The Tree that Remembers
/ Masoud Raouf /
In 1992 a young Iranian student hanged himself on the outskirts of a small Ontario town. Having escaped the Ayatollah's regime and found a new home in Canada, he could not escape his past. News of the young stranger's death hit home with Masoud Raouf. He too was part of the generation who fought for democracy during the reign of the Shah. With The Tree that Remembers, Raouf assembled a group of Iranians - all former political prisoners like himself, who were active in the democratic movement. Blending their testimony with historical footage and original artwork, he honours the memory of the dead and celebrates the resilience of the living.
Biography: Born in Iran in 1965, Masoud Raouf initially studied painting. He came to Canada in 1988 and enrolled in the animation program at Ontario's Sheridan College, where he directed the animated short Wings of Hope. He subsequently made Butterfly Over the Ocean (1996) and Many Lessons in Baidoa (1998), as well as directing a number of public service announcements and teaching at various institutions. He also produced the documentary Trial, directed by Moslem Mansouri. Over the years, he has developed a poetic style combining aesthetic experimentation with a strong commitment to human rights.
In 2002, he directed his first film for the National Film Board, the documentary The Tree that Remembers, in which he tries to understand what led to the suicide of an Iranian student who was living in Canada as a refugee. The film won the Silver Award for Best Canadian Documentary at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, the Golden Sheaf Award for Best Social Documentary at Yorkton and the Bronze Plaque at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.