An Iranian film among 10 finalists in 2020 MANHATTAN SHORT

Friday, August 21, 2020

An Iranian film among 10 finalists in 2020 MANHATTAN SHORT

Iranian film “Driving Lessons” directed by Marziyeh Riahi is selected as one of the 10 finalists in the 2020 Manhattan Short Film Festival and distributed on DVD to participating theaters.

Over 100,000 film-lovers gather in over 400 Cinemas across 6 continents to view and vote on the Finalists Films' in the 2020 MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival which is more than just one of the largest short film festivals in the's the World's First Global Film Festival.

MANHATTAN SHORT is now in compliance with the rules governing the Oscar Awards set forth by the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences.

The MANHATTAN SHORT Final Ten are: Nefta Football Club (France), Debris (USA), Driving Lessons (Iran), Tipped (Canada), Sylvia (UK), The Match (Finland), This Time Away (UK), Malou (Germany), A Family Affair (UK) At The End of the World (USA).




Movies from Iran to compete in Cheongju Intl. Short Film Festival

Three movies by Iranian filmmakers will be competing in the 17th Cheongju International Short Film Festival in South Korea.

“The Rotation”, “Gabriel” and “Epilogue” will be screened in the various sections of the festival, which will be held online and physically from August 20 to 29 and September 25 and 26. “The Rotation” by Hazhir As’adi and “Gabriel” by Yusef Kargar have been selected to be screened in the Programmer Selection.

In “The Rotation”, there is a war between two tribes over a claim that the sun in the sky. As a result of that war, the sun is annihilated and the volcano erupts. The lava kills both of the two tribes, and also creates a new sun as well. Several centuries pass by, and humans are still at war claiming the sun is in the sky.

“Gabriel” is about a middle-aged man who lives with his son. His wife has been lost for some time. All the people are suspicious of her. One day news comes to him and he has to choose one: expediency or conscience?!

The animated movie “Epilogue” co-directed by Mehdi Azari and Amin Ektesabi will be screened in the other sections. The film is all about the men who hand out books and trade them for food. What goes on behind that shutter?

The festival will open by screening French director Thomas Scohy’s “Invisible”, and will come to end with Israeli director Sahar Cohen’s “Tow Zone”.




National Commission for UNESCO to organize calligraphy exhibit in honor of healthcare staff

The Iranian National Commission for UNESCO is scheduled to launch a virtual exhibit of Persian calligraphy today in honor of the healthcare staff of the country.

A selection of 17 calligraphy works created by 13 calligraphers under the supervision of master of calligraphy Mohammad Heidari have been put on display in the exhibit titled “Clad in White, Caretakers of Love”.

The artworks have been created by those artists who have attended a calligraphy course held by master Heidari last month at the commission.

The participants inscribed their calligraphy works based on poetry by Persian poet Sadi, and dedicated their collection to the brave and devoted healthcare staff and the people.

Earlier in July, the commission launched “Eternal Heritage”, a virtual exhibit of Persian calligraphy by masters including Nasrollah Afjei, Elaheh Khatami, Fereshteh Hosseini, Ali Shirazi, Yadollah Kaboli and Gholamhossein Khani.

The director of the commission, Hojjatollah Ayyubi, in a live program posted on the Instagram of the commission, said that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in the very early days of the pandemic in the country and after improvement, he decided to do something positive for people to help pass these hard days.

“All the artists have made their best efforts for people to feel good and help them through these hard days. We first initiated a program to honor the doctors and medical staff serving people with COVID-19,” he had said.

“Next, we launched several live online interviews, and gradually Instagram turned into a good venue where people could keep in touch with the artists,” he said.

He called Iran the country of colors and arts, and said, “We next thought we needed to provide a good opportunity in the virtual world, so we began with calligraphy. The young calligraphers are very polite and pay due respect to the veterans. Calligraphy and the calligraphers are our ancient heritage. They search for the best sentences and inscribe them in the most beautiful form, which is of high value.  Calligraphers actually protect the borders of culture and art,” he explained.

Ayyubi next called on everybody to view calligraphy works by the brilliant masters of the Persian calligraphy whom he called significant ambassadors of culture.

“We will upload a part of the art of Iranian and foreign artists in other virtual exhibits for Iranian and international art lovers, and we believe that art will conquer the coronavirus,” he said.



“Sunless Shadows” to go on silver screen in US, Canada

Iranian documentary “Sunless Shadows” directed by Mehrdad Oskouei will go on silver screen at cinema theaters in some US states as well as Canada.

“Sunless Shadows” will go on screen at cinema theaters in some US states such as California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Illinois (Chicago), Washington (Seattle), New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, Florida, Arizona, Iowa, New York, as well as Vancouver and Montreal in Canada.

“Sunless Shadows” is about an Iranian juvenile detention center in which adolescent girls serve sentences for the crime of murdering fathers, husbands or male family members. The all-female prison is also a shelter from an aggressively male-dominated society. Through frank conversations and playful interactions, the girls open up about the consequences of, and sometimes the reasons for, their action.

The documentary has already won awards such as the best director award at International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and honorable mention at Big Sky film festival in the US.



Iranian professor named head of MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ali Jadbabaie, the JR East Professor of Engineering, has been named the new head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), effective September 1.

“Ali’s work has crossed disciplines and departments and led to multi-university collaborations,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, in an announcement to the CEE community. “He has made outstanding contributions as an educator, in addition to serving as a leader in MIT’s multi-disciplinary efforts — particularly in understanding the dynamics of social networks, spreading processes, collective behavior, and collective decision-making in socio-technical systems. He will undoubtedly be a remarkable next leader for CEE.”

Jadbabaie succeeds Markus Buehler, the McAfee Professor of Engineering, who has led CEE since 2013. “I am grateful to Markus for his leadership, dedication, and contributions to helping shape CEE across the past seven years,” says Chandrakasan.

Currently, Jadbabaie also serves as associate director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), director of the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center, and a principal investigator in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS). He has made fundamental contributions in optimization-based control, multi-agent coordination and consensus, collective decision-making, network science, and network economics.

Jadbabaie graduated from Sharif University of Technology with a BS in electrical engineering (with a focus on control systems), and went on to receive his MS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of New Mexico, and his PhD in control and dynamical systems from Caltech. His work as a postdoc at Yale University set him on career path in network science and multi-agent coordination and control.

Jadbabaie spent 14 years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he held the Alfred Fitler Moore Professorship of Network Sciences in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering. He also held secondary appointments in the Department of Computer and Information Science as well as the Department of Operations, Information and Decisions in the Wharton School. In 2014, Ali was recruited to join MIT as a visiting professor, to help lay the groundwork for the new IDSS, which included the establishment of its flagship doctoral program in Social and Engineering Systems (SES). He also served as interim director of the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center. In 2016, he formally joined the MIT faculty with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the IDSS.

In recognition of his work on multi-agent coordination and control and network science, Ali was named an IEEE Fellow; he also served as the inaugural editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, an interdisciplinary journal sponsored by several IEEE societies. He is a 2016 recipient of a Vannevar Bush Fellowship from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, in addition to being the recipient of a National Science Foundation Career Award, an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, the O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award from the American Automatic Control Council, and the George S. Axelby Best Paper Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society. Several of his student advisees have also won best paper awards.



Over 130 knowledge-based companies set up by Iranian expatriates in Iran

More than 130 knowledge-based companies have been established in the country by Iranian expatriates thanks to the incentives and supportive programs of the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology.

One of the basic programs is to create suitable conditions for the attraction of Iranians abroad, including specialists, elites, investors, and entrepreneurs in various businesses, Rouhollah Estiri, director of the international development and business at the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, said.

Support and incentive programs for attracting these people have been developed as a special framework in the field of science and technology since four years ago, but the scope in accordance with the requirements of the time and necessities have become more widespread, he explained.

The government also does not impose special conditions and strictures on the cooperation of Iranians abroad and how they cooperate with knowledge-based companies, so they can cooperate in their country of residence with Iranian universities, research institutes, and knowledge-based companies and take advantage of the incentives provided, he highlighted.

Specialists, investors or owners of foreign knowledge-based companies in Iran, will be awarded 1.5 billion rials (about $35,000 at the official rate of 42,000 rials) in the first step, he said.

$800m gained from exports

Knowledge-based companies exported products worth over $800 million in the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), Estiri highlighted.

Content production, application, and software development, as well as scientific and technological research in the field of IT, were among the exported items, he stated.

Pointing out that this amount of export is a result of 400 knowledge-based companies’ efforts, he noted that currently, 1,500 knowledge-based companies out of a total of 5,000 existing companies have been registered in the field of information technology, a thousand of which have the capacity to export.

Most of these companies export technological products or services to Iraq, Russia, Afghanistan, and Syria, and this year some countries in the Persian Gulf, Austria, and even China are included in the special program for export, he highlighted.

 ‘Surge in production’

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has named the current Iranian calendar year, 1399, as the ‘Year of Surge in Production', aiming to create a tangible change in people's lives.

A total budget of 63 trillion rials (nearly $1.5 billion) is proposed to be allocated to support the knowledge-based companies leaping for production, Rouhollah Zolfaghari, deputy head of the Innovation and Prosperity Fund said in April.

 “Last year, our performance in the implementation of innovative projects was 10 times more than last year,” he said, adding, “Over the previous year, some 13,000 billion rials (about $309 million) provided to knowledge-based companies, besides, various loans amounting to 25,000 billion rials (around $595 million).”

This year, the Fund will also invest some 3 trillion rials (about $71 million) in sectors at risk and we will be able to manufacture new products along with minimizing the investment risks through insurance coverage, he stated.

Also, a total budget of 600 billion rials (nearly $14 million) in the form of non-repayable loans has been earmarked so that the companies can commercialize their products, and if they are in the research and development phase, proceeds in collaboration with universities, scientific and research centers, he added.

He went on to said that more than 15 trillion rials (nearly $358 million) have been allotted for the issuance of guarantees for knowledge-based companies, which will lead to the conclusion of contracts with state-run centers, agencies, and large industries.