In Austria, refugees do not accept anymore being silenced and completely excluded from any possibility of integration. Arash T. Riahi, the Iranian exile film director said about refugees when his film was released in 2009 (director’s statement); “These are heroes who have done nothing except to escape from their homes on the day the struggle for their ideals could no longer be reconciled with any realistic hope of survival. The day when their past became the sum of the stories in their country, a land they had to flee merely in order to carry on living. Anyone who does not escape either conforms or fights. And anyone who fights, dies. That was the reality of the day when they decided to become refugees.”
In 2009 Arash T. Riahi’s authentic refugee feature film was released and won 23 International Film Awards. The film is based on true stories about a group of refugees trying desperately to reach the holy land of freedom. Arash T. Riahi said, “I was born in Iran and fled my homeland when I was 9 years old with my parents, hoping to be accepted as political refugees in Europe. My siblings were at that time too small to come with us. They joined us more than a year later thanks to my cousin and a friend of ours. So one of the stories in the film is very close to me. All the other stories are also based on true incidents of close friends or on stories that I’ve researched over the last few years. But the topic of this film was and will always be a big part of my life.”
Austria’s jury for Oscar nomination: For a Moment Freedom is a prime example of the cultural variety of the Austrian cinema, displaying in impressive fashion the ability of the director to translate experiences from his own life into a higher (artistic) film level. Convincing actors – many of them non-professionals – together with a confident visual style make For a Moment Freedom an emotional experience and a powerful debut for the director; this is his first feature film. (extract from press release, 2010)
Synopsis: Ali and Merdad, two young Iranian men, try to bring their cousins, Asy (7) and Arman (5), from Iran to Turkey in order to join their parents in Austria. Waiting for the visa in Ankara, they share their life with other refugees: a couple and their son desperate to prove to the authorities that they are victims of a political persecution, a Persian teacher and a young Kurd who fight their miserable situation with a big sense of humour.