A political drama
Please Rise is a political drama about a committee that is formed to choose a new national anthem after a fictional Middle-Eastern dictatorship goes through a revolution. Set in a meeting room, the film shows committee members peacefully arriving at a unanimous decision-- that is then suspiciously disqualified due to the songwriter’s ties to the previous regime. In a predicative allegory for democracy and a corrupt government system, the committee’s arguments regarding censorship and freedom of speech all prove futile as, with the use of fear and hatred, they are convinced to pick another song. The members leave feeling dejected and having set in motion the downfall of their brand new democracy.
Zar Amir Ebrahimi
as the Poet
Winner — Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival 2022 for film „Holy Spider“
The story is set in a fictional Middle-Eastern city, similar to Iran, where revolution has provided the people with their first taste of democracy and choice. But the new freedom raises pressure to make the right decisions, with lasting consequences.
Through the film, I hope to explore the various personalities and backgrounds that help construct a national identity and the ways in which this concept manifests for those involved. Within the film, the characters symbolize the people that allow a governing body to get away with things, by playing devil’s advocate, by justifying this elimination using espionage and the threat of international enemies, and by letting their fear and their hatred control them.
as the Politician
as the Historian
as the General
as the Singer
as the Composer
DIRECTOR’S NOTESheida Sheikhha
I was born a little over a decade after the Iranian Revolution; a revolution that my parents and many from their generation fought for and believed in. These days, with upsetting news of Iran becoming a daily occurrence, I find myself often asking them “why?” and the answer is always “this isn’t what we fought for and it wasn’t like this from the beginning”.
In 1979, the people fought for change, freedom, and a fresh start. As time went by, bit by bit, they got less and less of what they asked for. For me, that’s where Please Rise came from; from the question of “where does the downfall of a revolution start?”. For the members of this committee, the downfall begins on the day of the film, day 57 after the victory of the revolution, the day in which they give in to the demands of their “democratically elected government” and forfeit their right to a choice out of fear.
Since finishing the shoot, the situation in Iran has gotten considerably worse. And yet, the Iranian people, especially the brave Iranian women, continue fighting for their basic human rights and I find myself with something I very rarely had before: hope. There is finally a tiny ray of hope for a brighter future in Iran. When I was writing Please Rise, I could not even imagine a future in which the Iranian people would get the chance to democratically decide on a new national anthem; the film is set in a fictional country. However, what was initially an out-of-reach fantasy for me, is now turning into a hopeful possibility for the people of Iran. I do hope that when (not if!) we succeed, we’re able to move forward with wisdom and will continue to protect the freedom we fight for, even after the revolution.
For me, as an Iranian, Please Rise is a personal story and I have tried to put a bit of myself, my family, my people, and the people I have encountered in my years of living abroad into the story. There are bits of all of us in these characters. This is a story inspired by Iran but it’s also not just about that. It’s not tied to one government, or to one group of people, it’s tied to power, control, and corruption; something that is evident all across the world. I did not aim to make this film so others can feel glad that they don’t live in Iran, I set out to make Please Rise out of respect for democracy and the need to preserve it everywhere.
director Sheida Sheikhha
A short film by Sheida Sheikhha | Political drama | 26 minutes
Director: Sheida Sheikhha Producer: Michal Sikora Director of photography: Bruno Grandino Production manager: Pavel Trochta Production designer: Camila Vieira Costume designer: Arina Taylasheva Art assistant/PA: Leona Kunayova Make up: Hana Čihánková Sound master (set): Martin Karel Klusoň Sound master (post): Tímea Agg, Imre Madácsi Boom operator: David Pirochta 1st AD: Xueni Yang 2nd AD: Shen-Hao Yang Continuity: Luca Peres-Bota, Melanya Hamasyan 1st AC: Radim Brunovsky 2nd AC: Valerie Lukomskaia Editor: Samani Estrada Ramos Colorist: Bruno Grandino DIT: Radim Tomek, Josef Štěpančík Gaffer: Roger Keist Best Boy: Alessandro Stagno Spark: Riyana Lama Grip: Pavel Klein, Shubham Mhatre Anthem Composer: Barbad Bayat Anthem Singer: Shahb Tolouei BTS Photographer : Jakub Jíra
Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Ivan Georgiev, Kiana Klysch, Valeriu Andriuta, Edon Rizvanolli, Antoanella Ungureanu, Ashot Mansuryan, Alistair White, Nikolas Kuimcidis, Ivan Gregorovič