. in The Hague and DelfanSolutions.com