Category Archives Interviews

‘The Calling’: A New Book About Tahirih

Hussein Ahdieh and Hillary Chapman have just released an insightful and exciting new book titled The Calling: Tahirih of Persia and Her American Contemporaries. This dynamic duo was behind Awakening: A History of the Babi and Baha’i Faiths in Nayriz and have most recently worked together to produce a captivating history of women’s suffrage and the women’s rights movement in both Iran and the United States in the 1840’s. Dr. Dorothy Marcic of Columbia University has praised the book with these words:

Moving back and forth between the two struggles in such distant lands, the authors skillfully illustrate the common themes of what might otherwise seem as disparate social phenomenon. The book reads smoothly, and the reader wants to keep turning the page to find out what happens. How unusual is such writing in a work as thoroughly researched and referenced as The Calling. Writing such as this is not easy, and yet the authors make it appear as effortless as an autumn leaf blowing in a chilly wind.

Hussein graciously agreed to tell us more about his new book and the history it uncovers.  Continue reading

A New Documentary about Actress Carole Lombard

We’re so excited to let everyone know about this exciting new documentary about Carole Lombard by Vargha Mazlum! Carole Lombard was a famous American actress who lived from 1908 to 1942 and who ranks among the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema. Carole was a Baha’i and Vargha set out to tell her story. Narrated by Eva La Rue, this documentary is available for purchase and download from 9StarMedia. We’re always keen to find out more about Baha’i movies and documentaries so we were thrilled when Vargha agreed to be interviewed!

Baha’i Blog: Hi Vargha! Thanks for joining us! To begin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your film background?

Hi Naysan! Thank you for this opportunity. I was raised in Italy and lived over 19 years in China. Now I am back in Europe. I have been involved with music since my childhood. I was part of a music group and we traveled all around Europe and the US to share what we believe in: ‘the world is one country and mankind its citizens’. The passion for music is always there and now I am recording audio material for China and Italy. Some years ago I started to look into filming as there was a need for creating audiovisual material for China and in the last few years this has become more and more a passion of mine.

Continue reading

Baha’i Group on Reddit Celebrates 9 Years!

Reddit is a popular social media website that’s been around since 2005, and it’s primarily aimed at sharing news and fostering discussion. Reddit users (known as “redditors”) can post links to interesting content such as news articles, images, or videos; alternatively, they can also post text-based “self-posts” to share their own stories, anecdotes, or questions. Any “redditor” can create a community (known as a “subreddit”) devoted to any topic they wish, and each subreddit is independent and is moderated by a team of volunteers.

Make sense? Good!

Because there’s a subreddit about the Baha’i Faith, and it’s been around for nine years now! So I decided to catch up with a good friend who’s one of the Baha’i subreddit (or “/r/bahai”) moderators known as “/u/dragfyre” (yep, that’s how they do things in the reddit world, they don’t give their actual name), and I asked him all about the Baha’i subreddit. Here’s what /u/dragfyre had to say: Continue reading

Bobo & Kipi: A Fabulous Uplifting Children’s TV Show

Bobo & Kipi is a children’s television show unlike any other. Produced by Susan Sheper, a Baha’i pioneer to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this virtues-based puppet show was an instant hit with my children. They love the characters, the songs, the animated stories and as a parent, I love having a reference point for when we discuss specific virtues such as generosity and sharing, perseverance, and trustworthiness. Although originally produced in French and aired in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9StarMedia recently released the first season of the show in English for purchase and download and if you’d like a taste, here’s the link to the show’s English trailer. I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity when Susan agreed to tell me a bit more about the fabulous show!

Baha’i Blog: Hi Susan! Thank you for spending some time chatting with us! To begin could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work in television?

Continue reading

Journey to a Mountain: A New Book Telling the Story of the Shrine of the Bab

I can’t tell you how excited I was when my dear friend Michael V. Day first told me about the book he was writing! I had the pleasure of serving at the Baha’i World Centre with Michael and have long admired and respected Michael’s writing abilities and the eloquence of his pen, so when he told me what the book was about, I knew it was going to be great!

Journey to a Mountain: The Story of the Shrine of the Bab is a stunning book that provides the exciting historical background to the Shrine of the Bab like no other publication. It is the first in a trilogy and covers the years 1850-1921. Although part of a series, this George Ronald publication can stand alone and is captivating all on its own. The book has just been released and Michael agreed to tell us all about it.  Continue reading

‘Anis: The Companion’ – A Movie by Juan Carlos Nieto

Juan Carlos Nieto produced a short film about Anis Zunuzi, whom we paid tribute to here on Baha’i Blog. The 30 minute movie is called Anis: The Companion and it’s available in English, Spanish or Persian. It dramatizes events from the life of this outstanding hero of Baha’i History.

Juan agreed to tell us more and give us a glimpse behind the production of this movie:

Baha’i Blog: Hi Juan! To begin, please tell us about yourself and your experience producing films.

My name is Juan Carlos Nieto. I was born in San Juan, but I decided to live in the city of Córdoba, Argentina where my two children were born. Because of my faith, I love saying that I am a citizen of the world. I got to know about the Baha’i Faith when I met my wife, who was born in Iran. We have a family with two children and two grandchildren.

I got to know about the Faith when I was an officer in the Air Force and I think God wanted me to quit the Air Force a few days before the beginning of the Falkland (Malvinas) War with the United Kingdom. I always had the idea that being a military pilot was incompatible with being a Baha’i.

When I retired as a pilot, my knowledge about the Cause of Baha’u’llah was more advanced. When I studied the books of the Ruhi Institute, I decided to become a Baha’i, and to start serving the Blessed Beauty, and I served in all of the positions in the institutions and committees, including the National Spiritual Assembly of my country. I often recorded home-made videos about the Faith. And I understood that it was necessary to make them better. That is why I decided to learn about cinematography. I graduated as a Director. Continue reading

Wizdome: A New Hip-Hop Album by Colby Jeffers

“Socially and spiritually conscious hip-hop that aims to uplift, educate, and inspire” is the tagline Phoenix-based Baha’i hip-hop artist Colby Jeffers uses when explaining his music, and he’s not wrong! In his new debut album Wizdome, Colby presents a diverse collection of Baha’i-inspired hip-hop tracks that touch upon a variety of socially and spiritually conscious themes, and includes collaborations with a selection of artists in order to channel the Teachings of Baha’u’llah. The results are awesome! Continue reading

Changing the World One Wall at a Time: A New Film about one of the World’s Largest Street Art Campaigns

A few days ago in Los Angeles, USA, I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of an exciting new documentary film called “Changing the World One Wall at a Time”. The film is about one of the world’s largest street art campaigns held over the last year to raise awareness for the thousands of young Baha’is who are barred from higher education in Iran because of their beliefs.

The campaign was called “Education Is Not A Crime“, and it was initiated by Maziar Bahari, an Iranian Canadian journalist, filmmaker and human rights activist, who although not a Baha’i himself, feels that the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran (Iran’s largest religious minority) is emblematic of many of the problems Iran faces. Continue reading

“The Baha’is” – A Documentary by Mary Darling & Clark Donnelly

The Baha’is is a stunning introductory documentary about the Baha’i Faith produced by Canadian couple Mary Darling and Clark Donnelly. Known for their popular sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, Mary and Clark are the brains and heart behind Westwind Pictures, an independent production and distribution company with an emphasis on works that promote beauty and unity.

Originally aired in Canada on Vision TV, The Baha’is is now available for purchase from 9StarMedia and it’s an excellent way to explain some of the fundamental principles, the history, and the current activities of the Baha’i Faith.

Mary and Clark are really such a power-house of a couple and truly a joy to be around! They’ve also really been an inspiration for me personally when it comes to exploring the use of various forms of media and how they relate to the Baha’i Faith and its Teachings. I was able to spend a lot of time with them while on a recent trip to Toronto, Canada, and they agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog about this film.  Continue reading

7 Valleys: An Album by Paloma Marin

Paloma Marin is a pianist, visual artist, and jeweler based out of Bogota, Colombia, and she’s recently released a beautiful instrumental piano album called 7 Valleys, which is inspired by Baha’u’llah’s mystic and poetic work, The Seven Valleys.

The sound engineer and producer of the album Daniel Badi Rinaldi, told me that when recording the album, they made sure the whole process was a spiritual one. Before recording, they both read all of The Seven Valleys.

I caught up with both Paloma Marin to find out more about her new album 7 Valleys: Continue reading