Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Hollywood Came to Town

In 1974, Elizabeth Taylor boarded the first direct flight from L.A. to Tehran on Iran Air. Seen here at a party in Tehran.
Back in 2009 Khane Cinema, Iran’s largest film organization, invited a number of Hollywood actors, directors and producers to Tehran. Amongst those in the group were actress Annette Bening, Field of Dreams director Phil Robinson, William Horberg, producer of The Kite Runner and Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In addition to visiting various cultural venues throughout the city, the American delegation took part in workshops with their Iranian counterparts, on acting, directing and documentary filmmaking; all aimed at bridging a gulf of cultural misunderstanding and creating new friendships.

Yet despite this recent exchange, Hollywood has had a long history of engagement with Iran. Before the revolution it was not uncommon to find American filmmakers setting their stories amongst Iran’s diverse landscapes, while Hollywood stars made the trip to sample Tehran’s culture and Joie de vivre.

Elizabeth Taylor visiting Isfahan's Chehel Setoon on her 1974 trip to Iran.

Goldie Hawn in Tehran during the 1970’s.

Actress Jennifer O'Neill sits with her German Shepherd, Betts, while on location filming Caravans in Iran, 1978.

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