The Passion of Mona

There is recent news that the moving story of the martyrdom of Mona Mahmudnizhad (along with 9 other Baha’i women of various ages) will be made into a movie. This amazing turn of events began to take shape when Canadian musician and composer, Jack Lenz, was asked to collaborate with Mel Gibson a few years ago on the musical score of the movie “The Passion of the Christ”. Lenz spent more than a year traveling around the world and researching ancient instruments, cultures and their music to come up with an idea of what kind of music would be historically accurate and appropriate for Mel Gibson’s magnum opus.It was widely expected that he would be named as composer for the movie but later on, Mel Gibson and his associates ended up naming John Debney to that role. Nevertheless, Lenz continued to work on the project and ended up contributing to many of the original titles and songs in the movie.

Late last year, Mel Gibson and the other producers of “The Passion of the Christ” met with Jack Lenz in Los Angles. They wanted to communicate their appreciation for the hard work that he had put into the project and asked Lenz how they could return the favour. Jack Lenz replied that it had always been a lifelong dream of his to make an original motion picture about the martyrdom of Mona, a 17 year old Baha’i youth.

He the proceeded to tell Mel Gibson and his associates who were there, about Mona’s story; how she had been been taken away by Iranian authorities and interrogated; how she had been told that she would be, along with nine other women, summarily executed; how she had asked to be hung last so that she would be able to pray for the other women; how she had met her death with serenity and strength, never wavering in her faith.

Jack Lenz also showed them a letter that Mona had written herself. One of the producers at the meeting was moved to tears and asked Lenz, “What do you need?” Lenz said, jokingly, “Well, around $10 million ought to do it.”. To which came the reply, “Consider it done”.

Its being reported that Lenz has now finished a version of the screenplay and submitted it to the producers of “The Passion of the Christ”. It is now in their hands. Where it will go and when, if at all, this great story will be told is up to them. I am guardedly optimistic about this project. On the one hand, I know that Mel Gibson and company have oodles of money to throw around after the record shattering success of their movie. But on the other hand, Hollywood is notorious for being a black hole for such worthy projects.

I sincerely hope that sometime in the near future, the whole world will be able to learn about Mona’s story, and honor her courage and steadfastness.


Mona Mahmudnizhad (1965-1983)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/813899 Prema

    Thanks for sharing us this piece of news – i found a link to your post from the livejournal baha’i community :) Mona continues to spread the word on the Faith long after her martyrdom, amazing soul that she is!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/813899 Prema

    Thanks for sharing us this piece of news – i found a link to your post from the livejournal baha’i community :) Mona continues to spread the word on the Faith long after her martyrdom, amazing soul that she is!

  • Lara Kearns

    I read this post sometime back, and had heard the news about 2 ago or so and i just recieved the following update about the mona film and wanted to share with you all.

    Always & Lovingly In His Service,
    Your Baha’i Sister Lara
    persian_rose9@lycos.com

    From the band Smith & dragoman (myspace.com/smithanddragoman):

    We are honoured to inform you that some of our music will be featured in the upcoming film entitled Mona’s Dream.

    http://www.monasdream.com

    ?Mona’s Dream? is a feature film that tells the story of Mona Mahmudnizhad and her family. Mona was 16 years old when she was arrested in the Iranian city of Shiraz along with scores of other Bah??’?s. The Islamic Republic of Iran, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, had set out to rid their country and their revolution of the Bah??’? Community, the largest religious minority in Iran. Mona and her family were victims of their cruel and intolerant persecution. She and her father were arrested on October 22nd, 1982 and suffered intense psychological and physical torture for several months. Jamshid, her father, was executed on March 12th, 1983 and Mona and nine of her female companions were executed on June 18th, 1983 by hanging.

    The Mona’s Dream website currently features ?Kiss the Rope? which was written as a tribute to Mona and can be found on our latest CD, Under the Lote-Tree (www.smithanddragoman.com).

    Mona’s Dream is being produced by Jack Lenz and is currently in production.

    Sincerely,

    Smith & Dragoman

  • Lara Kearns

    I read this post sometime back, and had heard the news about 2 ago or so and i just recieved the following update about the mona film and wanted to share with you all.

    Always & Lovingly In His Service,
    Your Baha’i Sister Lara
    persian_rose9@lycos.com

    From the band Smith & dragoman (myspace.com/smithanddragoman):

    We are honoured to inform you that some of our music will be featured in the upcoming film entitled Mona’s Dream.

    http://www.monasdream.com

    ?Mona’s Dream? is a feature film that tells the story of Mona Mahmudnizhad and her family. Mona was 16 years old when she was arrested in the Iranian city of Shiraz along with scores of other Bah??’?s. The Islamic Republic of Iran, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, had set out to rid their country and their revolution of the Bah??’? Community, the largest religious minority in Iran. Mona and her family were victims of their cruel and intolerant persecution. She and her father were arrested on October 22nd, 1982 and suffered intense psychological and physical torture for several months. Jamshid, her father, was executed on March 12th, 1983 and Mona and nine of her female companions were executed on June 18th, 1983 by hanging.

    The Mona’s Dream website currently features ?Kiss the Rope? which was written as a tribute to Mona and can be found on our latest CD, Under the Lote-Tree (www.smithanddragoman.com).

    Mona’s Dream is being produced by Jack Lenz and is currently in production.

    Sincerely,

    Smith & Dragoman

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  • Elham

    I like her!

  • Elham

    I like her!

  • daneshh

    This is so important that whole world to know about this incident which happened after Iran's revolution. Inocent 16 years old girl plus nine other women were executed just because of having different faith and religion from other Iranians. I am positive that a lot of Iranians even don't know about this. By making this movie I do hope good hearted Iranians to be aware that the cruelty was there almost for all kind of different people and ages, even 16 years old girl who is know a symbol for many good people.
    Thanks, Danesh

  • Kamyarsolhjoo

    When will Mona Dream will be on the screen?
    Kamyar

  • Craig Parke

    You may be able to track any developments here:

    http://www.lenzent.com/lenznews_monasdream.html

  • peyamb

    On the website they say later this year: http://www.monasdream.com/
    But they are also still looking for funding, so who knows. I just hope Mel Gibson isn't still on the project. Not very good publicity if he is.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Craig, it seems that things are slow but still moving along. Most people don’t realize that many movies, even famous ones or favourite ones, take years, even decades before they go from idea to actual end product. I’m glad that this project is still alive.

  • Craig Parke

    Two of the quickest (1 year) that I know of were “Thelma and Louise” and “The Santa Clause”. “Thelma and Louise” apparently got the now classic reader note “make this movie” bypassing all other feedback metrics at the time!

    It supposedly took Christopher Nolan ten years to write “Inception”. But didn’t Mel supposedly agree to fund this?

  • Anonymous

    That was the rumor. That his production company was going to chip in $10 million but it was either merely a rumor or they backed out because they don’t have full funding (yet).

    PS it will probably take another 10 years before anyone understands Inception. I’m still flummoxed over Memento.