By: Gelareh Kiazand
Born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran, Gelareh Kiazand studied Fine Arts in London, England before pursuing a degree in Media Arts at Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada. By the time. she graduated in 2003, she had made two short films that were shortlisted for various festivals such as the Montreal International Film Festival, the. Student Showcase at TIFF, New York Independent Film Festival and the Fajr Film Festival. Kiazand returned to Iran in 2003, working in the film industry for six years, initially as a film photographer on six feature films by worldrenowned directors such as Bahman Farmanara, Khosrow Sinai, Ebrahim Hatamikia and Kiarostami. Later she began filming short films and documentaries for directors such as Rakhshan Bani-etemad and Houman Seyedi. She received three separate nominations in film photography at the Fajr Film Festival and wa chosen to be a part of a group exhibition at Tehran’s Museum of Modern Art, curated by Seifollah Samadian. Alongside this, she had her solo photography exhibits on Iran’s theatre performances aswell as her behind the scenes film photography. In 2007 and 2008, she was awarded best cinematography for Houman Seyedi’s short film and shared an award for her first feature documentary at the Tehran Film Festival.
Her co-produced feature documentary was a chronicle of the behind the scenes of 15 short films by Iran’s top directors called “Persian Carpets.” Following her work in Iran, she began work in Kabul, Afghanistan between the years of 2010 and One of her roles was as a creative director for a young Afghan team within Afghanistan’s top media company. She also shot and directed documentaries that focused on women’s issues and healthcare. This led her into working with Vice, where she produced and did correspondent work on stories in Tehran, Kabul, Kandahar, India and Antarctica. In 2015, she joined efforts with producers from Bill Murray’s film, Paramount Pictures and Brad Pitt’s Company, Plan-B to produce and film for their 2nd unit in Afghanistan. She has recently set up her own company, Seeto Productions, which means “for you” in the Lorry dialect, with colleagues Katty Arsanjoon and Reza Ghiabi, producing, directing and filming for both fiction and feature non-fiction projects for various local and international clients. She became Iran’s first female Director of Photography, post-revolution, for a feature Iranian film in 2016 directed by Ali Ahmadzadeh. She chronicles some of her travels in her TEDxTehran talk and samples of her work can be seen on Seeto Productions’ website.
The photographs below take you on a journey through some of these projects: Kiazand’s first photo to be published in Iran, January 2004. Scene from “Be Rangeh Arghavan” Hatamkia. “I believe this was the photo that essentially paved the way for my photography work”