Director's Statement


Making of Bakhtiari Alphabet was a labor of love, full of challenges, adventure and an unparalleled transformational experience in our lives. 

When we set out to make this educational documentary, we were aware of a number of excellent films about the Bakhtiari tribe, their picturesque migration, traditions and customs.  What we aimed at was to get behind the majestic and beautiful portraits of this beautiful people and their exotic rituals to show how they are shaped and affected by the education they receive.  As far as we know, this film is the only documentary focused on life and education of the Bakhtiari in the context of their migratory lifestyle. 

And there were the adventures and the challenges.  A first time producer-director on a tight budget, Cima Sedigh had to work with a skeleton crew and minimal equipment and resources.  So, Mr. Reza Ghadyani aside from directing was also the sole cameraman, soundman, and lighting technician. Despite all the obstacles, we managed to produce a beautiful film using a shoulder held Sony DAVCAM-150, a news camera at best, for footage and sound in extreme cold, at high altitude and in inclement weather.  We did not have a sound crew or a production crew or any kind of crew.  It was Cima, Reza and one assistant during production and Ms. Manijeh Javid and Mr. Sajad Hosseini in a tiny post-production studio in Tehran. 

There were, of course, setbacks: Footage was stolen in 2001 and later in 2004, from a 21 day migration shoot, our vehicle kept breaking down, and there were no hotels in the mountains and villages of the Bakhtiari.  But there was no turning back.  We went back the next year and every year after that until we had enough footage.  In 2008, we worked feverishly in a small studio in Tehran, editing the film multiple times until it was completed. 

But above all, it was the majesty of the place and the beauty, warmth and magnificence of the Bakhtiari people that kept us going and which keeps beckoning us to return to a land and a people that have become part of our life, making us what we are.