Awards for Iranian Filmmakers in Tunisia, Russia, US

Monday, September 28, 2009

Iranian filmmaker Shalizeh Arefpour's Heiran has received the first award of the 2009 edition of the annual Tunisian Film Festival.

Heiran won the competition over films from South Korea, Tunisia, France, Chile and Mexico.

Arefpour's 88-minute film is about a 17-year-old Iranian girl and her love for an Afghan immigrant named Heiran who has come to their village to work.

The 3rd Tunisian Film Festival, which was held on the theme of 'women', also screened the Iran-sponsored film Snow by Bosnian filmmaker Aida Begic.

Arefpour's first feature film, Heiran has participated in numerous international events including the Toronto, Hamburg, Denver, Stockholm and Dubai international film festivals.

Shalizeh Arefpour has cooperated with many famous cinema and TV filmmakers as programmer, assistant director, screenwriter and editor in 26 movies.

She started filmmaking with directing the documentary Under the Skin of Baran and a short film called Shadow of the Moon.

Iranian filmmaker Houshmand Varaei's film has been awarded at the 2009 edition of the Open St. Petersburg Film Festival Beginning.

The 15-minute Whistling Under Water was granted the diploma 'in memory of Sergey Dobrotvorsky' for the fruitful search of sources of the impossible.

The festival's Grand Prix ECHO went to polish director Magnus von Horn's Echo while Ann Holmgren's Chambermaid (Norway), Matej Bobrik's Where The Sun Doesn't Rush (Poland) and Rishat Gilmetdinov's Law of Life (Russia) won the Best Fiction Film, the Best Documentary Film and the Best Animation Film awards respectively.

A production of Iran Film School, Varaei's short film participated in the Competition Program Fiction Films of the festival, which was held from Sep. 18 to 23 in Russia.

Varaei had also received the diploma for reverent attitude to a sound partition for his Kites Know No Chastity at the same festival last year.

Andrey Zvyagintsev, Irina Evteeva, Dmitry Dolinin, Nina Dvorko and Ludmila Nazaruk served on the festival's jury, selecting the best fiction, documentary and animation films.

Few conferences in the world attract as many movers and shakers as the annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference and few are as inspiring. Since 1984, this annual event has attracted speakers as diverse as Bill Gates, Jane Goodall and Bono and seeks to address questions as varied as "What is life?" and "Who are the young thinkers and doers capable of shaping the future?" This year, the organizers of the TED Conference announced the introduction of the TED Fellows program, an international program designed to foster the spread of great ideas. Among the 50 Fellows selected in 2009 was Taghi Amirani, an Iranian physicist turned award-winning documentary filmmaker. Amirani is also a member of PARSA Community Foundation's Grant Advisory Committee.

Born in 1960 in a small village near Varamin in Iran, Amirani moved to England in 1975, studied physics at university and went on to become a documentary filmmaker. In a career spanning 20 years he has made thirty-six films. Amirani is also a Producer-Director at Amirani Films, which he set up in 1993 with his brother Amir. Their clients include the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, Aljazeera and National Geographic TV. Amirani's inauguration this year as a TED Fellow made him not only a trailblazer for the TED community but for the global Iranian community as well. "It's exciting to be among such a diverse and inspiring group of people," Amirani said. "For me TED is about the art of the possible with a dash of can-do idealism that helps you see your work and your contribution in a new light," he added. "Certainly my creative vision as a filmmaker has been strengthened and nourished by joining the TED community. As an Iranian, I hope I can contribute to their understanding of Iran, its rich history, contemporary culture, and dynamic people."

As a TED Fellow, one of Amirani's goals will be to communicate his work to the TED community and to the world. TED facilitates this by having Amirani and other TED Fellows attend the TED Conference in one of its locations worldwide, where they have the opportunity to speak during TED and spread their ideas through They also receive a private social network and the opportunity to talk about their ongoing experiences via the TED Fellows blog.

The TED Fellows program focuses on attracting applicants living or working in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East, with attention given to individuals who have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage and the potential to increase positive change in their respective fields. The program focuses on innovators in technology, entertainment, design, science, film, art, music, entrepreneurship and the NGO community.

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