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#50: Poets of Life

Directed by: Shirin Barghnavard
2017 / 73 mins
Persian with English Subtitles

Shirin Parsi is a rice farmer, but not an ordinary one! After receiving a BA in French literature from the University of Paris, she returned to Iran but decided not to live in the megapolis capital, Tehran. Since her husband had inherited some land in Shanderman, a village near the Caspian Sea, they decided to relocate there and take up rice farming. The Parsi family, including their two sons, instituted innovations in rice production, promoted sustainable farming and have always refrained from using chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In a region where more and more farmers are selling their farms at very cheap prices to developers, the Parsis are busy cultivating pure organic rice. Shirin and her family have chosen an exemplary lifestyle which is rich in indigenous values. In addition to rice farming, Shirin spends time as a social activist and volunteers with several local NGOs. She is especially active in women’s groups where she focuses on raising awareness. This film follows Shirin preparing the rice paddies until the rice harvest, as well as showing her social activities, as she attempts to bring about social and environmental change.

The Karestan Documentary Series features stories about Iranian entrepreneurs of both genders who have taken personal risks, and through their creativity and innovative approach, became an instrument of change in their own as well as the lives of others. Their impact, even if confined to a small scale or limited to a geographical area, has inspired big change and progress.