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Iranian Studies: Alborz: We Climb Mountains Film Screening

January 7 @ 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
314 Royce Hall,

Alborz High school was initially an American Presbyterian missionary institution in Tehran that began as a grade school in 1873, in 1924 it became a junior college and in 1928 an accredited liberal arts college.

After many upheavals and the forced departure of its founder, Dr. Samuel Martin Jordan in 1940, it was transformed into the Alborz High School for boys, under the watchful eyes of Dr. Mohammad-Ali Mojtahedi, the famed Iranian educator. The school sent its bright graduates to top universities in Iran and around the world; some institutions even waived the entrance exams to admit them. Alborz graduates are now important businessmen, distinguished physicians, scientists and academics in the best academic centers in Iran and abroad, among them the acclaimed architect Hossein Amanat, the famous physicist Firouz Partovi, and eminent mathematicians Cumrun Vafa and Mehdi Zarghamee.

Dr. Mojtahedi was not only a successful leader of this school from 1942 to the 1979 Revolution, but a significant initiator of modern education in Iran. He turned Alborz into the highest-ranking school for boys and later helped founding the renowned Technical University of Aryamehr (later Sharif) University of Technology, which took in Alborz graduates and top students from other schools.

Alborz: We Climb Mountains (2023, 86 mins.), tells the story of the school during many tumultuous years in Iran’s modern history, from the perspectives of its graduates, teachers, and even Dr. Mojtahedi’s own voice from archival recordings; it tells it with humor, fondness, and nostalgia for a bygone era. It exemplifies what has been lost in the years since the 1979 Revolution and why today so many among the bright and promising young Iranians sound critical of current policies and administrative mishandling of one of their country’s once top educational institutions.

About the Director:

Maryam Sepehri is an award-winning, Iranian-American documentary filmmaker. Initially earning a medical degree, she went on to work in a lab where she quickly realized her heart was in filmmaking and so educated herself in her true vocation. After achieving a B.A. in filmmaking and an M.A. in photography she pursued documentary filmmaking, focusing on human expression and learning. She has made several well-received documentaries, winning a number of prestigious awards as well as having a number of short stories published.

Other Documentaries by Maryam Sepehri:

Rain Once Again (2012)

  • Awarded the Best Documentary Film, Sooreh International Short Film Festival

Thicker than Paint (2013)

  • Awarded the Special Cream City Cinema Jury Prize, The 5th Milwaukee, Film Festival WI, USA 2013
  • Awarded Achievement in Filmmaking, Stony Brooke Film Festival NY, USA 2015
  • Nominated for Best Direction (semi-feature length), 8th Cinéma Vérité, the Iran International Documentary Film Festival.

Mouth Harp in Minor Key: Hamid Naficy on/in Exile (2017)

  • Awarded for the Best Film and Best Original Music Score, 10th Iran Documentary Film Festival 2018
  • Nominated for the Best Feature Documentary and Best Editing, Fusion Film Festivals, London UK 2019
  • Nominated for The Best Film, FIDBA Film Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018

Her latest documentary “Alborz, we climb mountains” is about an American Presbyterian missionary institution in Tehran.


January 7
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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314 Royce Hall