Working Relentlessly Toward Your Goals With Emmy Award Winner Alin Bijan
He was just a kid but Alin Bijan knew he wasn’t living the life he was born to live. With his parents’ blessing and strong hugs goodbye, fifteen-year old Alin left his home in Tehran, Iran, and set out to find his American Dream.
It was a frigid, snowy night in Texas when Alin’s plane landed. Armed with some of his parents’ hard earned cash, a student Visa, his prized camera, and a handful of memorized English sentences, Alin carefully told his cab driver, “I want to go to Holiday Inn.”
No amount of jet lag could outweigh the teenager’s inner drive, and Alin was at a language school the very next morning. “To study the language and learn it was step #1 for me,” Alin told us.
Fate rewarded Alin’s tenacity that day. There at the language school he met some other students who spoke his language. As luck would have it, one of their roommates had just moved out of their three bedroom apartment, and they had a spare room to rent. Just like that, the fifteen year-old had a home.
Alin Bijan saw himself through high school and college, working outside of school to support himself.
Life on his own was rewarding, but difficult. There was no mother to tend to him when he was ill. On the rare occasions he gave himself a sick day from school, he had to have a friend call in and pretend to be his father, authorizing his absence.
His own father would have gladly made those calls, but Iran was under siege. A revolution in his homeland overthrew the Shah. Then Sadaam Hussein attacked the weakened country, casting Iran into mayhem and massacres. Alin’s parents were often in shelters. They were struggling to find food and stay alive. He could rarely speak with them on the phone and those calls cost $4.00 a minute. When they did talk, it was just long enough to let them know he was okay, and tell them he loved them
“I had my challenges. I ran into people that would help me out and people that were totally against me just because I came from another part of the world.”
Alin was safe here in America and he was not about to waste his good fortune. There is opportunity in this country he would never have in Iran. Whether people accepted him or not, he chose to be grateful for those who were kind to him and understanding of those who weren’t. He realized there are good and bad people in the world, no matter where you are, and didn’t let the negativity weigh him down.
“I wasn’t expecting them to love me just because I came over here,” he said. Instead, he decided to rise to their challenges by being the kind of person others would be happy to have in this country.
Today, Alin Bijan is an Emmy award-winning producer.
He’s also a director and a huge supporter of our military. Gratitude for the freedoms in this country is a prevailing force running through Alin’s veins. He feels lucky to thank those who serve by lending his talents and time to entities like Reel Heroes Media, Snowball Express, and the Airpower Foundation, creating films and videos that capture the powerful moments in their events for the military community.
Alin can be seen at these events, lugging his camera and equipment for miles as he follows participants from one moment to the next. Whether it’s a brightly lit stage, a crowded park, a quiet dinner, or individual interviews, there’s no place he’s not willing to go to capture these occasions. Sometimes he takes to the sky, sandwiched between Marines for a chopper ride. His work is then used to tell the stories of participants to current and potential sponsors, or simply serve as a keepsake video for people to relive those times.
Much of the gratefulness Alin feels is nurtured through these events. Interviewing wounded veterans who tell him it’s not about what they’ve lost, but what they have now, opens Alin’s up even further to all the things we have before us in life and in this country, which he may otherwise be lulled into taking for granted.
It’s an enormous amount of work. Most of it is pro-bono. It can be exhausting. It can take him away from his daughter. But he feels it is the least he can do.
“Compared to what they (our troops) have done- their sacrifice for me and all Americans – it’s nothing. A few hours, a hundred hours, a thousand hours, it’s nothing compared to what they’ve gone through. It’s peanuts what I do.”or
It’s that energy and sincerity that earns him the respect of friends and colleagues. He’s just as proud of the work he does on behalf of military families as he is of the career that earned him that Emmy – a career that includes a copious amount of work with the iconic American actor Chuck Norris.
A chance encounter at a restaurant and an introduction from a mutual friend led to a friendship between the two men, back when Chuck Norris was shooting a pilot for his hit, Walker, Texas Ranger. Alin laughs hard when he says he got to tell Chuck Norris what to do, and didn’t get kicked for it. The men are now good friends. Alin even spent Thanksgiving with Chuck and his family. Not surprisingly, Alin has also pitched in to help his friend Chuck’s own foundation, Kickstart Kids, bringing physical fitness and character building discipline to kids in difficult life situations.
Alin is currently absorbed in his newest project. He is producing his own independent film, called ‘Flip Turn.” Based on a true story, Flip Turn recounts the extraordinary achievement of a young boy with autism who becomes a swim champion.
Producing a film is no small endeavor. Alin is simultaneously casting for the film and raising the second half of funds needed to complete it. Fortunately, he is not afraid of a challenge, especially when it is on behalf of something he is passionate about.
Flip Turn has a “Karate Kid,” or “Rudy” theme. It’s about the overlooked underdog; told he will never be able to accomplish something and proving his doubters wrong. It’s about people rallying around a fellow human being, and how the struggle lifts up an entire community.
Not only does the country need more uplifting stories, Alin is also certain his film will be instrumental in raising awareness for Autism. And because he’s just cool, he’s also searching for a qualified non-profit related to Autism to donate a portion of potential proceeds to.
Alin Bijan checks all the boxes required to live his American Dream.
He is tenacious, grateful, gracious, and continually working toward his next level of success while also doing his part to give back in his own way. America needs more Americans like him.
For anyone tempted to believe their American Dream is out of reach, Alin has a message for you:You’re not a victim. If I can come here and succeed, when it’s easier for a person born here, you can too. No matter what part of the country you’re born into it’s there for you. You just have to go get it. – Alin BijanClick To Tweet