Director: Bahram Azimpour
The eventful life of a quiltmaker who grows up to establish the foundry industry in Iran.
The documentary Flax to Fire depicts the life and work of Aliasghar Hajibaba, an elite Iranian industrialist and entrepreneur. Originally trained as a quiltmaker in his youth, he manages to start an independent business in the midst of a tumultuous life. With the help of his family, he successfully pursues his endeavors to the point that he eventually becomes known as a founder of Iran’s iron alloys and foundry industry. This film bears witness to Hajibaba’s incessant work ethic throughout his long life. He and his associates also discuss the political struggles, economic problems and social barriers of their times.
- ۴th Technological and Industrial film and Photo Festival (Farda), aslauyeh, Iran, April, 29-30, 2017
- ۱st international Festival, Made in Iran, January, 4-7, 2017
- ۱۰th International Documentary Film Festival , Cinema Verite, (Special Section of KARESTAN) Tehran, Iran, December, 4 -11, 2016
Original Title: Panbeh ta Atash
۵۲ min, English Subtitle, HD, Color, Iran, 2017
Original Languages: Persian
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 or 1:1.85
Sound Format: Stereo
Exhibition Format: DCP / Blu-Ray / DVD / H.264 File
Bahram Azimpour was born in Tehran in 1959. He is a documentary filmmaker and has also been active in various theatrical and visual media. In addition to writing and directing plays, he has written scripts for films and fictional television series. He has been involved in professional Iranian cinema for more than three decades. Since 1994, he has been making documentaries and has twice been a member of the Board of Directors of the Documentary Filmmakers Association. Among his renowned documentary films are Kamas Dolls, Chamar, Dobeh, Fresh Air and Don’t Stay in the Shadow, which have netted him several awards in national and international film festivals.
Whenever I start a new film, I try to find a way to remove or at least minimize the distance between the subject and myself. I focus on the ever-present questions of where the film starts and what it intends to say. Due to the multiple angles and varied aspects of Hajibaba’s life, the choice of structure, content, and narrative line were extremely difficult. Ultimately I decided to follow the common chronological format of the Karestan series. I decided to categorize and present the narrative in three parts: his industry on a national macro-economic level, his family’s micro economy, and his socio-political activities. I have tried my best to convey all three aspects to the audience without deviating from his entrepreneurship as the central focus (in keeping with the main thrust of the Karestan project).
Perhaps documentary films allow us to observe how strong an influence the subject can have on the artist. Hajibaba’s distinctive salient characteristics, revealed over the course of filming, left an indelible impression on our team members. His national perspective, his professional audacity, his exemplary organizational acumen, and his philanthropic attitudes constitute achievements that far surpass conventional work experiences. We followed and documented the undertakings of this modern day giant who never yielded to the hardships of industry. His story is one of intense agony, multiple failures, and yet impressive victories. Hajibaba is an admirable human being who, in the course of his tumultuous life, went from flax to fire, and it has been a privilege for us to follow his great journey.
Aliasghar Hajibaba, the founder of the iron alloys and foundry industry in Iran
Hajibaba was born into a bazaar family and began working when he was only 12. His rebellious, independent nature and his initiative spirit were evident early on. He decided to become self-reliant when he was only 15, traveling from city to city as a vendor for 6 months. Upon returning home, he worked in his father’s quiltmaking shop, drawing upon his recent practical experience to expand the family business.
His nationalistic tendencies during the political events of the 1950s compelled him to pursue a new dream. Even though the family business was thriving, he decided to begin a completely different endeavor in order to avoid the problems many supporters of the National government were facing at that time. He closed up shop, convincing his family to change course. In 1953, they went into the ironmongery business and, despite his initial inexperience, within five years he was considered a tycoon in the industry.
In 1963, in an effort to contribute to the industrialization of his nation, Hajibaba established the Pars Metal Iron Foundry. During the 85 years of his life, he steadfastly pursued his goal to further Iran’s economy by boosting its industrial output. He launched other factories including Shoofazhkare Iran, a radiator manufacturer, and Iran Ferrosilis, a ferrosilicon plant. Today his family is the leading name in the iron and steel business in Iran.
Writer & Director Bahram Azimpour / Editor Shabnam Hosseini / Cinematographer Mohammad Hadadi / Composer Babak Mirzakhani / Sound Designer Amir Hosein Ghassemi / Sound Recordist Yadollah Najafi / Unit Production Manager Abed Nicpoo / Color Grading Hamidreza Fatourehchian, Sindokht Rahimian / Still Photographer Abbas Kowsari / Graphic Designer Hamed Jaberha / Project Advisors Mahmoud Nazzari, Hossein Akbari / Research Management Team (EDF) Firouzeh Saber, Zahra Emrani / Researcher Alireza Khoshbakht
With presence by: Aliasghar Hajibaba
Production Sponsors: Mark Amin, Aliasghar Hajibaba, Tabarestan Steel Foundry, Iran vice Presidency of Women and Family Affairs, Mahmoud Nazzari, Dozhpad, Shila Fastfood
Distribution Sponsor: Saman Bank
Artistic Consultant: Rakhshan Banietemad
Producer: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
A Product of KARA Film Studio