Made by Jamshid Mojaddadi and Anson Hartford, the feature-length doc which is a joint production of Iran and the UK, will compete at Insights section of the 40th edition of the Canadian event.
‘Maya’, made in Persian language, is set in the Iranian city of Mashhad.
The film, subtitled in English, reflects upon the relationship among the man and nature. It sheds light over zoos as well.
The 85-minute doc is about Mohsen, an animal keeper in Mashhad Zoo. He is capable of training even the most dangerous predators. The ability has brought him close to Maya, a Bengal tiger. The two perform very fascinating shows in the zoo.
In the mesmerizing documentary, families, photographers, and celebrities alike from across Iran flock to the Mashhad Zoo for the main attraction: the close bond between the tiger and Mohsen, the taxidermist-turned-zookeeper who raised her from birth.
Feeding, petting and play-fighting are par for the course in this tiger’s enclosure. But Maya, for her part, has never tasted freedom. That is, until Mohsen takes her out of the zoo for a feature film shoot and unleashes her on open fields by the Caspian Sea. As Maya’s world breaks open, her latent instincts awaken, and the close ties between the tiger and trainer begin to unravel.
A true, modern-day story that unfolds with all the twists, turns and pathos of a timeless fable, this intimate and empathetic documentary brings us up close and personal with both its animal and human subjects, underlining the troubling power dynamics that have existed between humans and animals since the dawn of domestication.
The doc has already gone on screen at a number of global events, including the IDFA in the Netherlands, the Zurich Film Festival in Switzerland, and the DocPoint- Helsinki Documentary Film Festival in Finland.
The VIFF is “among the five largest film festivals in North America”, the event’s website reads.
More than 110 feature films and over 75 shorts will be screened at the 2021 edition of the festival.
The Vancouver International Film Festival is “a showcase of exceptional international cinema in one of the world’s most beautiful cities”, according to an online submission platform.
The 40th edition of the VIFF will take place in a hybrid form on October 1-11, 2021.