Once upon a Time in Iran - Pilgrimage to Karbala

Part II

Part III

Part VI

In 680 AD at Karbala, in deserts of Iraq, Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Husayn was killed – butchered alongside almost all of his family. Their heads were put on stakes and delivered to the evil tyrant, Yazid. Today many Iranians believe there is a new Yazid in the world. His name is George Bush.

Two hundred years later, at Samarra, also in modern-day Iraq, a six year old boy attends the funeral of his father, and goes into hiding. Shi’a Muslims believe that he is still in hiding, waiting to return at the end of the world. They call him the Hidden Imam.

In the summer of 2006, on the eve of the birthday of the Hidden Imam, a bus full of pilgrims left Tehran in Iran on the dangerous journey to Karbala in Iraq. Once Upon a Time in Iran follows this breath-taking journey – a spiritual and emotional roller-coaster - to reveal how these two ancient crimes - a massacre and the disappearance of a little boy – became the founding legends of Shi’a Islam and still shape the dangerous world of the Middle – East today.

Once Upon a Time in Iran is a film about the power of stories. Behind the headlines that read ‘The Axis of Evil’ and ‘The New Hitler’, the pilgrims reveal the real story of the Iranian Nuclear Crisis: another text that reads Husayn and the Hidden Imam. And a more forbidding truth, that in Karbala, Iranians believe they already have a secret weapon far more powerful than the Atom Bomb.

Producer: Rebecca Dobbs
Director: Kevin Sim

Frank Kitman