Iranian Drama 'The Salesman' Wins Top Prize at Munich Film Festival

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*Farhadi's 'The Salesman' wins Munich top prize

Iranian drama 'The Salesman' by Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi scooped the top prize at the 34th Munich Film Festival in Germany.

'The Salesman' was awarded the €50,000 ($56,300) prize for best international film at the closing ceremony of the 10-day festival, Mehr News Agency reported.

"We decided to give this award to a film that, while being contemporary, has an international vision and most importantly, a lookout to the future. A story full of excitement and wonders. A film about what we are or could be as a human being," said a member of the panel of jury said in a statement on granting 'The Salesman' the best international film award.

'The Salesman' narrates the story of Emad and Rana who, forced out of their apartment due to dangerous works on a neighboring building, move into a new apartment in central Tehran. However, an incident linked to the previous tenant will dramatically change the young couple's life.

Farhadi's latest flick also won Best Actor and Best Screenplay in Cannes recently.

Over 200 films from 62 countries were screened in what is Germany's second-most important cinema industry event after the wintertime Berlinale, held on June 23 to July 2 in the German city of Munich.

In addition to 'The Salesman', 'Avalanche' by Morteza Farshbaf and 'Yahya Didn't Keep Quiet' by Kaveh Ebrahimpour also participated as International Independents in the festival. Top Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Aria who starred in both films was in Munich to present her films in person.

*Iranian woman wins UNESCO competition

Ms. Sara Mardani from Iran was among the winners of UNESCO international photo competition, which aimed to promote books as well as reading and spread the message of tolerance.

The competition was launched alongside World Book and Copyright Day, celebrated by UNESCO every 23 April.

Ms. Mardani’s photo from Tehran is amongst the top five entries. She illustrated Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, and orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero’s quote "A room without books is like a body without a soul."

People from all over the world were invited to choose a quote from their favorite author and illustrate it in a fun and creative way.

Over the course of the competition, more than 300 posts with the hashtag #Wordsoftolerance were published on social media.

*Iranian Scholar Granted Top French Government Medal

The outstanding Iranian philosopher and writer Dariush Shayegan was granted the top medal of French government, Légion d'Honneur during a ceremony held at France Embassy in Tehran on July 11.

According to IBNA, the writer, cultural activists and a friend of Shayegan Ali Dehbashi said that this event was attended by French Ambassador to Tehran François Sénémaud, several Iranian thinkers and artists such as Dariush Mehrjoui, Jaleh Amouzger, Mohammad Ehsaei and Hamed Fooladvand as well as the members of Shayegan family.

At the ceremony, the noted translator of philosophy Hamed Fooladvand said that Shayegan’s prose in French is regarded among the best as his works are studied within French curriculum texts and he is the only Iranian author who has achieved such status. He had several dialogues with philosophers and thinkers including Henry Corbin and Carl Gustav Jung.

Born in 1935, Sahyegan is a noted thinker whose ideas for his works in the field of comparative philosophy are reputed particularly in France. He studied in France under Henry Corbin in Paris, and has carried out several extensive researches on Persian mysticism and mystic poetry.

Sahyegan was one of the founders of the Iranian Center for the Studies of Civilizations. He was awarded the Global Dialogue Prize, an international humanities award based in Aarhus, Denmark in 2009.

His book, ‘Cultural Schizophrenia: Islamic Societies Confronting the West’, was translated from the French into English by John Howe and published by Saqi publications, London 1992 and Syracuse University Press, 1997.

‘Under the Skies of the World’ by Ramin Jahanbegloo (1992) and ‘Iranian Intellectuals and the West’ by Mehrzad Borujerdi (1996) are two books in English which explore the life and ideas of Sahyegan.

Furthermore, Sahyegan wrote a novel ‘Land of Mirage’ in French which won an award presented by the Association of French Authors in 2004.

His latest work in Persian ‘Five Realms of Being’, featuring his views about five legendary Persian poets and mystics Khayyam, Ferdowsi, Molana (Rumi), Sa’di and Hafez was released last year.

*'Daughter' gives Mirkarimi three Russian awards

'Daughter', by the renowned Iranian filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi, won three awards in the competition section of the 38th Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF).

Competing with 12 films, the Iranian flick received the Main Prize 'Golden George' for the best film, 'Silver George' for the best actor (Farhad Aslani) and the Second Audience Award for Best Film, IRNA reported.

The festival hosted 200 films from Iran, Italy, China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Yemen and France in 20 sections. Mirkarimi noted, "I never use a repeated actor in my films, but Aslani is an exception."

The flick was screened for journalists and critics on June 25 and for the public on June 26.

'Daughter' made its debut at the 34th Fajr Film Festival in February and won the Best Music Score Award for composer Mohammadreza Aliqoli. Last week, Mirkarimi received the Best Film Award for the film at the 'First Night of Cinema' — the first celebration of the Cinema Daily newspaper.

The Russian event is the first international appearance of the movie.

Based on a script by Mehran Kashani, Mirkarimi's eighth feature film is about a family living in the southwestern city of Abadan, Iran, who is awaiting the proposal for the older daughter. Meanwhile, Setareh, the younger daughter, announces she is off to Tehran to bid farewell to one of her best friends who is leaving Iran for good. Despite objections from her father, Setareh boards the flight for Tehran. Her disobedience ignites a series of incidents that upset the calm and tranquility of the paterfamilias.

The cast of the film includes Farhad Aslani, Merila Zarei, Mahoor Alvand and Shahrokh Forutanian.

Mirkarimi, 50, is 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 for different films over the years. In 2000, his second feature 'Under the Moonlight' won the Best Feature Award at the 40th Critics' Week at the 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. Russian critics of MIFF Daily also welcomed the film with an admiring commentary. One critic was Igor Savelyev who believed that Mirkarimi used facial features to create a psychological atmosphere typical of Iranian settings where the fight for control the social affairs of families has been unremittingly resent in the film. "It seems as though Reza Mirkarimi is first and foremost a physiognomist. And curiously enough, the real protagonist of his film raising the topic of women's rights is not young Setareh, but her father Ahmad (played by Farhad Aslani). Seemingly a simple, narrow-minded man, he does everything 'right' (everything a strict Muslim father is 'supposed to do'), but it is his face that gives away his genuine confusion," he wrote.

Mirkarimi has participated in MIFF several times and won the Golden St. George for his 'As Simply as That' eight years ago and won Critics' Awards as well. His 'Under Moonlight', 'A Cube of Sugar', and 'Farthest and Nearest' (in Russian dubbing) had been screened in a tour of Russian cities, with 'A Cube of Sugar' crowned in Kazan Festival for Best Cinematography and Best Actress awards.

The Russian festival is one of the oldest in the world. It was held for the first time in 1935 with Sergei Eisenstein as the head of the panel of jury. Nevertheless, the Festival history is usually traced back to 1959, when it became a regular event. It is noteworthy that the Festival was reborn in the 1960s during the so-called 'period of thaw', when film industry experienced an influx of filmmakers of a new generation whose spiritual experience was shaped by the great victory over fascism. MIFF took place from June 23-30, in Russia.

*French festival honors Iranian photographers

Four Iranian photographers have been honored at the 10th edition of the Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3), the most prestigious photography awards in Europe.

Babak Mani won a silver prize for his single photo entitled “Hidden Half” in the Professional Advertising, Beauty section. The photo is of Iranian actress Leila Otadi.

Mehdi Nazari’s documentary series “Ali Hashem Daily Work” won the bronze prize in the Professional Red Competition while Mohammadreza Rezania’s single photo “After the Flame” received an honorable mention in this section.

In addition, Saeid Arabzadeh received an honorable mention for his series “Razeef” in the professional section.

Winning works will be displayed in an exhibition at Espace Beaureparie, Paris on July 12. The U.S.-based Iranian photographer Hossein Farmani will be the curator of the showcase.

PHOTO: “Hidden Half” by photographer Babak Mani won a silver prize at the 10th Prix de la Photographie Paris.

*'I' a few steps away from Oscars

Iranian short animation 'I' by Fatemeh Bekhnoodeh has been selected at Palm Springs International ShortFest due on June 21 in California.

Animated short movie will go on screen at Palm Springs to find a way to attend the Oscars.

is a two-dimensional animated short movie which was my MA dissertation in Tehran University of Arts,” Bekhnoodeh told Mehr News.

The movie is about a chameleons which is caught in modern life and choosing a human life for itself, is refrained from eating insects by his father.

I addresses adults, director said, and is deliberately not stuck in time and place hence it is not related to a special culture, time or place.

“The chameleons’ experience during the course of the story may happen to anyone in any situation and at any age,” Bekhnoodeh underlined.

A spin-off of the Palm Springs International Film Festival which takes place each January, the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films is held annually in Palm Springs, California, and is the largest film festival for short films in the United States.

The event takes place across seven days each June (21-27), showing more than 350 short films every year, and hosting a Short Film Market with over 3,000 new short films annually.

*'A Moment' awarded 2 trophies in Italian filmfest

'A Moment,’ a production of Iranian Youth Cinema Society’s Ardabil branch, was awarded prize for Best Photography. Rozbeh Rayega received the trophy as film director of photography.

During the festival, held June 29-2 July in Rome, and its closing ceremony, ‘A Moment’ managed to bag the second award, Reset Doc Dialogue on Civilization as well. It is given to a film expressing a particular originality in its form and content in regard to the theme of Human Rights.

“Created in 1994 with Michelangelo Antonioni as godfather, the festival has told over 23 years and through thousands of short films the complex and intricate story of our changing cultures from all over the globe. Growing into a hub of young talents, who are offered a platform to show their first works, Capalbio Cinema screens the best of the world short film production. Its ambition is to affirm a position as a creative accelerator, industry meeting location and training initiatives,” the official website of the festival writes.

Among the crew of ‘A Moment’ are director of photography Rozbeh Raygan and Hassan Shabankareh as sound recorder. Among the cast are Ghorban Najafi, Ghafour Maleki, Behzad Davari, Daioush Ghanbani, Yousef Yazdani, and Siamak Adib, all unknown actors of native Ardebil.

*‘My City Sardasht’ crowned Best Film in Bradford

Short animated ‘My City Sardasht,’ a product of Tehran branch of Iranian Young Cinema Society (IYCS) is a tribute to chemical attack on the city in 1987 by Saddam Hussein of Baathist Iraq.

Directed by Ziba Arjang, the short animation has been quite publicized by many participations in world festivals including Brazil’s 2014 edition of Anim Arte, Italy’s 2015 edition of River Film Festival, Scotch 2015 version of Xpo North, Spanish 2015 version of International Eurofilm Festival, British 2015 version of In Short, Cameroon’s 2015 edition of City Short Film Festival, and US 2015 version of The Valley Film Festival, and German 2016 edition of Back Up.

In its 10th international appearance, ‘My City Sardasht’ went to British city of Bradford in the city’s Small World Film Festival 2016 - Bradford City of Film held June 1-30 which displayed short documentaries, animated stories, fiction, and comedy, to claim the trophy of Best Film. The story of the film is narrated by Kajal, a local Kurdish girl who weaves traditional gabbeh, during which she tells the grueling story of chemical attack on the city and the silent death of her family members.

*“Voice of Science” named best at Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne

Iranian director Mohammad-Hadi Naiji’s social drama “Voice of Science” won the award for best film at the Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne.

The film was screened in a category dedicated to movies with a budget under $250,000.  

Starring Hashem Mahmudifard and Shirin Esmaeili, “Voice of Science” tells the story of Mir Hashem, a young cleric whose wife leaves him because of angry creditors and his infertility problem.

In 2015, the Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne presented the same award to Iranian filmmaker Abbas Rafei’s “Oblivion Season”, a drama about the new life of an ex-prostitute.

According to the organizers, the PFFM aims to highlight both films with potential commercial success as well as low-budget ones of artistic merit and scope. 

*Photographer awarded PSA 3D Photography Prize

A former Iranian Young Cinema Society (IYCS) trainee received 3D Photography Prize held by Photographic Society of America.

According to Mehr News Agency, the award winner Faramarz Qahremanifar confirmed the story as his third and 'most valuable medal' in 2016.

He added, "The 56th 3D Photography Contest gold medal was the third prize. In 2000, I won a prize also for 3D photography, from Stereoscopic Society of America."

He told reporters, "I began my career in stereography in 1988 with photographing and directing short 3D films in 1997 in IYCS. With special zest for 3D imaging, I took 3D photographing as my major and have been active in the field since then."

The award winner, who is a sort of expert in cutting-edge technology of photography believed that technology would create new capacities for country's cinema industry. "I believe 3D photographing is pivotal to 3D filming; the secret for success is having good photographer, graphic artist and illustrator, all experts in 3D territory," he asserted.

Qahremanifar received preliminary training in IYCS. "Viewed as recreation, 3D photography carries a specific concept and a message to the audience in each frame, thus making the communication rich and mutually enjoyable. My latest project has ended recently. It addressed rendering of 3D movies for unarmed eyes (that is, to be viewed without 3D glasses)."

*'Fish and I' wins 50th global award

'Fish and I' directed and acted by Babak Habibi gained the Audience Award of International Boat of Culture Festival in Poland.

This is the fifteenth international award for the Iranian short film Fish and I  which has been screened at a number of international events and won several awards.

Fish and I  recounts the story of a blind man trying to save his fish.

Held from June 10-12, International Boat of Culture Festival aims to raise awareness regarding the international community living in Łódź and to promote intercultural dialog, diversity of cultures, international projects and opportunities.

*Iranian photographer receives int'l award in Bosnia-Herzegovina

A photographer from Roudbar in the northern province of Gilan won the gold medal at the triennial photography exhibition Doboj Salon 2016 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Mostafa Nowdeh won the gold medal of the exhibition in Open Monochrome approved by Photographic Society of America (PSA), said an official at Gilan Culture Department, Mehr News Agency reported.

He submitted six photos for the exhibition while his three other photos will also compete in the Best Photo Art to be held in Ukraine.
Nowdeh was born in 1981 in Roudbar and began professional photography in 2011.

*Iranian photographer finishes first at Polish contest

Iranian photographer Reza Isapur won first prize worth 25000 zloty (about $6500) as an educational scholarship at the Vistula International Art and Design Competition in Poland.

He received the prize for his single photo entitled “White Love”, which depicts a couple on a vast plain blanketed with snow.

“Reach for the Moon” by Ukrainian photographer Vitalii Nevhod was awarded second prize worth 15000 zloty (over $3800) while “The Tunnel of Love” by Anastasia Smyk from Poland won the third prize.

Vistula University in collaboration with the European Faculty of Art and the Warsaw School of Tourism and Hospitality Management organized the competition on the theme of perspective in three dimensions in photography and architecture.

Winners received their prizes during the ceremony at Vistula University on June 10.

Winners in all the categories have the privilege to take part in a 7-day workshop, which will be held in Poland from September 3 to 9.

A selection of submissions to the competition is currently on display in an exhibition, which will run until September 30.

*“Oblivion Season” wins awards at U.S. festival

Iranian acclaimed drama “Oblivion Season” has added to its international honors last week by winning awards for best international film and best cinematography at the 3rd Sanford International Film Festival in the U.S.

Director/producer Abbas Rafei received the award for best film and Alireza Barazandeh was presented with the award for best cinematography.

The award for Best Maine Film went to “Suffer the Little Children” by Corey Norman while Veit Helmer from Germany received the award for best director for “Fiddlesticks”.

The award for best screenplay went to Italian director and writer Francesco Vito Longo for his “Grosjean Strikes Back”.

“Oblivion Season” starring Sareh Bayat is about a woman 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 before.

It has been crowned as best film at several other international festivals such as the 16th Asiatica Film Mediale held in Rome last November, the Universal Film Festival in Kansas City last September, and the Brasov International Film Festival and Market in Romania last September.

The organizers of the festival also conducted several seminars and workshops on acting and filmmaking topics during the event, which was held in York County, Maine from May 25 to 29. 

*“Lanturi” wins best film award at 2nd Zurich Iranian Film Festival

“Lanturi”, a social drama by Reza Dormishian, has won the Best Film Award at the 2nd Zurich Iranian Film Festival.

Starring Baran Kowsari and Milad Mohammadzadeh, the film is about a lower class young man who falls in love with a beautiful, upper class young woman. But after the woman refuses to marry the man, he pours acid over her in a vicious act of revenge.

Shahram Shah-Hosseini’s social drama “The Girl’s House” also won the Audience Award, while the jury honored “The Man Who Became a Horse” by Amir-Hossein Saqafi, the organizers have announced on the festival website.

“The Girl’s House” tells the bitter story of Samira, a girl who is found dead on the eve of her wedding ceremony, and the investigation into the cause of her suspicious death.

“The Man Who Became a Horse” is about a middle-aged man who conveys his wife to the hospital as a narrative comes to explore the extremely deranged state of the inner world of the man who is overwhelmed by self-pity.

Bernadette “Bernie” Meier, archivist at various TV and press archives for the Swiss Film Archive in Zurich, Robert M. Richter, Managing Director of Cinélibre (Swiss Association of Film Societies and Non Profit Cinemas), Olivia Heussler, a freelance photographer, Martin Girod, active in film programming and managing arthouse cinemas, along with Annette Scharnberg, working for «Kulturplatz» – Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen were the jury members of the feature film category.

The festival dedicated to covering striking aspects of immigration, integration and women’s issues ran in the Swiss city from May 26 to June 1. 

*'Rabies' wins Best Film Award in Istanbul

Iranian film 'Rabies' won the Best Film Award at the First Iranian Festival Film held in Istanbul.

Directed by Amir Ahmad Ansari, 'Rabies' is a social drama revolving around problems and relationships in Tehran's context, IRNA reported.

According to the movie, unless a perfect solution is found for problems soon, the society will expect unpleasant consequences. "I just risked fixing everything or nothing ... I would do anything for our child not to grow up in streets where I did," a summary of the plot reads.

'Rabies', a 2014 product, is a joint work by Mehdi Madadkar and Ali Shah Hatami. Notable among the crew are Milad Keimaram, Hengameh Ghaziani, and no less renowned Jamshid Hashempour — the 1990s star of Iranian cinema.

In addition, 'Death of the Fish' by Rouhollah Hejazi and 'The 7th' by Masoud Qaragozlu received the Best Director Award and the Best Short Film Award respectively in the event which began on June 16 and will continue till June 21.

*Iranian photographer Hadi Navid receives Russian honor

Iranian photographer Hadi Navid has received an award from the Bashkir branch of the Russian Union of Art Photographers.

He was honored during the opening ceremony of the Nature, Human and Culture Festival in Ufa, Bashkortostan, an autonomous republic in the Russian Federation in Europe.

The award was presented to Navid for his photos of everyday life in Bashkortostan.

The photos have been published in the books “Citizen of Bashkortostan” and “Taste of Honey, Scent of Cordiality”.

Navid’s collection, which presents sunsets in different places around the world, has also been published in “Sunset”.

*Iran’s “Salt Man” wins Grand Prix of Bosnian filmfest

Iranian filmmaker Seyyed Sajjad Musavi’s short film “The Salt Man” has won the Grand Prix of the Viva Film Festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The 15-miniute drama is about Dr. Saeid Aram, an Iranian artistic genius who is obliged to work in a salt mine with his six-year-old daughter.

Earlier in May, the film won the award for best narrative at the 7th Zayed University Middle East Film Festival in Abu Dhabi.

The Viva Golden Wood in the religious film category went to “Jewish Blind Date” by Anaelle Morf from Switzerland while the Golden Butterfly in the ecological film category was presented to “Nature Needs You” by Mark Pearce from Australia.

“Fortress Phenomenon” by Serbian directors Dragan Stojmenovic and Szilard Antal won the Golden Clapper in the tourist movie category, and “Adornment” by Serbian filmmaker Stefan Krasic was awarded the Golden Camera in the youth movie section.

Three other Iranian films were also screened in the various sections of the Viva Film Festival. “Sepideh” by Abbas Sendi was shown in the ecological film section and “Five Senses of Art” by Hesam Dehqani and “Iran Tour” by Benyamin Baluchi competed in the tourist film category. 

*'Abu Zeinab' nice enough to grab two Nice awards

A joint Iran-Lebanon cinematic production 'Abu Zeinab', by Iranian director Ali Ghaffari, won the Best Director Award and the Best Actor Award at Nice International Film Festival in France.

Ghaffari's flick competed in the event with 150 films from 60 countries, IRNA reported.

The film narrates the story of a Lebanese family during the country's occupation by Israeli forces. The mother of the family has suffered immensely but she opts to keep all her sufferings a secret.

The film has maintained all its cinematic attractions while keeping its reality-based narration.

The film's director said the flick is an emotional drama on resistance which can encourage young filmmakers to pursue the issue of resistance.

'Abu Zeinab' made its premiere in Lebanon where it was well-received by the audience, he added.

The objective of Nice International Film Festival is to promote cinematographic art by presenting films of quality and entertainment.

*Source: Tehran TimesPress TV, ISNAIran DailyMehr NewsIRNA