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December 2014
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About Ben

Ben (Behnam) Gilani
I was born on February 4th, 1971.
My first brush with the film and television industry took place during my formative teenage years. Filled by a burning desire to learn more about the intricacies of the film and television business, I spent most of my summer vacations in the editing rooms of the National Iranian Television where my favorite elder cousins used to work. And, when my mother landed a minor role in an experimental Tele-film directed by one of my relatives, the passion for acting as well began to take hold.

After finishing high school and of course my military service in Iran at the age of 21, I moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates where I met Nicanor A. Odejar, a university professor, who played an important role in developing my communication, writing as well as my business skills. Realizing the value of good education, I then went on to complete 2000 my Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems at the University of Humberside & Lincolnshire (London-UK).

Not content with just having a university degree, I also enrolled in a library-learning center and began studying Film Directing and studies. And, in order to hone my English writing skills, I started writing comic fiction, short stories as well as articles, which were mainly published by the local daily newspapers in Dubai like “Gulf Today”, “tabloids” etc. My stories appeared regularly in the newspaper's section "Time Out". My articles likewise appeared later in another Dubai based newspaper “Khaleej Times”.

In 1999, I met Nader Bagherpoor, an Iranian industrial filmmaker based in Dubai, who introduced me to the who’s who of the Dubai film industry. Such encounters eventually led to me receiving a number of offers to act in or produce TV commercials, infomercials, voiceovers, and the like.

In 2001, I acted in Nader Bagherpoor’s first feature film “Don Juan of Karaj”. This was soon followed by acting roles in different TV shows and commercial ads. In one of them, I acted along with “George Ghardahi”, a Lebanese celebrity, actor and TV presenter. In 2006, I again got a lead role in a feature film "Are You Still Around?" which was shot in Dubai. The film participated in some international film festivals.
Apart from acting, I also write, both in Persian and English. In fact, my first collection of hand-written poems has already been published in a book entitled “I Live with you. I Live for You” which was approved by the Ministry of Science and Culture - Iran. My first book was released in Tehran in late 2005. The second collection of poems “Straw Paper” was also released in early 2007. These books will soon be translated into English, Arabic, and French.

For several years beginning 2001, I have worked in Dubai as the Media Manager for a well-known property developer. Those years saw me producing TV and radio commercials, industrial and social documentaries, infomercials, as well as directing over 42 TV Commercials, infomercials, short films, etc. for different companies in Dubai/UAE, England, Ireland, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iran, Russia, etc.
In June 2008, I received my online master’s degree in Film Directing from a University that does not exist anymore. Currently, I work as an independent film director. I have an online presence under the name of “Ben’s Productions”. My current focus is on directing films. The latest feature-length films that I have directed and co-produced include “Peggy’s Happiness”, “Flute”, “Write my Story”, “Square”. My latest completed documentary film project, “Riding the Rainbow”, was nominated for an award at Abu Dhabi International Film Festival 2012.

I'm here because I'm hoping my screenplays would open a door for me to get out of this country and feel real freedom once again.

Loglines

  • What happened to Billy Starr

    What happened to Billy Starr Thriller Horror “When a young boy is possessed by both a Jinn and a Demon, a priest and an Islamic scholar are forced to work together before the entities destroy the kid.”

  • Unforeseen Encounters

    Unforeseen Encounters Mystery Sci-fi When the government finds out a young boy with destructive powers is in communication with extraterrestrials, a secret research facility agents must capture and make him reveal the alien’s plan before they destroy the earth.

  • The Blind Witness

    The Blind Witness Thriller Horror A mysterious blind boy with psychic abilities helps police to identify and arrest a possessed serial killer

  • Don't die on me

    Don't die on me Action Crime When terrorists attack, three outcast friends risk their own lives to escort a group of fellow citizens to safety. 

  • In Parallel to the Euphrates

    In Parallel to the Euphrates War Drama To save the Christian woman whom he is besotted with from becoming a sex slave, a disabled Muslim man must fight his way through the terrorists to protect and escort her to safety.

Credits

  • Peggy's Happiness

    Peggy's Happiness (2014)
    Film (Crime and Drama) Director The daily life of a schizophrenic man with marital issues. He is going towards insanity, without him ever knowing of his mental illnesses.

  • Riding the Rainbow

    Riding the Rainbow (2012)
    Documentary (Documentary) Writer & Director dreams, goals, and life objectives of students at “al manzil” school. The administration faces difficulties to raise funds in order to get the school up & running. What should they do…?

  • Square

    Square (2008)
    Film (Comedy) Writer & Director Two brothers, running a midway restaurant on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran, should buy a house in Dubai in order to obtain a residence visa, marry two sisters and leave Iran for good. They are madly in love with the two sisters and would love to marry them. But they have no money. How do they manage?

  • Write My Story

    Write My Story (2007)
    Film (Drama and Family) Writer & Director Sarah is a college student. She is diagnosed with HIV and is banished by her parents. Her traditional family, Like many other families, is not educated enough to understand the fact that one can get infected by the HIV virus in various ways. They think sexual intercourse is the only way that can get someone infected. In fact, this applies to many families in Asian/Muslim countries. For them having premarital sex is a big no and they see their honor destroyed if a relative, friend, or anyone finds out that their daughter had sex before she is married. Sarah's parents do not know that she was actually injected with infected blood seven months ago. Doctors needed to give her blood after she and her sibling met a road accident while on the way to visit a relative in another city. Sarah lives with a few of her collegemates now. None of her friends know that the house they live in actually belongs to Sarah's father. Her health deteriorates gradually throughout the story. All that she now wants is to tell her story to someone, so others will know she had not committed any sins.

  • Flute

    Flute (2006)
    Film (Drama) Writer & Director Reza is a very good Muslim, a spiritual person, a family man & a restaurant owner. He runs a family business. Reza loves dogs & he believes this is against his religious principles.

Education

  • Melviz University
    (2007-2011)

  • University of humberside & Lincolnshire
    (1997-2000)

  • Skyline College
    (1996-1997)

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