2019 is the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, an event significant not only for Iranians who fled the country but also for laying the foundation for much of the current day Islamophobia that informs both national policies and public opinion in Western countries. Thousands of Iranians left the country from 1979–1982, resulting in one of the largest mass migrations out of Iran and the establishment of an internationally dispersed diaspora of second and third generation Iranians with hyphenated identities.
The shift in power and the subsequent Hostage Crisis (1979–1981) marked a significant shift in Western views toward Middle Easterners from one of an antiquated, exotic Other to one of irrationality and violent fundamentalism. The actions of a few extremists were compounded to represent the beliefs and desires of millions of people worldwide. The rise of Ayatollah Khomeini to power and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran was told as a story of unified extremism, rather than an unfortunate outcome of several splintered social movements and years of community organizing that had been taking place.
This collection of short films is meant as a snapshot to start a conversation of what hyphenation means for generations of people displaced since the establishment of the Islamic Republic.
While many of these conversations are happening in written formats from online social media posts to academic research, Iran Hyphenated is a unique lens, showing the role of mediamakers in the diaspora in exploring these conversations.