By Tessa Chan Filmmakers Tom Allen and Leon McCarron found it hard to pay for anything in Iran, so hospitable are its people. They saw another side of the country too, their run-ins with police giving an idea of what life is like under a repressive regime Filmmakers Tom Allen and Leon McCarron trekking the Zagros mountains, in Iran
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Paying for a loaf of bread in Iran can be as difficult as trying to pick up a dinner bill in Beijing. “There’s a definite ritual for this kind of situation,” says adventure filmmaker and writer Tom Allen. “Every shopkeeper in Iran will tell you that the bread’s worthless, and you don’t need to pay for it.” The correct response is not to take the bread and walk off. You insist until, after much persistence, they reluctantly tell you the price. “So all these travellers come back from Iran, and say ‘I can’t believe it! I never had to pay for anything, everyone was giving me all this stuff all the time,’” says Allen. Allen is the filmmaker behind Janapar, an award-winning 2012 documentary about his attempt to cycle the world. He’s called in for a video chat from his home in Yerevan, Armenia – where he met his wife Tenny, who turned his cycling film into an unexpected love story. Joining us on the call is his fellow adventurer and cameraman Leon McCarron, from his current base in Muscat, Oman. The two have just released their latest film, Karun, in which they travel by foot, bicycle and inflatable kayak along Iran’s longest river, the Karun. Their aim? To change the way people perceive the Middle Eastern nation.
---Filmmakers Tom Allen and Leon McCarron found it hard to pay for anything in Iran, so hospitable are its people. They saw another side of the country too, their run-ins with police giving an idea of what life is like under a repressive regime --- ...