Docunight #40: Scenes from a Divorce

Directed by Shirin Barghnavard & Mohammad Reza Jahanpanah
2016 / 73 min
Persian with English Subtitles

Awarded the best documentary film in the 4rth Afghanistan International Women Film Festival, 2016 Nominated best directing and best producing of a documentary film in 18th Celebration of the Documentary Film, Tehran, 2016 Official Selection in 13th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival, Delhi, India, 2016 Official Selection in 4th Iranian Film Festival in Germany, Cologne, 2017 A young Iranian couple gets divorced after eight years of marriage. But they decide to continue living together in the same apartment to hide the news from the wife’s religious parents who won’t tolerate the idea. As time passes, keeping the parents in the dark becomes more challenging, as they happen to live one floor above this divorced couple in the very same building. After a year, the couple realizes things can no longer continue like this. They still keep their divorce a secret, however, as revealing the truth might entail something worse.

Date/Time: Aug 2, 7 PM – 9 PM
Location: 102 Chemistry Bldg, University Park, PA 16802-4615, United States

Summer Picnic!

As the new executive board is now in place, let’s have our first event a summer picnic with BBQ chicken, swimming, hiking, kayaks, canoes, beach volleyball, card games and much more fun stuff! It is going to be on last Saturday in July (July 29th) in Black Moshannon State Park Pavillion 4.
We will head out to from IST parking lot at 10 sharp, so if you are looking for a ride or you can give rides, please be at the lot by 10.

Don’t hesitate to bring your friends too, It will be fun! The event will be free for active members and 10$ for others. So bring cash or checks only. No credit cards possible. We strongly encourage you to become active members for the new year starting in this event by just paying the 20$ membership fee and use the many benefits for active members in such events throughout the year. CASH OR CHECKS ONLY!
Let’s see ya’ll there!


ISA Officers

Date/Time: Saturday, July 29 at 11 AM – 5 PM
Location: Black Moshannon State Park, Philipsburg, Pennsylvania 16866

Docunight #39 [Penn State]: 76′ 15″ with Abbas Kiarostami

76 Minutes and 15 Seconds with Abbas Kiarostami
Directed by Seifolah Samadian
2016 / 76 min
Persian with English Subtitles

Acclaimed photographer Seifollah Samadian, a long-time collaborator with Abbas Kiarostami, turns years of behind-the-scenes footage shot during their close creative partnership into a beautiful, understated and inspiring tribute to this giant of cinema by simply allowing us to watch, without commentary, Kiarostami at work.

Time: Wednesday, July 5, 7 PM – 9 PM.
Location: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, State College, Pennsylvania 16802.

Docunight #38 [State College]: Plane Grove

Plane Grove
Directed by Hadi Afarideh
2014 / 67 min
Persian with English Subtitles

This is the story and history of the longest street in the Middle East that expands 17 km from the south to the northern parts of the city of Tehran.This is also the largest plane grove, found in these parts with the plane trees lining and adorning the street all along its corridor.
This street holds the collective memory of the Iranian people and has been witness to the country’s most important social and political upheaval taking place in and around it. The street has gone through many reformations in step with the changes in the society; mass increase in population, changes in the governmental systems and social changes, to name a few, have all left their marks along the side of Vali e Asr Street. The street itself has changed names in line with the times, from Pahlavi to Mossadegh to the current Vali e Asr.

This engaging film is not only nostalgic in many ways, but educational as it provides a glimpse into Iran’s past century.

Date: Wednesday, June 7 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Location: Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, State College, Pennsylvania 16802

Docunight #37 [Penn State]: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party

Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party
Directed by Hassan Amini
2016 / 75 min
English / Persian with English Subtitles


In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed ‘king of kings’, celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history. Money was no object – a lavish tent city, using 37km of silk, was erected in a specially created oasis. The world’s top restaurant at the time, Maxim’s, closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event, a five-course banquet served to over sixty of the world’s kings, queens and presidents, and washed down with some of the rarest wines known to man. Over a decadent five-day period, guests were treated to a pageant of thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costume, a ‘son et Lumiere’ at the foot of Darius the Great’s temple, and the opening of the Azadi Tower in Tehran, designed to honor the Shah himself. Every party leaves a few hangovers. This one left a country reeling, never to recover. It crystallized the opposition, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. More than any other event, this party marked the break between the king of kings and the people of Iran he reigned over.

Date: Wednesday, May 3 at 7 PM – 9 PM ET.
Address: Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library, State College, PA 16801.

Docunight #36

Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
2015 / 91 min
Persian with English Subtitles

If the 18-year old Sonita had a say in things, Michael Jackson would be her father and Rihanna her mother!

She is a dreamer, always writing things about her big dream of becoming a famous rapper in her scrapbook. This, given the fact that women are not even allowed to sing in Iran! So for the time being, her only fans are the other teenage girls in the Tehran shelter; where as a refugee from Afghanistan, Sonita is getting help and counseling for the trauma she has suffered. As an added complication, her family has a very different future planned for her: As a bride in an arranged marriage, she is worth $9,000!

How can Sonita succeed in making her dreams come true?

Director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami tries to answer this question. In the film, Sonita makes her case through her music video by arguing against forced marriage practices that take away women’s freedom.

Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami is a Sundance Award-winning documentary filmmaker who was born in Tehran. She has a BA in cinema and an MA in animation. She has made several short and feature-length documentaries, and has done researches on “animated documentary” and Cyanosis is her work for her MA degree. Her research has been published as a book in Iran.

Her other documentary, “Going Up the Stairs: Portrait of an Unlikely Iranian Artist” was shown at Docunight in 2015.

Date: Wednesday, April 5 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Address: 102 Chemistry Bldg, University Park, PA 16802-4615, United States

Noerooz 1396 Gala

Dear Fellow-Iranians and all other friends,

ISA is once again proud to present Noerooz celebrations:

Date: Sunday, April 2 at 6:30 PM – 11:59 PM
Location: HUB Alumni Hall, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

As you must know, Noerooz is perhaps the most ancient Iranian tradition that celebrates the first day of Spring that is also the Iranian new year’s eve. Thus, the Noerooz Gala held every year by ISA at Penn State is not only the most prestigious event of the year, but it is one of the largest and most famous ones in the US. The night will include dance performances, traditional music performances, live concert by Faramarz Asef, Dj performances guaranteeing you the best times on the dance floor and of course delicious Iranian dishes, so come full of energy but hungry!

We will be selling tickets on the following occasions:

Wednesday, March 22nd, HUB-Robeson Center, table #6, 2:30-4:30 pm
Thursday, March 23rd, HUB-Robeson Center, table #4, 4-6 pm
Friday, March 24th, HUB-Robeson Center, table #6, 12-1 pm

Tickets are available with cash or checks. 30$ for students and 50$ for public. Credit/Debit cards are not possible. Please purchase your tickets with haste as they are liable to sell out quickly.

Let’s have a memorable evening together,

ISA officers

Know Your Rights: Immigration Law Information Session

The Iranian Student Association and the Coalition for Graduate Employees (CGE) are co-sponsoring an information session on immigration law with immigration attorney Craig Shagin.

The information session will start with a presentation outlining the revised travel ban and will end with a Q&A. We encourage attendees to bring both questions about the specifics of the travel ban as well as broader questions about the rights of international students and employees.

Penn State undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and community members are all invited to attend.

Date: March 24, Friday at 4:30 PM – 6 PM
Location: 113 IST building

MAX AMINI @ Penn State

ISA is proud to have the popular and super comedian Max Amini here at Penn State again on March 18th. Get your tickets at Max’s website at “” before they are sold out!

Docunight March 2017

The Penn State University Libraries and the Iranian Student Association are cosponsoring Docunight. Every first Wednesday of every month in 2017, Docunight will screen a documentary about, around, or in Iran, or made by Iranians. Docunight screening will take place across several cities in North America and also here in Foster Auditorium. All films will have English subtitles.

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