Persia's Pantry

Persia’s Pantry follows the incredible life journey of Arad Niksefat, a
man forced to flee from his own country, only to face a much harsher and demoralising life as an asylum seeker in Australia.

Arad Niksefat’s life is a step short of unbelievable. At the age of 35 he was forced to flee his native country, Iran, where he was a decorated and well-respected pathologist, working alongside the governmentagency SEPAH.

Unfortunately, his struggles were only just the beginning as Arad
sought Asylum in Australia. Leaving Indonesia at night, he travelled by boat with 58 other asylum seekers, towards Christmas Island.

After 16 months in detention centres, Arad was released in 2014 to live in Melbourne, but things did not go easy for him. Under a strict 7pm curfew, and a Bridging Visa (BVE), Arad was left to fend for himself. No one told him how to interact with society. He wasn’t allowed to work. Did not know how to make money. Had no idea about local and Australian laws, and every 2 weeks he was to meet with a case manager.

“We were treated like animals.”.

In 2016 Arad, moved to Perth and started his own catering company, Persia’s Pantry. Due to his current Safe Haven Enterprise Visa, (SHEV) he needs to live and work in predominately regional areas of Perth, but Arad travels his business throughout Perth, where he has loyalcustomers whom love his products and services. Arad’s recipes are derived from recipes his Mother passed onto him, however he has put his own spin, making them, “healthy food”.

“I am standing on my own two feet.”

  • Daniel Pitcher
    Director
  • Ashleigh Nicolau
    Executive Producer
  • Daniel Njegich
    Producer
  • Talen Herzig
    Sound
  • Olivia Davies
    Composer
  • Daniel Njegich & Daniel Pitcher
    Director of Photography
  • Daniel Pitcher & Daniel Njegich
    Editor
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 4, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
    Australia
  • Country of Filming:
    Australia
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Revelations Perth International Film Festival
    Perth
    Australia
    July 11, 2019
    Australian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Canberra Short Film Festival
    Canberra
    Australia
    September 12, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Changing Face International Film Festival
    Sydney
    Australia
    July 31, 2019
    Monthly Winner
Director Biography - Daniel Pitcher

Daniel Pitcher was once a humble bricklayer but found himself
taking a new adventure in 2012. Originally entering Murdoch
University to major in English and Creative Writing, Pitcher stumbled into film after a friend urged him to take a first-year screen unit for fun.

This saw him become heavily involved in the film industry working on such projects as Pale Blue Eyes, The War That Changed Us, Sol Bunker and, Pulse, just to name a few.

In 2015 , Pitcher looked to his own project, one that became very personal to him and those whom worked alongside him. Broken Wings was his first film as a director, and one of the biggest learning curves he had undertaken as a young filmmaker.

Unfortunately, his health saw fit to ruin his chances of being able to make a life in film. Currently , Pitcher works as the Media Technician at John Curtin College of the Arts, working with the students, and passing on his knowledge.

In the future , Pitcher will be continuing on his studies to become a teacher, so he can further progress in whatever way he can with film in his life.

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Director Statement

As the director my aim for Arad and the documentary is to show the raw nature of his journey, and the personal reluctance he has had with sharing it openly to a larger community. Arad has been approached previously by larger production companies who have shown interest in sharing his story and interviewing him, however he has always turned them down. For Arad to allow us the chance to interview him, and create a documentary around his story, expresses to me how intimate and personal this is for him and this is what I want to keep. Keeping all our interviews and interactions minimalistic in crew size will assure that his comfort levels are kept personal and allows for a growing bond between us. Getting him to open up and reveal the moments which do haunt him is something I want to explore but only if he is ready to.

Stylistically, our approach has been to immerse the audience into his Iranian heritage through the use of brilliant colours in our B-roll footage, and interview locations/set design; this has helped to emphasise his powerful journey. We don’t want the audience to dragged down by his story, and then further with dark colour tones.

One of the biggest discussions, Daniel, and myself have had in regard to shooting this documentary is how to show his story. As always, the first thing that comes to mind is re-enacting certain moments, however we both agreed that, not only would this be financially and logistically unviable, it would draw our audience out of the personal interaction we want them to have with Arad. Using clippings, and mementos of his journey, footage of Arad interacting with customers and selling his food, are what we will use to help reinforce this connect. We want our audience members to leave feeling honoured and blessed to have heard Arad’s story, rather than sad and disheartened with his treatment.