Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival



Daily life at Iran’s second biggest zoo is interrupted when Mohsen, the head keeper, takes Maya, his 4 year old Bengal tiger, to perform in a fiction film in the north of the country by the Caspian Sea which was once home to the now extinct caspian tiger. In between filming, Mohsen lets Maya off the leash and allows her to roam in this sparsely populated landscape – she is the first ‘free’ tiger in Iran in over 60 years. But instead of the perfect experience of the wild that Mohsen hopes it to be, the trip kickstarts a series of events that mark the end of Mohsen and Maya’s relationship and in the process reveals a much darker and more complex side to Mohsen and the Zoo in which Maya and the other animals are kept.

With extraordinary imagery and utterly unique access to life in Iran, the film stands as a fable for our relationship with the natural world.

Production notes

Title: MAYA
Language: Farsi
Subtitles: English
Director: Jamshid Mojaddadi, Anson Hartford
Production Country: UK
Year: 2020
Length (min): 86
Age limit: K12
Cinematographer: Reza Jafarzadeh, Majid Tahermanesh, Nick Booth
Screenplay: Anson Hartford, Hugh Hartford
Editing: Ollie Huddleston
Sound Design: Hassan Balalii
Music: Chris White
Producer: Hugh Hartford
Production Company: Banyak Films