Ben (Behnam) Gilani
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 movie business, I spent most of my summer vacations in the technical rooms of the National Iranian Television where a number of my favorite elder cousins used to work. And, when my mom landed a minor role in an experimental Tele-film, the passion for acting as well began to take hold.
At the age of 21, I moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates where I met Mr. Nicanor A. Odejar, a university professor, who played a significant role in developing my communication, writing, and business skills. I call him "dad" now. Realizing the value of good education, I then went on to complete in 2000 my Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems at the University of Humberside & Lincolnshire - UK.
Not content with just having a university degree, I also enrolled for an online course and began studying film studies - Film Directing. And, to hone my English writing skills, I started writing comic fictions, short stories as well as articles, which were often published by the local daily newspapers such as “Gulf Today”, “tabloids”, etc. My write-ups 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 an industrial filmmaker based in Dubai, who introduced me to the who’s who of Dubai's film industry. Such encounters eventually led to my receiving many offers to act in TV commercials or produce voiceovers and the like.
In 2001, I acted in N. B’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 “Mr. George Ghardahi”, a Lebanese celebrity, actor and TV presenter who had recently produced a tv hit "who wants to win a Million). In 2006, I again got the lead role in the feature film "Are You Still Around?" which was shot in Dubai. The film participated in a few international film festivals later on.
Apart from acting, I also write both in Persian and English. In fact, my first collections of hand-written poems have already been published in a book entitled “I’m alive with you, I Live for You”. My first book was released in Tehran in late 2005. My second book, “Straw Paper”, was released in early 2007. Publishers promised me that my Persian language books will also be translated into English, Arabic, and French too. They lied. In 2019, after three years of research and writing, I completed my third book, an epic 790-page, a four-volume-book, and my first book written in English “In Parallel to the Euphrates”. This book is being edited currently and is scheduled to be published in early 2022. I just finished working on a Sci-fi Mystery Screenplay, my first English screenplay. Right now, I'm thinking of converting my epic novel “In Parallel to the Euphrates”, into a Television Series Film Script. A copy of a Series Bible is available on my website.
For several years beginning 2001, I worked in Dubai as the Media Manager for a well-known freehold property developer. Those years saw me producing TV and radio commercials, industrial and social documentaries, infomercials, as well as directing over 86 TV Commercials, infomercials, short films, etc. for different companies in Dubai/UAE, England, Ireland, Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iran, Russia, etc. Then I got married to my ex and moved to Europe.
In June 2008, I received my master’s degree in Film Directing. Currently, I write and work as an independent film director. But for many reasons I've not been allowed to work in Iran for many years. My current focus is on completing my tv series film script but I welcome directing telefilms, features, and tv commercials, etc. The latest telefilms that I have directed and co-produced include “Peggy’s Happy Days”, “Flute”, “Write my Story”, “Square”, that all have controversial angels to them (That's one of the reasons I'm not allowed to work in this country). My latest completed film project, a documentary titled: “Riding the Rainbow” was nominated for an award in Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2012 and CEBU Film Festival 2014.
I'm here because I'm hoping my screenplays would open a door for me to get out of this country and feel the real freedom once again.
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 Thriller ⋄ Horror A psychic blind boy and his reluctant guardian must expose a serial killer’s identity to the police before he strikes again.
Don't die on me Action ⋄ Crime When religious terrorists attack a small town, three outcast childhood friends must lead a group of fellow-citizens on a perilous journey to save the men from being killed and women becoming sex slaves.
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.
university of Humberside