Seifollah Dad (1955-2009)
The Rain and its Rainbow
by Asghar Naeimi
Seifollah Dad’s death was premature, but not unexpected. Since a few years ago, when his malignant tumor was growing, he had almost died several times and it was evident that someday he would succumb to his illness, though everybody wished that his death would be delayed. He was among few cinema officials who had both a higher-than-standard track record in professional areas – as director, editor, and production manager – and was also prominent in guild-related and managerial activities. Apart from occasional criticism of his managerial approach, Seifollah Dad was an influential and respectable manager of the Iranian cinema. What follows is a tribute to him whose void is felt more than any time before.
At a glance: Graduate of sociology from Shiraz University; in charge of Shiraz radio and television from 1979 to 1982 producing and writing radio programs; member of screenplay production and assessment council for Channel 1 of the Iranian television from 1982 to 1984; starting his professional career in cinema by making Under the Rain in 1985; member of cultural department of Farabi Cinema Foundation; head of the Islamic Center for Filmmaking Studies; chairman of House of Cinema directorate from 1995 to 1997; deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance for cinema affairs from 1997 to 2001.
Filmography: Under the Rain (screenwriter and director, 1985); Kani-Manga (screenwriter and director, 1987), Children of Divorce (editor, 1989), Sacrificed for Love (editor, 1990), Lucifer (editor, 1990), Hoor on Fire (editor and director’s advisor, 1992), Kirkuk Operation (editor, 1992), From Karkheh to Rhine (project manager, 1993), The Survivor (screenwriter and director, 1995), Morning Son (editor, 2009).
This is how I remember Seifollah Dad: He had been just elected as managing director of House of Cinema, when I went there to follow up a guild-related issue. To write a letter, I and a number of friends had to sit on the stairs. When Dad was going out of the building and passing by me, he told me in a quite friendly tone that the stairs were not a good place to write a letter. When one of my friends protested to him saying that since there was no good place, “where are we supposed to write our letter?” he just shrugged; that is, “I don’t know.”
Less than a week later, when I went back there, I noticed that they had put some furniture outside the managing director’s room, so that, nobody had to write a letter when standing up or sitting down on the stairs.
This lingered in my mind until early days after his appointment as deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance for cinema, when I went to the ministry. Before Dad took over, people had to wait for long hours in corridors. It was Dad who, for the first time, ordered chairs to be put in the corridor. Even now and about 10 years after his resignation from that post, the chairs are still there to accommodate clientele. That delicate move toned down the heavy atmosphere at the ministry.
He was like that. He paid full attention to apparently trivial details and more than anything, he tried to make his audience comfortable both as a political and cultural official, and a professional filmmaker and whether his measures were limited to buying some chairs or trying to get a cinema law passed. He started everything from the very beginning and with due care for rules and accepted conventions.
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2009, Film International
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