Art and Experience: Bastien Dubois, the French director of the 2013 animated TV series “Faces from Places”, one of whose episodes centers on Noruz, has said that he is eager to visit Iran during the ancient celebration of the New Year beginning on the first day of spring.

In an e-mail interview with the Tehran Times, he described the three-minute episode as the most acclaimed part of the series and added, “Every year near Noruz, I receive nice e-mails from Iranians around the world. That never happened with any of the other episodes.”

“Faces from Places” is composed of 20 three-minute animated travelogue films featuring various issues on countries around the world.

In the Iran episode, a young Iranian woman explains Noruz and its Haft-Seen spread in French.

A scene from the Noruz episode of “Faces from Places”

The Haft-Seen spread includes seven items that begin with the Persian letter “seen”, which is pronounced in the same way as “s” in English.

It includes sabzeh (green sprouted seeds), samanu (a sweet pudding made from wheat seedlings), senjed (dried oleaster), seer (garlic), seeb (apple), sumac (a spice) and serkeh (vinegar), which each of them symbolizes something such as love, health, beauty, wisdom, etc.

At the end of the episode, the woman recites a poem from the Divan of Hafez while an elderly man is seen playing a santur.

Dubois, 34, is a keen traveler who has visited numerous countries, including Japan, India, Russia, Armenia, Spain and Lebanon. However, he has not found any traditional celebration similar to Noruz.

He said that he spent a year in Madagascar studying a specific style of funeral in the country in order to make his short animated film “Madagascar, a Journey Diary”, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2011. It took him a year to produce the animation.

After the short film was given a warm reception at some international events, including Sundance, Dubois decided to make “Faces of Places” (“Portraits de Voyages”) in collaboration with the ARTE TV channel in France.

Dubois has never traveled to Iran. The Iran episode of “Faces of Places” was made based on information he received from France-based Iranian animation director Sara Saeidan.

“The episodes were written, designed, edited and animated in less than 8 months”, he said.

On his official website, Dubois says, “Through these twenty portraits you will discover twenty stories, twenty encounters and twenty countries each offering a particular approach”.