Babak Payami

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Babak Payami (, born 1966 in Tehran) is an Iranian film director.


Born in Iran, Payami spent nine years of his youth in Afghanistan. He later moved to Canada, where he studied cinema at the University of Toronto and became a citizen. During a trip to Iran—“the motherland”—he conceived and produced his acclaimed first feature, “One More Day.” Payami now splits his time between Tehran and Toronto. Born in Tehran in 1966, Payami studied cinema at the University of Toronto during the early 90's. In 1998, he returned to Iran, after an almost two decade-long absence, to produce and direct his debut 'One More Day. “Secret Ballot” describes what happens on election day when an idealistic young woman lands on a remote island to serve as the election agent. She faces many obstacles, not the least of which is the chauvinistic soldier unwillingly assigned to assist her. Payami recalled how he thought of the story: “It was a compilation of observations that you make when you look around and you get more engaged. It all crystallized through an idea by Mohsen Makhmalbaf , who made a pseudo-documentary called ‘Testing Democracy.’ Basically, I took that and ran with it. I felt that the element of the absurd and the comic were very good balancing factors in not being judgmental or waving political flags, but in portraying issues that are as universal as they are specific to the situation in Iran.” He continued, “The film, in a way, is a road movie about...
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