Nazi Hospital Drama 'The Desperate,' in Sept. 28-30 World Premiere in L.A., Confronts Ahmadinejad's Questioning of the Holocaust

Iranian Ex-Pat Ben-Hur Sepehr's Oscar Short Candidate Pits Condemned Jewish Surgeon and Grief-Stricken German Army General in Battle of the Wills

Sep 25, 2009, 18:08 ET from Tolerance Through Knowledge Incorporated

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Iranian-Jewish writer-director Ben-Hur Sepehr will no doubt be opening old wounds with the release, as Yom Kippur ends, of his striking period film "The Desperate" about an imprisoned and eminent Jewish doctor who, on the eve of his scheduled execution in a concentration camp during World War II, is conscripted at gunpoint to perform emergency surgery on the son of a fearsome Nazi general.

But the well-traveled Ingmar Bergman protege and veteran feature filmmaker hopes his 32-min. examination of competing moral imperatives, which stars television series regulars Peter Mark Richman ("Beverly Hills 90210," "Dynasty") as the conflicted surgeon and Greg Mullavy ("iCarly," "The Bold and the Beautiful") as the beleaguered officer-father, will help contain the spread of intolerance that took the world hostage 70 years ago and still threatens it today.

Sepehr's deft narrative -- in which it appears the doctor and general's soldier son will either both perish or both outlive their respective predicaments -- enjoys its world premiere Mon. Sept. 28 at the Laemmle's Grand 4-Plex here across from the Bonaventure Hotel in its Oscar submission-qualifying run (through Wed. Sept. 30). The film's release comes at a time when "the flames of anti-Semitism continue to fan in all corners of the world, and people, including heads of state like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, deny the Holocaust," the Tehran native and father of two boys said. "It is imperative for us to keep reminding our children of what happened so it will never happen again."

An emigre to the U.S. after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Sepehr went to film school at the Swedish Film Institute and began his career in the arts at the Stockholm State Theatre as an assistant to internationally renown film director Ingmar Bergman. He cut his teeth as a director on Iranian stage plays, documentaries ("Czar," "History of the Jewish People") and features ("Long Road to Paradise," "My Son and I").

While not boasting the multi-million dollar budget of Quentin Tarantino's WWII-set "Inglourious Basterds," "The Desperate" nonetheless displays meticulous attention to production design (Katherine Bulovic), art direction (Glen Anderson) and costuming (Erin Tanaka and associate producer Jimmy Williams), and attracted an international cast that includes Austrian Alexander Leeb as a pernicious commandant and Italy's Leonardo Foti as the triage patient. Players also include Josie DiVincenzo as the overburdened operating room nurse and Kevin Oestenstad as the duty-torn lieutenant.

And whereas "Basterds" ran on revenge, Sepehr's film deals with themes of mercy and forgiveness.

"The Desperate" is produced by Sepehr, co-produced by Derrick Warfel ("Midnight Reckoning") and Ramin Rahmanpour, with Dale Fabrigar as line producer. Credits on the Tolerance Through Knowledge production claim DP Hiroki Miyano, film editor Harvey Rosenstock, casting director Neely Gurman and associate producer Chris Roberts.

Film screens at 3:00 and 6:30 p.m. at the multiplex at 345 So. Figueroa St. Sepehr's company, which will be taking his short on the international festival circuit, is also in development on a number of feature projects he has scripted.

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SOURCE Tolerance Through Knowledge Incorporated