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Saffron Threads

Director: Alex Bijan Zandi

United States, 2022, 12 min

Shooting Format:Digital

Festival Year:2023

Category:Narrative Short

Cast:Arian Rad, Curtiss Cook Jr.

Crew:Writer: Alex Bijan Zandi; Producer: Alexandra Byer, Madeleine Askwith; Director of Photography: Shannon Palmer; Production Designer: Adri Suárez; Sound Designer: Matthew Ericson; Composer: Ryder Bach


In the post 9/11 Boston suburbs, a teenager must come to terms with his Middle Eastern identity when threatening packages begin appearing in his family's mailbox.


About the director

Alex Bijan Zandi is an Iranian-American filmmaker and artist based in Brooklyn. His work explores the social difficulties and enchantments of the Middle Eastern diaspora. Zandi studied creative writing at the Washington University in St. Louis where he received the Howard Nemerov Prize for Poetry. He went on to receive an MFA in Film/Video at Bard College. Zandi is a 2023 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, was a 2022 Reykjavík Film Festival Talent Lab Fellow, and in 2021 participated in the MACRO x The Black List Feature Screenwriter Incubator. His films have been screened internationally at venues such as the Amsterdam International Film Festival (Best Experimental Film Award), Abrons Art Center, the Knockdown Center, Petzel Gallery, and 15 Orient Gallery.

Filmmaker's note

After 9/11, the militant Oath Keepers were established in my Massachusetts hometown. As an Iranian-American who came of age in this intolerant environment, my childhood consisted of persistent racial harassment.

Through basketball I was introduced to a welcoming African-American community. Together we celebrated our respective cultures and experienced joy beyond our challenging circumstances. Still, the threat of racial violence lingered.

Unfortunately, these stark realities have continued and the far-right has grown, including the Oath Keepers who attacked the US Capitol on January 6th. SAFFRON THREADS asks us to reflect on how Islamophobia shaped a generation of Middle Eastern Americans and acted as a sinister incubator for the present rise of the far-right.

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