Saeed Soltani speaks to ifilm in an exclusive interview.
In his 29-year directing career, Saeed Soltani has brought touching stories of human emotions to light. The stories have been an honest account of real life events with one single purpose in mind – to leave the audiences with a sense of hope or despair long after the credits have rolled, and to create a long lasting impression that can bleed into the minds.
Gaining nationwide fame for directing the hit series ‘After the Rain’ (2000), Soltani is also a household writer-director for small-screen audiences, owing to ‘Shokraneh’, ‘Edge of Darkness’, ‘Youth’, ‘Years of Snow and Violet’, and ‘Setayesh’ which is currently on ifilm screen.
ifilm: ‘Setayesh’ has been widely welcomed by international audiences around the world. What do you think is the reason behind that?
Saeed Soltani: Stories of selflessness, humanity, love, sacrifice and even hatred are some of those abstract concepts that strike a chord with everyone irrespective of their age, culture, race or religion, proving that love and kindness speak a universal language.
‘Setayesh’ TV series, regardless of its storyline, has masterfully included such abstract concepts. Plus, it has a very direct and engaging plotline about a girl who is not aware of her full potentials. Life puts her in so many dramatic and challenging situations where she changes from a simple girl, who could not even find an address, to a girl who has to take care of an ill father and two grieving kids with a life full of ups and downs ahead. And, this is a shared concept that can touch millions of hearts all over the world. That is the reason why I think international audiences could relate to ‘Setayesh’.
ifilm: Now even after 19 years, ‘After the Rain’ can still bring audiences to TV screen. Why series like ‘After the Rain’ are no longer produced?
Saeed Soltani: Every time period requires all set of new narrative and new script; and each script can include special characters related to its own time period. ‘After the Rain’ - or series like that - is not supposed to be remade because it served people of its own time and was found attractive in that time. Today, in order to make series with lasting impression and with the ability to grasp the viewers beyond its conclusion, we need to come up with new plotlines and new stories. Creativity and innovation are essential elements for making series that can crawl under your skin; that our director friends are doing well in that area.
ifilm: You have quite a resume in making series with no expiration date. What is the key to making series that push time boundaries?
Saeed Soltani: When a production does not have a catchy plotline narrated in a novel form, audiences cannot relate to it. This can serve as a backdrop to an unraveling dramatic plot. And, I personally think this is the important key element in making successful TV series.
ifilm: What do you think is missing in today’s series?
Saeed Soltani: Iranian TV series are in need of a good storyline and new narrative because this is one of the main requirements in making drama series that can have the audience engaged. People like to see destinies narrated in an entertaining plotline; and this comes by providing a good definition of dramatic aspects a film/ series shares.