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The Kickstarter campaign for Iranian basketball documentary The Iran Job ends next Monday, but the project has already passed its ambitious $50,000 goal. In production for several years, The Iran Job (which is fiscally sponsored by IFP) is seeking finishing funds to prepare for a 2012 release. The documentary follows Kevin Sheppard, an American basketball player who has become an unlikely spokesperson for reform while playing ball in Iran. Per the project’s Kickstarter page:

With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Kevin tries to separate sports from politics, only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran. Along the way he forms an unlikely alliance with three outspoken Iranian women. Thanks to these women, his apartment turns into an oasis of free speech, where they discuss everything from politics to religion to gender roles. Kevin’s season in Iran culminates in something much bigger than basketball: the uprising and subsequent suppression of Iran’s reformist Green Movement – a powerful prelude to the currently unfolding Arab Spring.

In a recent email conversation with FILMMAKER, co-director Till Schauder discussed the genesis of the project, explaining why Sheppard turned out to be such a compelling protagonist. “We took two years to find our protagonist, but the wait was well worth it,” Shauder explained. “Kevin is not only a terrific basketball player, and smart and insightful. He’s also one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. He adds a sense of humor that I think is unusual for a film about a country typically associated with Islamist terrorists or illegal nukes.”

Schauder went on to discuss his and Nodjoumi’s plans for the project. “We’re raising funds to complete the broadcast version, to finance the film’s outreach campaign and other costs associated with the release. We’ve submitted to festivals and are hoping for our world premiere in the spring or first quarter of 2012.”

You can donate to The Iran Job now over at Kickstarter. And be sure to check out this accompanying video, which serves as something of a trailer for the doc:

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