Barbara Kopple (SHS '64) revisits the Iran hostage crisis in “Desert One”

Legendary documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple returned to Toronto with her latest film, Desert One, which premiered at the 44th annual Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday (Sept. 8) in a packed theater, attended by several of the film’s subjects, along with Kopple herself.


In Desert One, we see a little-known part of the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis play out, with several key players guiding us through the events of a secret rescue mission to free the American hostages captured during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

The 107-minute  film includes audio recordings of President Jimmy Carter liaising with the rescue team. Kopple says it took months to secure an onscreen interview with Carter, using every available lead and contact to finally get a 20-minute sit-down with him on Valentine’s Day. The resulting interview is extremely intimate and provides rare insight into the former president’s mindset during the crisis.

Read more here.