The Kiwi, The Knight & The Qashqai
This documentary features a New Zealander with a unique profession, international star Sir David Attenborough, and the Qashqai nomads of Iran, weavers of beautiful carpets. Anna Williams is New Zealand’s only know Oriental rug repairer. She learnt her trade in the bazaars of Iran, Turkey, and Egypt. Unusual for a ‘foreigner’, she stays and works with the Qashqai nomads, honing her weaving and repairing skills. Here, where repairing is traditionally a man’s job, and Anna is a curiosity when sitting with men in the bazaars.
The Kiwi, the Knight & the Qashqai follows Anna Williams to Iran, filming under the radar – under the hijab, as it were. It was Williams’ seventh trip to her friends, the Qashqai, but it might be her last. She has cancer. It’s a fascinating, emotional journey through Iran, an ancient land only cautiously opening its doors to the West. We filmed the Qashqai nomads, whose way of life is under threat – not only from the newly re-imposed American sanctions, banning the import of their rugs – but changing times.
Young people no longer want to live in tents and weave. They want jobs in the cities. Couple this with a new interview with Sir David Attenborough in his London home. Granted exclusively to Anna Williams, he tells her nobody else ever asked him to talk about the Qashqai and that why he wanted to meet with her.
But 40 years ago it was Attenborough himself who documented the Qashqai for the BBC on their annual migration from the Persian Gulf to their summer pastures. With his fine memory and sharp wit, David and Anna share an engaging conversation about their shared interest; the remarkable Qashqai.