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Roxana Saberi
Roxana Saberi


NYS Writers Institute, October 22, 2013
7:00 p.m. Film screening with commentary | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus [Note early start time]



Roxana Saberi, Iranian-American screenwriter and journalist who was imprisoned in Iran for 101 days on charges of espionage, will present her film on Iran’s forbidden underground music scene, NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS, on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. [note early start time] in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on the University at Albany uptown campus. The event is free and open to the public, and is part of the “Women of the Middle East Series” cosponsored by UAlbany’s Office of International Education, New York State Writers Institute, International Academic Program, Global Institute for Health and Human Rights, Women’s Studies, Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, and University Auxiliary Services.

No One Knows About Persian CatsAs part of the “Women of the Middle East” series, the UAlbany Office of International Education and the New York State Writers Institute will present a screening of the quasi-documentary film, NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS (Iran, 2009, 106 minutes, color, in Persian with English subtitles, directed by Bahman Ghobadi). Roxana Saberi, who co-wrote the screenplay, will provide film commentary and answer questions immediately following the screening.

The film offers a glimpse into Iran’s forbidden underground music scene. Recently imprisoned Iranian musicians attempt to put together a band and secure travel documents to play some concerts in Europe, all the while trying to avoid police detection for their illegal activity. The film won the Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the Miami Film Festival Audience Award.

Ty Burr of the Boston Globe calls it, “a tiny, wonderful movie about Iranian rock ’n’ rollers…. the director treats us to a fast, vibrant montage of Iranian faces and street scenes — as if to say, look, this is who we really are…. [The] message is exquisitely simple: Hear us. Please: Hear us.”

Roxana Saberi is an Iranian-American journalist, author, and human rights advocate. Raised in Fargo, North Dakota, she was crowned “Miss North Dakota” in 1997 and finished in the top ten finalists in the 1998 Miss America pageant, winning the Scholar Award. She holds degrees from Concordia College, Northwestern University, and Cambridge University, England.

Saberi moved to Iran in 2003 to work as a foreign correspondent for a U.S.-based news service, Feature Story News, and subsequently for the BBC. On January 31, 2009 she was arrested on charges of espionage by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court and sentenced to eight years in prison. The incident caused an international uproar. U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others, demanded her release, and Amnesty International took up her cause. Saberi began a hunger strike in April. On May 10, her sentence was overturned by an Iranian court on appeal.

Saberi’s book Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran (2010) chronicles the harrowing details of her 101-day imprisonment. Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Susanne Pari called it, “A spot-on chronicle of the paranoia and utter buffoonery of the Iranian government and its apparatchiks. . . . Saberi spent five months fighting for her life. She would say that she fought for her soul as well. Her redemption is this compassionate and courageous memoir.”

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.