Hossein Khandan is an experienced, award-winning Iranian-American writer/director. In 1979, he was introduced to making 8mm films at a local library’s workshop in Tehran. Soon after, he was chosen as an assistant director by many acclaimed Iranian directors such as Kianoush Ayari, and Dariush Mehrjui. He was elected as the head of the Iranian Assistant Director’s Guild for two years in a row before moving to America in 1994. In the United States, he made several documentaries and short films which were shown at several international film festivals. In 2006, he and his family moved to China. He began exploring photography and gradually had five solo photo exhibitions In Beijing, Ningbo, and Tianjin focusing on the contrast between China’s modernity and traditional life. In China, he also taught filmmaking and creative photography at some international schools and also at Ningbo Polytechnic University. During this time, he made some documentaries and one feature film. One of his short documentaries, “Silky Eloquence” which was made in a far western province in China, received a 2nd place award and cash prize at the Farhang Foundation Film Festival in 2011.
Women and people of color have been a predominant focus of Hossein’s scripts and films. In “Chrysalis”, an Iranian woman is forced to hide her language and culture to avoid alienating American customers in the beauty salon where she works. In “American Burqa”, he visually demonstrates some of the pain Afghan women have experienced in their daily lives, by asking three female artists of different cultures and artistic abilities to wear a burqa for a day and respond artistically to the experience. In “Waiting for Kiarostami,” the protagonist of the film has to fight with her father to follow her own dreams of acting, by avoiding her father’s hope of her becoming a doctor. He and his family have moved back to the Chicago area, and “Waiting for Kiarostami” is his latest feature film, which received the Best Director Award from the Five Continents International Film Festival.