Opened Theatrically in the United States in July 2000. In Los Angeles for 2 months at three movie theaters. In San Francisco Bay Area for 2 weeks at three movie theaters

About the Film

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Surviving Paradise

Directed by

Kamshad Kooshan

Produced by

Kamshad Kooshan

Bahman Maghsoudlou

Written by

Kamshad Kooshan


Shohreh Aghdashloo

Keyan Arman Abedini

Lauren Parissa Abedini

Joe Alvarez

Music by

Richard Herrera Lopez


Paul Mayne

Editing by

Rick LeCompte

Distributed by

New Light Entertainment LLC (USA)

Release date(s)

June, 2000

Running time

86 min.





Surviving Paradise is a 2001 American Adventure/drama film written & directed by Kamshad Kooshan. The story concerns the struggles of two newly arrived Iranian Brother & Sister in the rough & better neighborhoods of Los Angeles.


When the 10 year old boy Sam and his younger sister Sara arrived in Los Angeles with their mother, the only thing on their mind was to go to Disneyland. But things take a wrong turn, when their mother is kidnapped by three armed Mafias. Realizing that the Police can't find their uncle, their only relative in town in time, these two helpless children take on the vast and unforgiving streets of Los Angeles to find him themselves.

On their way they encounter a colorful cast of characters and frightening situations where they are tested of their humanity and endurance but more importantly they discover about themselves, that the best quality is to survive with humanity.

Directors Notes

As an immigrant who came to a new home in the United States when I was 16 years old, I wanted to tell a simple story for children, to be both inspired and challenged by, where it is watch-able by both the parents and their children, is not too violent by making the hitmen a bit funny and bungling. My hope is that even though some stereotypes are used, children (and their parents) are encouraged to think about such issues as diversity, tolerance, resilience and finally dialogue as a means of conflict resolution.

Principal Cast

  1. Shohreh Aghdashloo ..... Pari

  2. Keyan Arman Abedini ..... Sam

  3. Lauren Parissa Abedini ..... Sara

  4. Joe Alvarez ..... Mr. F

  5. David Barry ..... Mr. A

  6. David Wissak ..... Mr. Z

  7. Otis Freeman ..... Lou

  8. Vahik Pirhamzei ..... Mo

Critical Reception

  1. "Inspired … Most Appealing"

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

  1. “The Performances Are Superb"

Brian Sebastian, Movie Reviews & More

  1. " “Wonder Filled!”

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

  1. "Heroic"

Hollywood Reporter Magazine

  1. "A Surprisingly Cleaver Film … "A Richly Rewarding Story … "A Pleasant Family Treat"

Gerri Garner, American Radio Network

  1. "A Fresh Break From Ritualistic Blockbuster Brain Damage … A Refreshing View of Diversity … Beautiful Episodes of idealistic Equality”"

Emillia Hwang, Daily Bruin

Awards and Festivals

  1. New York International Independent Film Festival (2001)

  2. Sundance Screenwriter's Lab, semi-finalist 1997

  3. Cairo International Film Festival (2000)

  4. International Film Festival of India (2000)

  5. San Francisco Parent/Teacher Association

External links

  1. Surviving Paradise at the Internet Movie Database

*Academy of Picture Arts & Sciences

  1. Yahoo Movies


  3. Film Review