Iranian Actress Portrait on Display at UN

Monday, June 22, 2015

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*Iranian actress portrait on display at UN

Acclaimed Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya is among 15 international figures whose portraits are on display at a multimedia exhibition titled ‘The Transformative Power of Art’ at the UN Exhibits in New York.

The exhibition features large fresco portraits of artists who have stood up for human rights, as well as sculptures and papier mache. The latter, made with natural materials, symbolize the beauty of our natural environment and the need to protect it, IRNA reported.

The 16 accompanying portraits represent people from all continents, who during their lifetime, contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way one thinks.

The portraits are meant to project the power of generosity that touches the human heart and conscience. The men and women who are represented never lost sight of the most vulnerable.

Motamed-Arya, 54, is one of the recognized actresses of post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. She has been nominated nine times for the best actress award at the Fajr International Film Festival and won the Crystal Simorgh four times. She had a role in Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s celebrated film ‘The Tales’ and played the lead character in ‘Nabaat’ which was Azerbaijan’s nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 2014 Academy Awards.

She is involved in humanitarian activities and helped raise funds for charities, and contributed to world peace. Her latest gesture is putting up her Crystal Simorgh award, presented to her for the role of best actress in ‘Gilaneh’ in 2005, on sale to support people deprived of a home in Iran.

Motamed-Arya’s portrait is displayed along with the pictures of Chinese actress Gong Li, Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, Nigerian playwright and poet Wole Soyinka and Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai among others.

The event also showcases paintings on the late British actress Audrey Hepburn, the late Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky and the late Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

The exhibition, which takes place under the United Nations ‘2015: Time for Global Action’ campaign, is primarily aimed to raise awareness about climate change and the fragile ecosystems.

The sculptures that are exhibited are made of many natural elements provided by nature’s bounty from all parts of the world. They bear testimony to nature’s resilience in the face of human-made challenges.

It seeks to demonstrate that art creates bridges where politics divide. It was designed with the conviction that artistic impulse always carries seeds of redemption.

The presence of four cineastes among the artists at the UN Exhibits shows the importance of the seventh art, cinema, in preserving global peace and underlines the positive role of actors and filmmakers in contribution to global peace initiatives.

The exhibition will run until June 30.

*Iranian appointed director of UCI Persian studies

Touraj Daryaee was appointed director of Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

He is also the director of Sasanika Project which focuses on the history and culture of Sasanians. His most famous publications include 'Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire and Sasanian Iran (224-651 CE): Portrait of a Late Antique Empire', ISNA wrote.

Most recently he has written a book on Iranian history from the pre-historic era to modern history.

Daryaee was born in Tehran in 1967. His elementary and secondary schooling was in Tehran, Iran and Athens, Greece.

He took his PhD in History at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999. He specializes in the history and culture of Ancient Persia.

*Iranian filmmaker wins Lenzing award at Festival of Nations

An Iranian film 'Cut', directed by Reza Jamali won Lenzing award at the 43rd Festival of Nations in Austria.

Meanwhile, production manager of Iran's Young Cinema Society Hassan Dezvareh was selected as a member of the event's international jury, Mehr News Agency reported.

The film recounts the story of an old man who makes up his mind to finish his incomplete film after 20 years.

The Festival of Nations is the most important international festival for non-commercial short films in Austria which was held on June 12-18 in Lenzing, Austria.

The festival is a week-long celebration of the world's best non-commercial film. Entries should be up to 30 minutes long and completed in the last two years. A pre-selection team picks a shortlist and an international jury watches those with the audience over the week, discussing them on stage with the filmmakers and audience two or three times a day.

Earlier, 'Cut' was awarded at the 67th Amateur International Film Festival (UNICA) in Slovakia.

*“Today” wins Special Jury Prize at Spanish festival

Reza Mirkarimi’s Today has won the respected Bronze Alhambra Special Jury Prize Award at the 9th Granada Film Festival Cines del Sur, Spain.

Award-winning director Reza Mirkarimi's Today chronicles a brief but inspiring encounter between two strangers; one the taxi driver Youness (Parviz Parastui) and the other a frantic pregnant woman named Sedigheh (Soheila Golestani) who begs the driver to be taken to the hospital.

Today is a profound testament to the enduring power of empathy and fellow feeling in an increasingly cruel and prejudicial world.

Mirkarimi's latest production was also selected to represent Iran at Foreign Language Film Award category of the 87th Academy Award.

Granada International Film Festival Cines del Sur aims at the promotion and dissemination of films produced in Asian, African and Latin American countries habitually located at geographical and political South.

In its 9th edition, the Cines del Sur film festival screened 36 films from 20 countries from June 8-12, 2015.

Iranian directors Azadeh Mousavi and Kourosh Ataei also attended the festival to present the documentary From Iran, a Separation in the Euro-Arab Foundation. The documentary, which is part of the series of films selected by the Al Jazeera Documentary Festival, looks at the significance for all Iranians of the film A Separation being chosen for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

*Iranian movie shines in Shanghai

An Iranian feature film ‘Thirteen’, a debut by Houman Seyyedi, won the best movie and the best cinematography awards at the 18th Shanghai International Film Festival in China.

Seyyedi received the ‘Best Film’ award in the Asian New Talent Awards section while Ali Tabrizi was chosen as the best cinematographer at the 18th edition of the event on June 19, Mehr News Agency reported.

The festival began on June 13 and will wrap up on June 21.

‘Thirteen’ narrates the story of a family on the brink of breakup. A family, whose dual-personality hero or antihero is a thirteen-year-old boy, experiencing coming-of-age, and befriends some kids which gets him involved in minor and then major crimes.

The event’s ‘Best Director’ honor went to Japanese director Momoko Ando for her film ‘0.5mm’ while a nine-year-old actress Yangchen Lhamo from Tibet took the ‘Best Actress’ title for her role in the film ‘River’. She’s the youngest actress ever to receive the award.

Taiwan actor Sean Huang bagged the ‘Best Actor’ for his role in ‘Appeal’.

The panel of jury for this year’s Asian New Talent Award was headed by South Korean director Kim Han-min.
Other jurors of the section were Taiwan director Yee Chih-yen, French producer Nicolas Brigaud-Robert, Malaysian actress Sinje Lee

*Iranian film 'Jameh Daran' praised in Shanghai Int'l Fest

A full-length Iranian feature film 'Jameh-Daran' (Clothes Keepers) by Hamid-Reza Qotbi was screened at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival on Thursday and received enthusiastic welcome from Chinese film fans.

'Jameh-Daran', Iran's only entry in the nine-day film festival in the major eastern Chinese port city was selected from among 2,000 applicants for the event's competition section which started on Saturday, June 13, IRNA reported.

The film, which was earlier screened for the festival's jurors, was highly welcomed in its public screening.

After its public screening, a press conference attended by Qotbi, actress Mahtab Keramati and actor Mostafa Zamani was held. The film was also a candidate for the best film and best director awards in the 33rd Fajr International Film Festival.

Produced in 2014, the film is based on a book under the same name by Nahid Tabatabaie. Its script was written jointly by Tabatabaie and Qotbi. The three-episode film is about a woman called Shirin who, during her father's funeral procession, realizes that her father had undisclosed affairs in his life.

Shanghai International Film Festival, established in 1993, is the only international film event in China recognized as an 'A' class film fest internationally.

More than 1,300 reporters from around the world cover the cultural event, which includes an international film market, a cinema associations' gathering, foreign and Chinese films' sections and about a dozen special projects as its special features.

*‘Fish and I’ nets German award

Iranian short cinematic production ‘Fish and I’, directed by Babak Habibifar, was awarded at the 20min|max International Short Film Festival held recently in Germany.

The ‘Young Jurors’ prize was awarded to the flick, Mehr News Agency reported.

The movie received an honorary diploma at the 11th edition of 2015 Rengo International Film Festival held in February in Chile.
‘Fish and I’ recounts the story of a blind man trying to save his fish.

The film has been screened at a number of international events and won several acclamations such as the award for the Most Original Film at Uhvati Film Festival in Serbia.

It also received the Audience award of the 2014 Short Story Film Festival in the US. ‘Fish and I’ has recently garnered three awards at the 16th edition of Soria International Film Festival in Spain.

‘After 17 Hours’ and ‘After 15 Years’ are Habibifar’s other well-known short screen productions.

The international short film festival 20min|max literally stands by its name: Films of multiple genres limited by a running time of maximum 20 minutes.

*“Cloudy Children” wins SSFF and ASIA Grand Prix

Iranian filmmaker Reza Fahimi’s “Cloudy Children” emerged as the big winner at the Short Shorts Film Festival and Asia (SSFF & ASIA), receiving the Grand Prix of the event that was held in Tokyo and Yokohama from June 4 to 14.

In 2004, the festival was officially accredited by the Academy Awards, making the festival Grand Prix winner eligible for nomination in the short film category of the academy.

Set in a central Iranian village, the film narrates the story of two students fighting over things that they could never have, and in the end they share everything that does not belong to them.

Earlier in 2014, the “Cloudy Children” was crowned best screenplay at the 31st Tehran Short Film Festival.

*'Nahid' shines in Cannes

Iranian movie 'Nahid' was awarded at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival in France.

Directed by Aida Panahandeh, the flick, together with the Indian director Neeraj Ghaywan's 'Masaan', won the special jury prize for debut films (Prix de l’avenir) in the Un Certain Regard sidebar.

'Nahid', Iran's only representative at the 68th Cannes, earlier received critical acclaim from Cannes jury, ISNA reported.

A production of Iran's Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC), 'Nahid' chronicles efforts by one Iranian woman to maintain both her freedom and the custody of her child. It features 'A Separation' actress Sareh Bayat.

The Un Certain Regard sidebar of the 68th Cannes Film Festival announced its winners on Saturday, with the jury awarding the top prize to Iceland's 'Rams' (Hrutar) by Grímur Hákonarson. The film centers on two aging and unmarried brothers who haven't spoken in 40 years who come together in a remote Icelandic valley in order to save their rams.

Isabella Rossellini served as jury president for the sidebar, with other jury members including French actor Tahar Rahim, Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour, Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki.

The 68th Cannes Film Festival was held from May 13-24. Joel and Ethan Coen were the presidents of the jury for the main competition.

*Iranian filmmaker wins best director award at Intermarché

Iranian filmmaker Amir Masoud Soheili won the best director award for his short film 'Blue Eyed Boy' at Intermarché Film Festival held recently in Cannes, France.

The 18-minute film has been screened at more than 50 international film festivals and won the grand prize in Mirlift International Short Film Festival in Morocco, best film in World Auteur Short Film Festival in India and Yogyakarta Film Festival in Indonesia, Mehr News Agency reported.

Produced by Iran Youth Cinema Institute and Simiaba Company, the film also won the audience award and the jury award for the best film at Russia's Beinten International Film Festival.

'Blue Eyed Boy' is the story of a boy with unusual color blindness which causes him to see the world in blue and puts his parents to shame when he accidentally kills some village livestock. His parents seek medical treatment for the boy, and when doctors cannot help, they take him to a local sage for remedy.

Soheili, an award-winning independent filmmaker was born in 1988 in Mashhad, northeastern Iran.

He earned a BA degree in Law from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, but then moved on to the film industry to serve as an assistant director in some professional movies for more than seven years.

He made his first short film 'The Car Blows Its Horn Just for Women' in January 2013 which was screened and awarded in some national and international festivals.

*Iranians atop biggest photography competition

Two Iranian photographers have been honored at the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards.

Two Iranian photographers Saleh Rozati and Ako Salemi have been honored at the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards, which is the world’s biggest photography competition.

Named “Don Bohlul”, Rozati’s photo was awarded first place in the people category which depicts a man warming himself with an embroidered rug.

Ako Salemi, the other Iranian photographer was presented with the third prize in the Mobile Phone competition section for his aerial shot entitled “Fighting” which shows a young boy posed for wrestling with a goat.

In the Mobile Phone competition section introduced for the first time this year, more than 10,000 competitors submitted phone images.

The award-winning photographs will be showcased in an exhibition at Somerset House in London from April 24 to May 10.

*Fiji International Film Festival awards Iran’s ‘Hush, Girls Don’t Scream’

Iranian filmmaker Pouran Derakhshandeh's Hush, Girls Don’t Scream has garnered two top awards at the 2015 Fiji International Film Festival.

The festival granted its Best Film Award to Derakhshandeh and its Best Actress Award to Tannaz Tabatabaei for the 2013 cinematic production.

The social drama tells the story of abused children and their negligent families who fail to meet the emotional needs of their kids.

Hush! Girls Don’t Scream will also be screened at the first edition of International Family Films Festival in the Turkish capital Ankara. The annual festival will also screen films from Turkey, Japan, the US, India, China and Australia until May 24.

Derakhshandeh’s latest drama won the Best Film Award of Iran’s Fajr International Film Festival in 2012.  It has also been warmly welcomed in numerous international events in Europe and North America.

The film received the Best Feature-Length Award of the 4th London Iranian film festival and the Audience Special Award of the 2014 Irvine International Film Festival in the United States.

Pouran Derakhshandeh, who has directed 12 feature-length movies and dozens of documentaries over the past four decades, is one of Iran’s most successful female filmmakers.

A Little Bird of Happiness (1987), Passing through the Dust (1988), Lost Time (1989), Love without Frontier (1998), Candle in the Wind (2003), Wet Dream (2005), Eternal Children (2006) and Endless Dream (2010) are among her better-known works.

*Peyman Moaadi honored as “Voice of Courage & Conscience”

Iranian actor Peyman Moadi has been honored at the 24th Annual MPAC Media Awards gala with a “Voice of Courage & Conscience” award.

The award was presented to Moaadi for his collaboration in “Camp X-Ray”, director Peter Sattler’s debut film on an unlikely friendship that forms at a Guantanamo Bay prison between a soldier (Stewart) and Muslim detainee (Moaadi).

The gala, which is annually organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), was held at the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles.

Due to his engagement in Japanese director Kazuaki Kiriya’s action adventure “The Last Knights”, which is currently is being shot in Malta, Moaadi was unable to attend the event.

In an invitation sent to Moaadi, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati praised him for his proper portrayal of a Muslim in “Camp X-Ray”, the Persian service of ISNA Reported.

Moaadi, the star of the Oscar-winning film “A Separation”, has previously said that he will never collaborate in any film which challenges Islamic values and the government of his country.

The MPAC also awarded some members of the cast and crew of director Ava Duvernay’s “Selma”, which tells the story of how Martin Luther King, Jr. and fellow activists organized to secure voting rights for African Americans.

The council also honored the crews of “The Newburgh Sting”, an HBO documentary that was produced by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner about four men from the impoverished and largely African-American city of Newburgh, NY, who were lured into carrying out a terrorist plot by an FBI informant in 2009.

*Iranian painters awarded at Intl. Children’s Art Competition

A number of Iranian children were awarded at the 22th Annual World Children’s Picture Contest IE-NO-HIKARI Association.

Nine Iranian children were awarded 2 Golden, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze Prizes and an Honorary Diploma at the 22th Annual World Children’s Picture Contest IE-NO-HIKARI Association.

The contest which is held annually in Japan, addresses the themes of Agriculture, Farming Area, Nature, Environment, People and Family.

Nasrin Mahboub and Mohebbat Changizi won the Golden Prize for Iran, Yeganeh Poutbashi was awarded Silver Prize and Taraneh Haji-Najaf, Yasna Shokrzehi, Narjes Seyyednejad, Hossein Nayyri and Baran Nazari got the Bronze Prize at the 22th Annual World Children’s Picture Contest. Amir-Hossein Mousavirad was the other Iranian participant who was awarded an Honorary Diploma at the contest.

The World Children's Picture Contest has been held as part of its cultural activities since 1993 in order to promote awareness of the importance of nature and agriculture as well as to encourage friendship and goodwill among children around the world and help them develop well-rounded characters.

*Iranian photographer wins Greater Lynn Festival award

Iranian photographer Ahmad Taji Eshkaftaki was selected as the winner of the US Greater Lynn Festival award.

Head of Charmahal-Bakhtiari Arts Bureau Hojjatollah Shirvani said that the festival is held under Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique (FIAP) in the US each year.

This year, the professional photographer from Shahr-e Kord competed with over 40 contenders from around the world and grabbed the honor ribbon award of the festival's free section for his photo 'Fire Girl', the first title of the event, IRNA said.

Taji Eshkaftaki said that the photo selected at the US festival features Ashura (10th day of lunar month of Muharram when Imam Hussein (PBUH) and his loyal companions were martyred in the plains of Karbala) and rituals associated with it.

The photo, as shown in the picture, portrays a girl participating in the traditional ritual of smearing the body with mud, he said.

Source: Tehran Times, ISNA, Iran Daily, Mehr News, IRNA