UNESCO Honors Legendary Vocalist Shahram Nazeri

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*UNESCO honors legendary vocalist Shahram Nazeri

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization commemorated legendary Iranian vocalist Shahram Nazeri during a ceremony in Tehran.

The event was organized to honor Nazeri for his new musical project in which he has highlighted several cultural heritage sites in the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

A large number of Iranian cultural figures and officials, including Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Director Masud Soltanifar and director of the UNESCO Cluster Office in Tehran Esther Kuisch Laroche, attended the ceremony, which took place in the courtyard of the Sadabad Cultural Historical Complex.

In her short speech, Laroche called Nazeri a singer who presents love and peace to people in his songs. She said that his works typically introduce Iranian culture and literature.

The ceremony went on with a performance by Nazeri for his new album, which has not been released yet.

In his short speech made before the performance, he called Iran “a country full of paradoxes.”

“However, despite all these obstacles, I love Iran,” he added.

“The love for Iran has convinced me to ignore opportunities to live an easy life abroad and to stay in the country. Apparently, there is no other way; we should pay for the love for our homeland,” he stated.

Singer of a dozens of songs of the highest caliber, Nazeri received the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur medal, one of the most coveted trophies in the world of art and culture, from the French government in 2007.    

*Iranian director Naderi honored at Venice Film Festival

Iranian director Amir Naderi received the 'Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker' award at the ongoing 73rd Venice Film Festival, for his significant contribution to a new era of Iranian films.

According to, a ceremony was held on Monday before the world premiere screening of his new film 'Monte'.

Born in 1946 in the southern Iranian city of Abadan, Naderi made his directorial debut with 'Goodbye Friend' in 1971, and soon became one of the best known figures in Iranian cinema.

"Naderi gave fundamental impetus to the birth of New Iranian Cinema during the 1970s and 80s, with a number of masterpieces destined to leave their mark on the history of cinema," said Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival.

"Every film he has made clearly displays the nucleus of an identical obsession which transcends the principle of reality in order to force individuals beyond their own limits," Barbera added.

Naderi's new film 'Monte' — screened out of competition at this year's festival — is set in the year 1350, and it tells a dramatic story of a man who makes every attempt to bring the sunlight into his village, where his family is barely able to survive because of the prevailing darkness.

In 2014, 'Monte' was one of the projects selected for the Venice Gap-Financing Market — a sideline program of the festival that offers filmmakers funding opportunities for the final production stage of their projects.

The 'Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker' award was established ten years ago to honor personalities who have made a significant contribution to contemporary cinema.

Previous winners include Kitano Takeshi from Japan and Al Pacino from the United States.

*'Oblivion Season' grabs two North American awards

Highly-acclaimed Iranian film 'Oblivion Season', directed by Abbas Rafei, managed to win awards at two international film festivals in Canada and the US state of California.

The flick won the Best Film Award at the 16th Nickel Independent Film Festival held from June 14 to 18, 2016, in Canada, and the 7th International Film Festival of Independent Filmmakers in California, the US, ISNA reported.

The movie juxtaposes the story of a struggling, but strong-spirited, young woman who, against all prejudices, tries to assert herself against other working women and also against the hostility and contempt of the family of her husband.

The cast includes Sareh Bayat, Amin Zendegani, Shahin Taslimi, Jila Alershad, Fariba Ahang and Mehdi Mohtashemi.

The movie has been screened in 69 international film festivals and won 36 awards and titles including the Best Film Award at Brasov International Film Festival (BRIFF), Best Feature Narrative Award at Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF) and Best Film Award at the Third Annual Rahway International Film Festival in northeastern New Jersey, the US, in early September.

*Iranian cartoonist grabs two Brazilian awards

Iranian cartoonist Alireza Pakdel received two awards at the 43rd lnternational Humor Exhibition of Piracicaba 2016 in Brazil which opened on August 27 and will continue until October 8, 2016.

According to Mehr News Agency, Pakdel won the Grand Trophy Award Zélio Gold and the first award in the cartoon section which was based on the theme of the day — the drama of the refugees who have left the Middle East for Europe but failed to reach their destination.

International Exhibition of Piracicaba Humor is among the most famous Brazilian cartoon festivals. Aristides Esteban Hernandez (known as Ares) from Cuba and John A. Lent from the USA served on the panel of jury at the event.

Pakdel was born in 1981 in the northeastern city of Mashhad and currently works at the Art Bureau of Khorasan Razavi Province.

*Iranian author Qaeni elected to IBBY executive committee

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in its latest congress in New Zealand elected Iranian author of children's literature, Zohreh Qaeni, as a member of its executive committee.

Qaeni, a member of the Children's Book Council (CBC) of Iran, was elected to the IBBY Executive Committee along with other members from Russia, the US, France, Turkey, the UK, Denmark, Mongolia, Mexico, and South Africa for a two-year term for 2016-2018, Mehr News Agency wrote.

The National Sections at the General Assembly met at the 35th IBBY International Congress in Auckland of New Zealand, in August 18-21, 2016, also elected the president of the Board for 2016-2018 and the president of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury.

The congress was held at the Aotea Center, on Queen Street in the heart of Auckland and the final day of the congress coincided with the 23rd annual Storylines Festival of New Zealand's Writers and Illustrators Family Day.

*'Oblivion Season' wins Best Trailer Award

Iranian feature movie 'Oblivion Season' won the Best Trailer Award at the Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest.

Produced by Masoud Farjam, the trailer of award-winning movie Oblivion Season has so far grabbed many awards of the Best Trailer at TMFF and Indie FEST, in the US and the UK.

Oblivion Season’s trailer has competed with counterparts from the US, France, Spain, and Canada and won the best title at Romanian event, Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest.

Directed and produced by Abbas Rafei, Oblivion Season narrates the story of a struggling but strong-spirited woman who, against all prejudices, tries to assert herself against working women and also against the hostility and contempt of the family of her husband.

*Iranian film 'Hasti' awarded in Greek festival

Taratsa IFF 2016 in Greece awarded Kamal Parnak's 'Hasti' for the Best Screenplay.

'Hasti' narrates the story of a little girl whose mother's death becomes the starting point of an inner journey, which leads her to perceive the concept of death.

Another Iranian movie 'A Moment' by Naqi Nemati also participated in the event. The film recalls a series of unexpected events which take place a few minutes before the death of some people.

'The Snail' by Mohammad Towrivarian was the third Iranian flick to vie at the event. It relates the story of human traffickers and those who illegally leave the country. As a last resort, three young people decide to leave Iran illegally, with the help of a human trafficker who tries to smuggle them out of the country. Religious beliefs of the trafficker leave them in dire straits in the mountains of the border between Iran and Turkey where they wander, without any objective, Mehr News Agency reported.

Taratsa is an independent international short film festival based in Thessaloniki, Greece. It began in August 2014 and was integrated in the framework of 'Thessaloniki European Youth Capital'.

Its purpose is to create a framework for promoting independent short films from Greece and all over the world by bringing the audience closer to the production and establishing a place and time for substantial interaction and artistic expression between the creators as well as to present films that are considered benchmarks in the history of cinema.

In a related story, four Iranian films will compete in the 19th Auburn International Film Festival for Children and Young Adults, to be held from September 19 to 23 in Sydney, Australia.

In the Short Films by Adults about/for Children section, Shahriar Pourseyedian's 'Shadows in Town' will participate along with 'Just This Once', by Mohammad-Hassan Shahmohammadi.

'Escape', by Mehrdad Parvani and Pouria Boujmehrani and 'The Salt Man', by Sajjad Mousavi, will take part in the Short Films by Young Adults 15-22 years old section.

*Iran's Aylan crowned at Bulgaria festival

Iran's Aylan Dance Group won the gold medal and honorary diploma at the World Championship of Folklore 'World Folk 2016' in Bulgaria, said the conductor of the group.

Tohid Haji-Babaei told Iran Daily that the event, which was organized by the Bulgarian chapter of World Folklore Academy in cooperation with the Association of Folklore Festivals of Nessebar and Burgas municipalities, took place from August 18 to 28.

Sponsored for the sixth consecutive year by Bulgarian National Folklore Commission, the event hosted 1,200 musicians, singers and artists who competed for 'World Champion' title as well as other awards in 90 sections in Burgas, Obzor, Nessebar, Sveti Vlas and Sunny Beach.

The ensemble includes 10 teenagers aged between 8 and 10.

The award winning ceremony was held on August 28 and was attended by Iran's Cultural Attaché Abdolmajid Shafaei and other cultural figures in Bulgaria.

Folklore groups from Iran, Bulgaria, Russia, Bosnia and Georgia were awarded at the closing ceremony.

*'Atlan' wins US Best Documentary Award

Full-length Iranian documentary 'Atlan', directed by Moin Karimoddini, received the Best Documentary Award at the 12th annual Rural Route Film Festival. The festival was held in New York on July 29-31.

Produced by the Center for Documentary and Experimental Cinema, the documentary competed with 20 prominent documentaries on rural themes.

'Lamb' by Yared Zeleke and 'Upcycles' by Ariana Gerstein received the Best Narrative and Best Experimental awards in the event.

The word 'Atlan' means "get on your horse and get going" in the Turkmen language.

In the story of young horse trainer, Ali, and his horse, Ilhad, director Karimoddini has audiences galloping within the unique Turkmen culture of northeastern Iran. Ali has raised and trained his orphaned horse for three years. They embark on a winning streak, favored to win the annual championship; however, Ilhad suddenly becomes wild and unmanageable, refusing to even leave the starting gate. Ali struggles with the stress of trying to retrain Ilhad and the pressure of earning money for his already-delayed wedding. Despite this, his bond to his favorite horse is never shaken.

The documentary has been the most successful product in the past year. It received Crystal Simorgh awards at the 33rd Fajr International Film Festival.

It also won the Turkish channel TRT Documentary Awards and was nominated for the best long documentary award at the 9th Asia-Pacific Cinematic Award in Australia.

The 12th annual Rural Route Film Festival is centered on stories of brave youth and their animal friends. The line-up includes a mix of new movies and all-time classics, plus top-notch shorts from around the globe.

*‘Children of Oak’ awarded Animation Silver in China

Iranian animated movie ‘Children of Oak’ directed by Saadat Rahimzadeh grabbed Animation Silver at the Libo International Children Animation and Comics Festival 2016 (ICACF).

The work, holding a documentary narration, is about the old customs and life of Kurd tribes and the role of kids in such lives.

Children Under Oak has won various titles and awards at international festivals, including the Award for Best Special Effects at the Asian Youth Animation and Comics Contest (AYACC).

The festival held on August 6-10, is an open competition organized by Culture & Multimedia International Association. The entries for the competition include all artworks and animation which reflect the contents about the children with various subjects by qualified artists using a variety of techniques.

*Iran's 'Starless Dreams' wins DokuFest award

Iranian film 'Starless Dreams', directed by Mehrdad Oskouei, won the Special Mention for the human rights at the 15th DokuFest in Kosovo.

A total of 107 films vied for awards in six competitive categories, as well as the audience award, Mehr News Agency wrote.

The film was awarded for its special filming which was done by Mohammad Haddadi.

The nine-day festival featured 238 films representing 57 countries, workshops, panels, debates, master classes, exhibitions and a series of live acts under the DokuNights with world stars such as Omar Souleyman and Yasmine Hamdan performing.

A documentary film of rare delicacy, 'Starless Dreams' explores the interior world of young imprisoned women in Iran with an indelible emotional precision and sensitivity to its subject.

Director of 'Iraq Year Zero', Abbas Fahdel who won the Best Film Award, said that he is interested in Iran's cinema.

US filmmaker James Longley also said the flick was very influential and humanitarian.

He added, "I like to make a film in Iran and also cooperate with Oskouei."

DokuFest, International Documentary and Short Film Festival, is the largest film festival in Kosovo. Each year the festival fills the cinemas and improvised screening venues around historic city center of Prizren with a selection of more than 200 hand picked films from around the world.

The festival is known for its lively atmosphere, the amazing enthusiasm that grasps the city and its people and also for more than 150 volunteers working for the festival. Documentary photo exhibitions, debates, master classes and lively music events were also part of the nine days festival.

The 15th DokuFest took place from August 5-13 in Prizren, Kosovo.

*Iranian director Mirkarimi to judge Eurasia cinematic event

Renowned Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi was invited to join the panel of jury at the 12th Eurasia International Film Festival.

The festival, which will take place from September 24-30 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, will feature more than 80 films from all over the world, reported ISNA.

In addition, Mirkarimi's latest work 'The Girl' will be screened in the festival's Special Event section.

Mirkarimi, 50, was also the director of 34th and 35th Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF). At the 2008 MIFF he won the Best Film Award for 'As Simple As That'.

He has also won several international awards over the years. In 2000, his second feature 'Under the Moonlight' won the Best Feature Award of the 40th Critics' Week at 2001 Cannes International Film Festival. The film also won the Best Director's Award as well as the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2001.

Two of his films: 'So Close, So Far' (2005) and 'Today' (2014) were entries for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

*Iranian producer wins German festival's special prize

Iranian producer of the short movie 'Take a Seat Darling' Khatereh Asadi grabbed the special prize of Black International Cinema Berlin in Germany.

The movie narrates the story of a woman called Mahtab who holds a small birthday party for her son Bardia, in a café downtown. However things get into a mess when Khosro, Bardia's father, shows up.

The movie is Asadi's first experience in film production. The crew of the film includes director and writer Ali Nazari, actors Saeed Changizian, Bijan Afshar and Hesam Rahimi-Manesh, actress Bahareh Kian-Afshar, editor Rouhollah Ansari, sound editor Reza Tehrani and music Hamed Sabet, Mehr News Agency wrote.

The festival focuses on presenting works of an artistic, cultural or political nature coinciding with the general educational, social, artistic and economic interest of people from Africa, the African Diaspora and people with an interest in participating in intercultural communication and the resultant interfacing and sharing of educational, social, artistic and economic resources.

Furthermore, Black International Cinema Berlin is open to all filmmakers and contributes to better understanding and increasing cooperation between people from various cultural, ethnic, national and religious backgrounds, in order to reduce prejudice and support a peaceful and respectful living together in our multi-faceted societies.

*Iranian cartoonist Mehdi Azizi tops at Italian contest

Iranian cartoonist Mehdi Azizi won the first prize at Caneva Ride, an international cartoon contest in Italy.

The competition was held on the theme of Un/Lucky, and Azizi received the prize for his work depicting a soldier amazed by seeing his shadow bearing a bullet hole in the forehead.

The second prize went to Giacomo Cardelli from Italy while Oleksiy Kustovsky from Russia received the third prize.

Iranian cartoonists Abbas Nasseri, Ehsan Cheraqi, Esmaeil Babai, Hamed Bazrafkan and Neda Shojai received honorable mentions at the competition.

*Iranian filmmaker to judge Lucania Filmfest

Young Iranian filmmaker Farnoosh Samadi was selected as the jury member at the 17th edition of Lucania Film Festival.

Farnoosh Samadi who was present at Cannes Film Festival 2016 with her first short film The Silence, will judge short films of the Italian event along with members from Syria, the US and Italy.

Samadi is the scriptwriter for the short films More Than Two Hours directed by Ali Asgari which was nominated for Palme d’Or at Cannes 2013, The Baby which was premiered in Short film competition at Venice Film Festival 2014 and some other short films .

She is currently co-writing a feature film with Ali Asgari which is accepted at Cine foundation Residence of Cannes Film Festival.

The silence, Samadi’s joint work with director Ali Asgari, was produced by Giovanni Pompilli of the Italian production company Kino Produzioni and co-produced by Olivier Chantriaux from Filmo. 

*Four TV documentaries registered on UNESCO's Memory of World Program

Four Iranian TV documentaries were registered on the national list of UNESCO's Memory of World Program.

The 120-minute 'Memory and Legacy', 90-minute 'Freedom Bridge', 'The Wind in the Desert Alone' and 'Iran's children' are among the registered documentaries announced in the 101st session of UNESCO's National Memory of the World committee.

'Memory and Legacy' was produced during 1978-1979 with Mostafa Razzaq-Karimi and Farhad Varharam as its researcher and director. It examines the genesis of Iran and its civilizations until the contemporary era, reported ISNA.

'Freedom Bridge' narrates the story of 1980-1982 and Liberation of Khorramshahr and the constructing a bridge over Karoon River.

The third documentary, directed by Manouchehr Tayyab, tells the story of Iran in 1977-1978. It revolves around an exploration to Iran's deserts and a study of its nature.

'Iran's Children', which was made between 1995 and1997, illustrates several aspects of Iranian culture.

It includes 52 episodes directed by Nasser Taqvaei, Mohammadreza Aslani, Khosrow Sinaei, Farhad Motamen, Farhad Mehranfar and Mohammadreza Moqadassian.

UNESCO established the Memory of the World Program in 1992.

*Iranian photographer earns multiple awards

Three photographs by Farzin Nazemzadeh brought for him multiple awards and international acclaim in past four months.

Nazemzadeh told Mehr News Agency that his 'Snowy Morning', which participated in the Norwegian Arctic Festival, won the golden trophy of the event.

"The event is organized by International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP) and Photographic Society of America. A second photograph, 'Effort', which took part in a French festival, also won a diploma of honor," he added.

"A third photo, 'Anzali Fishermen', was sent to Bristol Photo Festival in the UK and was recognized as deserving distinction. 'Snowy Morning' is a favorite of mine, since it recorded last year's only instance of snow covering Tehran streets; it was 5 a.m. in the morning, but the snowy weather's star was on descendant and its rule was ended with sunlight showing itself from behind Damavand.

The photo taken is in quite simple form: It features from a dominating angle from above an empty chair and a car; the man in green connotes life and the coming of spring. It combines three element of loneliness in a single photo," Nazemzadeh elaborated on his photo.

"This photo is for me a reminiscent of a strange feeling of being a stranger; the pictorial signs of a photograph is essential to it, as their inherent connections forms a narrative of the photograph; I am a fan of story-telling in photography," he said.

Nazemzadeh is quick to speak about his two other photographs in the collection 'Narrative of Red Ropes' — a large collection of 500 photos featuring fishing in northern port of Anzali. "In the collection, my aim was to feature their efforts to bring something to the coast; the hardworking fisherman who always grapples with the prospects of fishing nothing at all. However, the collection features the ambience, the mode and the sentiments, are also featured," he asserted.

Nazemzadeh was born in 1962. By profession, he was an architect, and for 30 years, he had been pursuing photography. He has been a member of National Iranian Photographers' Society (NIPS) since 2013. His works in photography had been selected in 2013, 2014, and 2015 among the works with distinction in Iran’s Photo Festival.

*Iranian groups win awards at World Choir Games

The 9th World Choir Games, which was held in the Russian city of Sochi from July 6 to 16, honored the Tehran Vocal Ensemble and the Parse Choir Group with several awards, the organizers announced.

The Tehran Vocal Ensemble conducted by Milad Omranlu won silver medals in the categories Musica Sacra a cappella, Musica Contemporanea, and Jazz, while the Parse Choir Group conducted by Tayyeb Faqih received a silver medal in the category Folklore with Accompaniment.

About 300 ensembles from China, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Russia, Afghanistan, Armenia and several other countries performed during the World Choir Games this year.

The Tehran Vocal Ensemble and the Parse Choir Group have previously been acclaimed at many major international events.

Earlier last October, Parse received the Diploma of Silver III in the Folklore Category at the Canta Al Mar International Choir Festival in Barcelona.

The Tehran Vocal Ensemble received a gold medal in the Mixed Choir Category of the 11th International Folksong Choir Festival in Barcelona in 2009.

It also won a gold medal at the Mixed Chamber Choirs section and a silver medal at the Folklore section of the 2nd Asian Choir Games in South Korea in July 2009.

*“Oblivion Season”, “Hotchpotch” win awards at U.S. festival

Iranian directors Ebrahim Foruzesh’ “Hotchpotch” and Abbas Rafei’s “Oblivion Season” won awards in various categories at the Love International Film Festival.

“Oblivion season” received nominations in seven categories while it won the best actress award for Sareh Bayat and the award for best director of photography for Alireza Barazandeh.

“Oblivion Season” tells the story of Fariba, an ex-prostitute who starts a new life by marrying her lover but leaving the shadow of her dark past turns out not to be as easy as it had seemed beforehand.

“Hotchpotch”, which received eight nominations, was honored in three categories as it brought the award for best actress to Leila Otadi, the award for the best youth actor to Hossein Qasemi-Honar and the award for best screenwriter to Foruzesh and Mohammad Mirali-Akbari.

Starring Hedayat Hashemi and Otadi, “Hotchpotch” is about the challenges of a man who lost his wife in her first childbirth.

Iranian director Hassan Najmabadi’s short film “Copper Wire” was also screened at the international short film section of the festival.

*Iran geopark expert wins global seat in UNESCO

UNESCO director general in a formal letter gave a global geoparks supreme council seat to Alireza Amri-Kazemi, a veteran Iranian expert on geotourism and geoparks.

This is the highest position that an Iranian has managed to win so far in the field of geoparks in the world, ISNA wrote.

Kazemi has been presenting books and articles on geotourism and geoparks for 15 years.

He noted that Iran is the only representative of West Asia, Middle East and Northern Africa on UNESCO global geoparks supreme council, thus, apparently the regions' geopark affairs rest on Iran.

The global council has 10 member states and is tasked with monitoring the performances of international programs of geoparks and biology. It is also in charge of approving proposed global geoparks. The seat was given to Iran as Qeshm Geopark is awaiting registration on the UNESCO list as the supporter of the Global Geoparks Network.

*Source:, Tehran TimesPress TV, ISNAIran DailyMehr NewsIRNA