IBNA: Hassan Ahmadi was born in 1959 in a village of East Azerbaijan, Mianeh, somewhere between Zanjan and Tabriz. The village is about 500 km far from Tehran. He talks about his memoirs of the place and says: ”For reaching the village 40 km should be passed towards Tabriz from Mianeh. Passing the foothills, then Turkmen Chay (river), we are permitted to enter the village which is so verdant and lovely! I can say I have left my childhood there and I go there once in a while and seek my childhood. When I was a child, I loved to make houses of mud as well as springs that exist beside the river and meadow. Even when I go to our village, I seek to find them and dredge them. I really love them. Every few years I go there and it improves my moral and then again I come back to this dusty city.”
After moving to Tehran, Ahmadi settled in Nazi Abad. He studied the third and the fourth years of elementary school at Adl School and the passed fifth year of the elementary school in a school in “Imam Zaheh Hassan”. His guidance school was Fallah School in Abazar square and he passed his high school at Doctor Nassiri School in Navab which was one of the disciplinarian schools of that time. He says: ”It was a good school. There were two fields that time; the general and theoretic which were divided to experimental sciences and physics and etc. I chose the general. After the second year the general was omitted and I continued experimental sciences. Since I was a teen and studied at Middle School, I was interested in poems and fictions and even during the exam nights I composed poems instead of studying but I never learned poetic rules, because there wasn’t any one who help me in studying and fiction and maybe if there was a person who explained me analysis and rhyme and meter…, I never wandered in composing poems. Later on I understood what the rhyme is or how quatrain should be written and since one of my friends advised to choose composing poems or writing fiction, I chose fiction writing and put poetry aside. At the beginnings I suffered because I really loved poems, now whenever I read them, my mind perpetually flourishes but I try not to compose poems. After graduating from school I did my military service and attended university entrance exam several times but I could not pass. So I gave up university since it was said college degree was not important and necessary for any job. But later on having a degree got important so I went to the university at 1996 and got my M.A. in filmmaking from IRIB University. I could continue my studying but university courses did not attract me nor help me in my job.
Tell us about your primary writings.
I wrote my first book “The sun is killed” in 1979. It was a story related to the Revolution. The book was published by my own expense and did not distribute after publishing. I did not have much information about story writing norms, later I understood how much I had deviated and it was not a story at all. Of course it was attractive but none of story writing rules have been observed. Later when I entered Art Howzeh, simultaneous with my military service, I became familiar with friends of Art Howzeh. My first writings was published in “Zan-e Ruz” magazine published by Keyhan and then in “Javanan” magazine which was published by “Ettelaat” newspaper.
My first short story was published in Sureh Book as a collection of stories. In 1986, Art Howzeh launched a section titled “Barg Publication”, my first book was one of these two titles which was published there; “when rain coming” or “one butterfly, a thousand of butterfly”.
And what about your last book?
It is “Like a game” and is a novel for teens and was published by Mehrab Ghalam publications and now I am writing its second volume which is about 499 pages.
What do you want to tell the teens in the stories you write?
I never seek to give message in the stories and try to give freedom to readers in getting alternative messages. Of course story has a message in general but does not infuse any special message.
Why do you choose teens as the readers of your writings?
Usually adults have found their ways and don’t need to be guided. But most of teens need someone to take their hands and show them the way. This generation of the society has a delicate soul and is simple. Sometimes they are credulous and l love to write for them because of their purity and sincerity. I have written for young people also. I have a book “The seventh story” which is a collection of stories for the last year students of high school and up. One other reason maybe is that I make film for this age group in TV. Maybe if I was working in Social group of IRIB, spontaneously I wrote in that field. Another reason is my interest in simple writing.
You cited that your choice of writing for teens is because of their need for guidance and help; so for guiding, your stories should have message!
Of course, no work can’t be without a message. But I like the reader himself/herself to get the message.
Reader gets his message, what messages are you looking for?
I love teens that live with my writings and enjoy them. I always believe in ups and downs in what I write and when I start writing a story from the beginning I think if it has the necessary attractiveness for reader or not.
For reaching this goal, it requires to know teens and their difficulties and questions. Are academic and psychology courses necessary for this?
When I was working in Teen’s Sorush magazine and wrote a part titled “Converse with the neighbor” which contained informal dialogues for teens. For doing this job I traveled all over Iran and got to know children of all regions from Azerbaijan to Sistan and Baluchestan, Khorasan and Mazandaran… I asked about the distress of a teen in Busher and got familiar with problems of a teen who picked tea leafs in Mazandaran. I had sincere relations with them and listened to their words. It was my lesson. I talked with a shepherd boy who had gathered 200 sheep from village and brought them to plains and mountains. Or there was a boy in Ardabil who signed quatrain and had a good voice, I went to their tent and got familiar with his family. Experiencing all these has helped me more than reading psychology books. Meanwhile I read various books during that time. Moreover I wrote about a blind girl with whom I challenged a lot and lived with her family. I recognized her distresses; distresses which were touchable and since I have believed them, I tried to transmit the believable sense.
How much these difficulties and distresses are common among teens of different regions?
Issues and difficulties related to teens are usually similar to eachother but sometimes they differ. For example a teen from Mazandaran differs from a teen from Sistan and Baluchestan because their goals in life differ. They are prepared for future life differently. There was a girl in Sistan and Baluchestan who did needlework for 18 hours a day and because of her job she was going to lose her sight, I had to give her hope not to think about losing her sight till next 2 years. On the other side there was an 18 years old girl in Mazandaran who had family problems…
According to differences which exist in issues and difficulties related to teens, are your books enough for all the teens in all regions?
My works are mostly fictional so it is not necessary to cite all distresses of teens one by one. The subject of the story demands the way of story. But in some of my works I have cited distinctly these issues for example in “Hands and needles” which is the story of a blind girl and one of her friends talks to her about Utopia and she believed her. All her troubles start when she wants to go to that city; this is a real story and I talked to the blind girl but I shaped the story in my own way.
One of my works has a rural atmosphere. I was interested in writing something which conform the region's culture. But sometimes I feel if its combined with other places, it helps to amend the work. I don’t agree to write stories in a special framework for a special region. But innovations can help the work.
What is the difference between teens in large and small cities as well as comparing them in different regions of a city like Tehran?
Now there is not so much difference between children in cities and villages. Many of village children are familiar with modern issues of the world since accessibility to everything has become simple and easy and a young villager uses internet and communicates with the whole world…
But it seems they have different distresses.
Distress of all of them is reaching to a good life. A village's teen has to plan his/her life exactly to reach to the favorite one. Mainly what prevents this programming is attractions of big cities, these attractions cause villagers to migrate and leave their houses and unfortunately they face many problems and dangers. Sometimes they leave a big house in a village and undergo living in a small rental home in Tehran. But in fact many of villager children are better in talent and intellect. They enter university, study and work and are self-made characters.
According to you, their distresses differ and are not common! Even this different is obvious in children of South and North.
Since several years ago it does not mean to say South part of the city or its North part. South part of the city has the same green and cultural spaces and even has more. But children of North part of the city look for other welfare and have other distress.
What is your idea about the distance in your writings?
Distresses and problems of teens in 15 years ago completely differ from now. But I don’t think of it and want to write widely and try to think global, not limited to village or city.
What about the criticisms you receive following publication?
The books should be criticized so the writer understands if his/her work has improved or not. Some of my works are related to the Holy Defense. There was a girl who oath she has read the book 12 times and was still interested to read it again and again. However criticizing needs time and should be done by others.
Why did you enter Holy Defense circuit?
Imam established the biggest revolution in the world and we have been so pleased and still are. From the beginning, some people made problems and wanted the revolution not to succeed. One of these obstacles was Saddam who was a scarecrow and imposed a war and we had to defend. I lost my best friends during these years and they were martyred. Thus, it was my duty, now that I can write I hold my pen and iterate the aim of dear martyrs. I also went to the front and came back and wrote, my writings were published in various newspapers and then were published as a novel. Those days I felt that doors of sky have been opened and some special peoples came down to live a short time and return to the sky again. Why don’t I introduce these events to modern generation? We should introduce the bests to modern generation to prevent interval.
Do you write fictions about Holy Defense also for teens or for all age groups?
When I start a work I don’t like to have a special reader or special age group. I want a child to read my fictions as well as an old people and enjoy them. So I write in a way to cover all readers even in works produced for IRIB I do it. I made a program in 2001 titled “Moment of dandelion” which was somehow related to Holy Defense. I liked Jam-e Jam channels in USA and Europe broadcasted the program and it was. I had used time tunnel in the program despite I had not talked about Holy Defense directly, but audience was attracted to the program. We had made a program for children but in fact we had made it also for the childhood of adults. So I don’t believe in readers or audiences of special age.
Have your books been criticized since now?
Yes, I wrote “One basket of blackberry”, with religious theme, because sometimes in movies, a part about prayer was added. It made me sad because prayer did not have key role in story as it is stuck. So I wrote three stories related to Quran and prayer…, in these three stories a personality of the third story has presented in a part of the first story as well as a personality of the first story that exists in the second story. I did it not to talk directly, it was criticized. Another book which was criticized so much was “These imposed ones”.
Did these criticisms convince you?
Many of these criticisms are based on taste and sometimes personal. There is not specialized criticizer. When I published “Good smell of apple” book, someone had criticized it on TV but in fact he was criticizing the writer instead of the work! It does not help the writer. Defects of a work must be cited. Sometimes criticisms are not strong and really good criticisms are missed.
Have you criticized a work?
I only have criticized three works. I believe it is not my profession and since everybody has to do his job, I prefer specialized people do it.
Should a criticizer be a writer himself/herself?
No. a criticizer can do his/her job and a writer his/hers. But sometimes it seems some of friends who write fiction and call themselves Father of Iran’s fiction and write unfair criticisms and somehow do personal criticisms.
When did you enter IRIB?
From the beginning of establishing Art Howzeh which was called Islamic thought and art Howzeh I worked there. I left Howzeh in 1987 and decided to launch teen’s Sorush magazine with my friends. Late Qeissar Aminpoor, Khalili and Buyuk Maleki were selected by polling and each of us helped in various parts of the magazine. Same year we decided not to remain in one place and I went TV (IRIB). So simultaneously I was working both in teen’s Sorush and was responsible for fiction page of the weekly magazine till 1994 and in TV in child group and wrote text for programs. Then little by little I entered producing and since now I have been there.
When did you start screenwriting?
I wrote script for some of works which I worked on as producer. For example in 1990 I did a work for child program, but I write script seriously for 4 years.
Explain about Saba center, animation center of IRIB, and your activities there.
I came to this center form 2007. Before this, I worked at a child group of channel 1. I was working on a 26 stories based on Mathnavi of Rumi titled “Story of reed”. In this work I lost 9 million Tomans unlike other producers who profit from producing! I felt I should emigrate and went Saba center as one of my friends proposed. When I came to the center, I understood that in most of works done in the center, fiction was not an important or serious issue. In fact produced works are weak in fiction. I systematized and fixed this section. There were 6 screenwriting workshops; by adding some work groups they increased to 13 workshops and every week members reviewed scripts which have been written. Or there were professional work groups for specialized and professional members. Last year 24 projects have been ratified during 4 months in these workshops. But we faced a pause in our works for some reasons and closed workshops for basic planning. We did not have short time goal in Saba center and all were long term goals to use these workshops for different TV channels. In fact it is a script bank based on which we announce channels we have scripts for being produced.
What is the main task of the center?
Here is the animation center of IRIB and if a work is supposed to be produced in animation, surely its story must be reviewed in the center and council and if it was ratified, research and writing will be permitted and then will be produced.
In your idea how much are animations successful?
Unfortunately we did not work well in animation, of course we have had good and famous animations but many of them were not supposed good since they did not have good fictions. In fact we have distance with other countries.
Japan had 4 times more than our oil revenue by animation in 1996 or Korea had 107 billion dollars revenue by producing animation. We could have done many works but we had been inattentive to the industry.
What is the reason of our weakness?
One is that animation needs high budget. Another is lack of good script writers. Some people didn’t look for good fiction and only wanted to produce an animation. But it is so important. Now we are trying to work by schedule. So we only permit to produce works which confidently have good results.
Are you writing any book now?
My last work, “Games, seconds”, was done for IIDCYA. It has finished and now I am reviewing it. As mentioned before, the second volume of the book which was published on May is being rewritten.
Have you produced animation based on your own works?
My friends in Saba center were looking for a work for Islamic Revolution for 3 years. I have a book titled “Warm autumn” and one of my friends suggested to make its animation. I wrote its script in twelve 20 minutes-chapters in and it is producing in 3 years but unfortunately 8 months before I recognized the producer has used the main personality of my fiction and based on it has planned another story! After producing 7,8 and 9 chapters, I saw them and regretted why a work which has been ratified and has passed all phases to be produced, has been left and another story has been replaced instead. I wrote another work based on “like a game” which involved 26 chapters in 20 minutes they changed it to 52 chapters in 10 minutes. Later the producer suggested writing other 52 chapters and I did it I delivered it 6 month ago. First 52 chapters have been dubbed and its music also has been finished. The work seems good. I also wrote another work for Holy Defense which was suggested by a producer to be an animation. I have written 2 chapters of it and if it becomes serious, I plan to do it.
Do you decide to do a special work for future?
I think about a novel that a woman and a wife of a martyr is the main character of it for many years. Pains and distressed that the woman has tolerate after martyrdom of her husband has suffered me much as well as her way of life and her children and her pains. Whenever I wanted to continue writing it, I could not. One of my desires is to write the story of this woman who is a myth and introduce her.
Should a screenwriter attend academic classes?
Writing is an innate talent and is kindness of God towards his creature and if a human is appreciative, he/she will improve by God’s help. Fortunately fictional literature is taught at universities. We have considered the issue several years ago with our friends in the council. If someone has talent and enters the field, it sure helps him/her.
Nevertheless I still don’t believe in academic topics only and believe by having talent beside attempt one can write good fictions and scripts. Writing is enthusiasm like poem. Everyone can’t be a poet unless God has placed the talent inside him/her.
You have a book “The strange child” which is different from your other works, talk about it.
I love this book more than other works. It contains 33 one-page fictions. The book is the writer’s internal distresses which have been cited. I loved to write them. Sometimes when I read short stories of others, I realized that my writings were far from short story rules. Yet I believe in these stories and rules must be observed. Despite that each of these stories is in one page I thought about the main character of the story, I have paid attention to ordinary events and characters, to the beginning and the end and the middle of the story and then I have written it. I really love all stories of the book and each can be transformed to novel or long story. I worked on 15 story of the book and now I have 3 prepared books as short stories which are ready to be published in three volumes. It is possible to transform many of these stories to 500-pages novels.
If you came back to the past, will you choose the way of your life as it is now or you change it?
I have always been interested in writing and if I die several times and come back to the world, I prefer to do it again. However I do my executive tasks and daily affairs besides writing. I wish human did not have problems to do his job in what field he/she liked and gained success. I wrote these scripts at nights between 10 PM to 2 AM as well as Thursdays and Fridays. However if I could only follow this job and my life was procured by this job, I had more efficiency in my works and could write better without thought distresses. If it was possible that human could design a new life, I only loved to read and write.
Did you wish you were in shoes of a famous writer?
No. I think if our works become publicized and we become introduced, we are not less than others; this is not egoism. The fact is that we are always obsolete and oppressed, I don’t like to regret of being in shoes of another writer. I will pass my way based on my own ability. I wish it was possible to prove that we can also be famous. We work for many years and our works are published in small numbers and copies and also they are not distributed properly. Why does Harry Potter become Harry Potter? Because I use its name when I talk to you and this is advertising. For example TV introduces a book and cites some examples of Harry Potter. But our book are not cited and introduced not only in the world but also in our own country.
I don’t know. We should seek for the reason. For example many of our fictional literature works have capacity of being translated and published in different countries. Guidance Ministry should pay attention to this point. I see that 2-3 publishers have brought some works to other countries and publish them in their own name. Hundred copies of those books are published and the writer is not aware at all.
Has a writer been impressive in your story writing?
No. I have passed my own way. Before when my works were criticized, some friends cited that he writes emotionally. To prove that I can write in other way, I wrote “stranger” which was not emotional. When I was younger I read books by Sadeq Hedayat and Jalal Alahmad, also I read works of Iranian writers but I could not write well those days to be impressed. What influenced me was Nahjol Balagheh that I read when I was a teen. I remember I wrote prose texts after reading Nahjol Balagheh.
You like poems, which poet do you like?
When I read poems I feel suffered so I try not to read them. I prefer Hafez and love his poems. I also like Rumi and have worked on his poems in form of serial. In honoring ceremony of Rumi in 2007, I used the subject and produced a program which was broadcasted in channel 1. Among contemporary poets I have some friends who I love. Late Qeissar Aminpoor whose both poems and personality was lovely, Seid Hassan Hosseini, Salaman Harati are other poets I love.
Do you like to do exercise?
If I have leisure time, yes. Mostly I walk and swim. I played football before.
What is your favorite subject to read?
I prefer to read works on psychology. Sometimes the complexity of human being has been a question for me and still is. Sometimes we face some people who for a long time we thought about them in a way and now understand they have been deviated. I like to find why it is like this, does it have any special reason? I want to know hidden aspects of people.
The last word!
I want to talk about distribution of book. Why are not our works being distributed? What can we do to increase low circulation to high circulation? Who should solve these problems? Who is responsible? Is it possible to find a way to introduce these works to people without costing on it? Many people like to buy useful books for their children but they don’t know these works. Another issue is translation of the works. I wish there was a group who did translation and chose works to be translated. Our ancient literature never gets old in the world but should we wait for our modern literature and after 100 years we conclude works should become translated? Why should not we think about it now?
When it was raining
Good smell of apple
The seventh story
The red mirror
One butterfly, thousand butterflies
Red ball of thunderbolt
Single apple tree
One basket of blackberry
Because of birds
Great little men
These imposed ones (novel)
Theses imposed ones (collection of stories)
Someone in the mirror
Dani and Mani
The Strange child
Saeid’s play did not have ending
Like a game (first volume)
Wing for flying
Six other works are under publication
Activity in IRIB
The kindness, serial – writer and producer
Latent memoirs, a 26-chapter complex – writer and producer
Moment of the dandelion, a 17-chapter complex – producer
Lent and Tiam – children of garden – producer
Story of the reed- a 26-chapter complex – producer
Scripts of “like a game” a 52-chapter animation