CMES Meet the Director Series presents
Designer and Director
Join CMES for a screening of Hamid Rahmanian's film version of Feathers of Fire, a spectacular shadow puppet play based on the Persian epic, Shahnameh.
Watch the trailer:
Free and open to the public; no tickets required. Seating is first come, first served.
The UNIMA award-winning Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic is a visually breathtaking cinematic shadow play for all ages. The play unfolds an action-packed magical tale of star-crossed lovers from the 10th-century Persian epic Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’), – Zaul and Rudabeh, who triumph at the end against all odds. Rahmanian's graphics, derived from the visual tradition of the region, are rendered as puppets, costumes, masks, scenography and digital animation, all of which will come to life on a cinema-size screen. Feathers of Fire had its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2016.
Since the late 1980s, New York–based Iranian artist Hamid Rahmanian has combined his love of traditional Persian art forms with modern technology to create new works of art that visually bridge the gaps of East and West. As a story-teller, his works have focused on people and issues that are rarely covered in the mainstream media, offering audiences new perspectives and intimate glimpses into otherwise little known worlds. The Persian epic, Shahnameh, is one of the most important literary works of the world. Written over 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi, the piece is just one example of Iran's rich and diverse culture. Rahmanian's goal in taking on this project was to present a more holistic view of Middle Eastern cultures, particularly that of Iran, to wider audiences by presenting stories and aspects of Shahnameh in different media, which they have titled “The Shahnameh Project”.
Hamid Rahmanian is a 2014 John Guggenheim Fellow. His work centers on theater, moving image, and graphic arts. His work has been exhibited in international competitions and publications. His films have screened at Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, and IDFA film festivals and broadcast on PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC, Channel 4, BBC, DR2, and Al Jazeera. Mr. Rahmanian undertook the immense task of illustrating and commissioning a new translation and adaptation of the tenth-century Persian epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, entitled Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings (2013). This best-selling 600-page art book, which the Wall Street Journal lauded as a “masterpiece,” is currently in its second edition (Liveright Publishing). In 2017, he released an immersive audiobook version of Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian King, with an introduction by Frances Ford Coppola. In 2018, he released a pop up book, entitled, Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King (Fantagraphics Books) in English and French which received the Meggendorfer Prize for the Best Pop Up Book and was hailed “Simply breathtaking” by Le Monde. In 2014, Rahmanian shifted his focus to theater arts, working with shadows and digital media. To date, he has created four theater pieces: Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King (2014), Mina’s Dream (2016, commissioned by the Onassis Foundation), UNIMA-USA award winning Feathers Of Fire (2016) which premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music and toured in 23 cities around the US and abroad to an audience of 100,000. In 2019, he was commissioned by Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble to create a video animation for their new multimedia project, Heroes Take Their Stand. Presently, Mr. Rahmanian is working on his new stage production, Song of the North.
Contact: Sheida Dayani