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Iranians’ New Cultural, Artistic Successes

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*World Music Award 2013 honors Veteran Iranian music player

Internationally celebrated Iranian Kamanche maestro Kayhan Kalhor’s new album has been awarded with top prize at the 2013 edition of World Music Award.

Kalhor and theTurkish music artist Erdal Erzincan were named winners for their last created album titled Kula Kulluk Yakisir Mi.

Kula Kulluk Yakisir Mi which has been taken from a folk song  represents  deep, dark and intense music. “This is music with the atmosphere of unease and the release of dreams.”

The top rated album is a joint work created by Kalhor, a Kamanche virtueso, and Erzincan who is a maestro in Baglama.

The album has also entered the list of top ten albums selected by the worldly famous music magazine of Songlines.

Kalhor  and  Erzincan have performed several joint programs in some music events such as the New York’s GlobalFest held at the city’s Marlin Room in January, 2013.

Kalhor is known for his brilliant performances on the traditional instrument of Kamancheh and creating a unique mixture of classical Persian music with folk tunes of the Kurdistan region.

Kamancheh, a Persian bowed string instrument, is related to the bowed rebab, its historical ancestor and also the bowed lira of the Byzantine Empire, ancestor of the European violin family.

Kalhor has also toured internationally and performed in several countries on numerous occasions. Two of his works were nominated for Grammy Awards in 2004.

He has also held many concerts along with the world-renowned musicians and ensembles such as the string quartet, Brooklyn Rider ensemble, in the US city of Minneapolis in 2012.

Kalhor has composed and performed with Indian sitar player Shujaat Husain Khan and Indian Tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri, with whom he formed Ghazal ensemble.

*Iranian Artist Receives Award of excellence

Shamira Derakhshani received “Award of Excellence” for her innovative use of numbers in her paintings in the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, New York Member Show Case of 2013.

The prize consisted of “four artists” show given by the institute to the award recipients.  Shamira Deraakhshani will exhibit eight paintings, six of which are based on the use of Farsi numbers. January 8-29, 2014.

In 2010, Ms. Derakhshani received the highly prestigious Dorothy Bostwick Campbell Memorial Prize at the 75th National Cooperstown Art Association for her art work.

In the fall of 2010, Andrews Art Museum Andrews, North Carolina named Shamira Derahshani Nicolas, “Artist of the Month”, while exhibiting several of her paintings.

She exhibits her work internationally and is collected by both private and institutional collectors.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Shamira Derakhshani spent the first sixteen years of her life in that city.  A number of scholarships provided her with a high school diploma from USA, followed by a bachelor and a master’s degree from the American University of Beirut.  She attended the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1972-1977.

*Iranian photo artists win top awards at Japanese contest

Several Iranian photography artists have been awarded with the top prize at the 74th edition of INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SALON OF JAPAN, Asahi Shimbun photo contest in Japan.

Among the Iranian winners, Sadeq Souri scooped the gold medal of the 2013 photo competition.

Abbas Abbaszadeh, Abbas Haji Mohammadi, Adel Paziar, Ahmad Moini, Arezou Qasemi, Mojgan Ebadi, Saber Qazi and Sasan Javadnia are among the other Iranians who were named at winners’ lineup.

An exhibition of works created by this year’s winners has been mounted at the international Salon of the contest in Tokyo.

The exhibition of winning works is also to be held in NAGOYA, OSAKA, FUKUOKA and other major cities in Japan.

The competition annually hosts any professionals and amateurs of different nationalities residing outside Japan.

*Farhadi’s ‘The Past’ enters BFCA nomination lineup

Iran’s Oscar winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s latest film The Past  has been nominated for award by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA).

Farhadi’s smash-hit drama entered the list of contenders for the 2014 annual Critics Choice Movie Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film section.

The Past (Le Passé)  is slated to compete with the movies such as Blue Is the Warmest Color, The Great Beauty, The Hunt  and Wadjda.

The film slowly narrates stories that are inside each other. The main story of the film revolves around an Iranian man who deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. When he comes back to Paris at his wife's request for a divorce, he encounters the family’s complicated situation there.

Farhadi’s immigrant romantic drama that was shot in Paris is his sixth directorial experience and the first one in a foreign country.

The movie was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language film Award of the 2014 Golden Globes.

The Past has scooped numerous awards so far such as two prizes at the 66th Cannes film festival including the Best Actress award and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (prix du Jury œcuménique).

Earlier this month, Farhadi’s Paris-set tale film grabbed the best foreign language film prize at the 2013 National Board of Review (NBR) award.

Last year, Farhadi's A Separation  won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

The Past  has also been named Iran’s representative at the Best Foreign Language Film section of the 2014 Academy Awards.

Founded in 1995, The Broadcast Film Critics Association (is an association of approximately 250 television, radio and online critics.

BFCA is the largest group of critics in the United States and Canada and traditionally a reliable bellwether for Oscar nominations.

*Farhadi’s film nominated for Golden Globe Awards

Celebrated Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s latest film, The Past, has been nominated for the 2014 Golden Globe Awards.

On Thursday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the nominees for the Golden Globe Awards 2014 ceremony. The 71st annual Golden Globe Awards will be held on January 12, 2014.

Farhadi’s film has been nominated at the Best Foreign Language Film section. It is competing with Blue is the Warmest Color by French filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche, The Great Beauty by the Italian film director and screenwriter Paolo Sorrentino, The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelsen, and The Wind Rises by Japanese film animator Hayao Miyazaki.

The Golden Globes honor the best films produced in the genres of comedy (or musical) and drama in the year.

Earlier this month, Farhadi’s Paris-set tale film grabbed the best foreign language film prize at the 2013 National Board of Review (NBR) award.

Farhadi’s film recently won two awards at the Tubingen-Stuttgart International French-language Film Festival in Germany.

The French-language film was honored with the Tubingen Audience Prize and the Distribution Aid Prize of the festival.

The Past (Le Passé) depicts the story of an Iranian man who deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. When he comes back to Paris at his wife's request for a divorce, he encounters the family’s complicated situation there.

Farhadi’s immigrant romantic drama that was shot in Paris is his sixth directorial experience and the first one in a foreign country.

Last year, Farhadi's Nader and Simin: A Separation won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

*Iran’s “Painting Pool” wins UNESCO Award at APSA 2013

The Iranian family drama “The Painting Pool” has won the UNESCO Award at the seventh annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).

Directed by Maziar Miri, the film received the award for “outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film,” the organizers announced on Thursday. 

The award was accepted by the film’s star, Negar Javaherian, during the award presentation ceremony at the City Hall of Brisbane, Australia.

Javaherian was also a nominee for the award for Best Performance by an Actress.

“The Painting Pool” is about physically challenged parents who face a problem with their only son.

The Best Feature Film Award went to the Palestinian film “Omar”. Produced, written, and directed by Hany Abu-Assad, the film is the first to be fully funded by the Palestinian film industry.

Bangladeshi producer Mostofa Sarwar Farooki was awarded a Jury Grand Prize for his “Television” and the Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen won the Achievement in Directing award for his touching debut feature film “Ilo, Ilo”.

The award for Best Performance by an Actor was presented to Lee Byung-hun for his role in “Masquerade” from South Korea, and the award for Best Performance by an Actress went to Zhang Ziyi for her role in “The Grandmaster” from Hong Kong.

APSA is endorsed by UNESCO, with which it shares a common goal -– to foster cultural diversity and promote mutual understanding, dialogue and peace.

APSA also has the endorsement of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), which regulates the world’s most important film festivals and events.

‘Fish and Cat’ scoops award at Dubai film festival

Iranian screen production Fish and Cat  directed by Shahram Mokri has picked up award at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

The movie, competed at Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature section, has been awarded with Special Jury Prize of the festival.

The film review and discussion was held at the festival after screening programs on December 7 and 9.

Produced by Kanoon Iran Novin, the movie is categorized as a social-action film that follows Iranian patterns.

The 127-minute movie depicts the story of a group of university students who face different problems during their trip to the north of Iran.

Mokri’s latest film Fish and Cat  has been participated in several international events so far.

The movie recently garnered the Best Film Award at the 2013 Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival (LEFFEST) in Portugal.

The movie also won the Special Orizzonti Award for Innovative Content at the 70th edition of Venice International Film Festival.

Fish and Cat  has been nominated for Best Director Award at the seventh Asia Pacific Screen Awards that will take place in Brisbane, Australia.

Mokri is one of the most successful Iranian directors whose films have been screened in numerous national and international festivals. His Limit of Circle received the Bronze Ebensee Bear of Austria’s 36th Festival of Nations.

His short film Burned, Cooked, Raw  was also awarded the Best Short Film prize at the 2011 Tashkent International Film Forum.

Ashkan, The Charmed Ring and Other Stories, Dragonfly Storm and Andosi  are among Mokri’s well-known films.

The 2013 Dubai International Film Festival kicked off on December 6 and came to an end on December 14.

*Iranian graphic designer wins at Taiwan contest

Acclaimed Iranian graphic designer Mehdi Saeedi has garnered Jury Award at the 2013 International Poster Biennial Competition in Taiwan.

The jury committee honored Saeedi for his new poster illustrating the status and fame of the world-renowned 13th century Iranian mystic and poet Mowlavi in the contemporary world.

The poster titled The Sun’s way: From Balkh to Konya was designed in celebrating the poet’s birthday anniversary.

Ordered by ECO’s cultural center, the poster was displayed at the exhibition of the biennial concurrent with the death anniversary of the great Persian poet on December 17.

The contest’s jury, comprised of top ten international graphic designers, selected 157 posters from among 1306 entries to showcase at the exhibition.

The works were submitted from 44 countries such as Germany, the United States, Poland, Japan, France and the UK.

Mehdi Saeedi was born in Tehran, Iran. He has participated in numerous domestic and international exhibitions, competitions around the world and has won several prestigious prizes.

He garnered top award at the annual poster competition of Graphis, the American International Journal of Visual Communication Magazine.

The artist designed and created the poster for a Mexican educational institution known as Centro de Diseno.

Special Award at the 7th International Biennial of the Poster, Mexico, 2002 and top award of the 2007 International Invitational Poster in Colorado are also among his received awards.

His works have been published in reputable international magazines and books and exhibited and kept in collections, galleries and museums around the world. 

*‘Parviz’ nabs top award at Kerala film festival

Iranian comedy drama Parviz  directed by Majid Barzegar has garnered top award at the 18th Kerala International Film Festival (IFFK) in India.

Barzegar’s feature length movie which competed at the international competition section scooped the Golden Crow Pheasant Award for the Best Film of the festival.

The film beat other competitors from the countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Turkey.

Centered on family relationships, the movie depicts the story of a man at his fifties, Parviz, who has spent life in his father’s home and has never had a job. His quiet routine suddenly comes apart when his father decides to remarry and tells him to move out.

Parviz  has participated in a number of international festivals and won several awards so far.

The movie received Jury Special Prize at the 13th NETPAC and named winner at the 10th Golden Apricot International Film Festival in Armenia.

The film also won at the New Directors section of the 2012 San Sebastian international film festival in Spain.

The movie was also presented at the 2012 edition of Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece.

Kerala festival includes various sections such as Contemporary World Cinema, New Malayalam Cinema, Retrospectives of Major filmmakers, Homage and Tributes, Contemporary Indian Cinema, Short films and Documentaries.

The event in its last year’s edition honored Iranian director and actor Ali Mosaffa's adapted drama The Last Step  that picked up the Special Jury Prize shared with Alain Gomis’s movie Today from Senegal.

The 2013 International Film Festival of Kerala took place from December 6 through 13.

*Iranian children honored at Bulgarian painting exhibition

Sixty-one Iranian children received honorary diplomas at the 15th International Youth Art Exhibition Nova Zagora in Bulgaria, the organizers announced last week.

Over 2600 works by children from 27 countries were submitted to the event.

The Nova Zagora association and DUGA Art Studio organize the exhibition every year.

*Iranian cartoonist finishes first in Italian contest

The Iranian cartoonist Behruz Firoozi has won the first prize at the 17th edition of the international competition Fax for Peace, Fax for Tolerance in Spilimbergo, Italy.

He received the prize for his cartoon depicting a little girl playing hopscotch but the safe base of it ends with a hole and tombstone, the organizers announced on November 21.

Other Iranian cartoonists Sohrab Kheiri and Parvin Mohammadi received honorable mention at the competition.

Peace, tolerance, fighting against any form of racism and the defense of human rights were the themes of the competition.

*Pouran Derakhshandeh’s film warmly received in US, India

Iranian feature length drama Hush! Girls Don’t Scream directed by Pouran Derakhshandeh has been warmly welcomed in the United States and India.

The movie received a great attention from the movie goers during its public screening in Laemmle Movie Theater in Los Angeles.

The leading Iranian female director Derakhshandeh’s social drama was also hailed at the 44th Goa international Film Festival in India.

Derakhshandeh’s film tells the story of abused children and ignorant families who do not make enough time in their day to listen and solve their children's issue.

Hush! Girls Don’t Scream was warmly welcomed during its recent public screenings in Canada.

Sponsored by Iran’s Farabi Cinematic Foundation, the movie won Best Film Award at the 2012 Fajr International Film Festival.

Hush! Girls Don’t Scream has recently garnered the Best Feature length Award of the fourth edition of London Iranian film festival.

Born in 1951, Derakhshandeh has directed 12 feature-length films and dozens of documentaries over the past four decades.

“My films are about those who have been forgotten. Family and children have always been the central themes of my films,” she also noted.

Iranian director, producer, screen writer and researcher, Pouran Derakhshandeh graduated in film directing from Tehran's School of Television and Cinema in 1975.

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

*IIDCYA garners Russian State Library’s honorary title

Russian State Children's Library has honored Iran’s Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) during a cultural program in Moscow.

The director of Russian State Children’s Library Maria Vedenyapina honored the Iranian institute with the title of Honored Culture Worker of Russia.

IIDCYA received the title for its published books displayed at Iran’s cultural week dubbed Russian Children’s Friendship Festival that was recently held in the Russian capital city, Moscow.

IIDCYA is the first foreign organization that was honored by the Russian State Library.

The hailed Iranian institute also presented a package of Iranian handicrafts, Sara and Dara dolls, and Iranian carpets to the Russian State Children’s Library.

Organized by the Cultural Attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Moscow, Iran’s cultural week presented various programs for children such as drawing, listening to Persian music, Reading of Persian fairytales and poetry.

Both Russian and Iranian children along with their parents can attend several exhibitions at the State Library for Children.

The Week also hosts several workshops focused on strengthening children's imagination and creativity.

While the event seeks to bring Russian and Iranian youngsters closer together, hundreds of young visitors and their parents have flocked to the festival so far to get familiar with Persian culture.

Russian Children’s Friendship Festival was held at the Russian State Children's Library in Moscow from November 18 to 23.

According to an earlier agreement, two countries established several cultural bridges such as cooperation of Russian State Library and Iran’s National Library and Archives.

*Portugal film festival honors Iran’s ‘Fish and Cat’

Iranian screen productionFish and Cat directed by Shahram Mokri has scooped the top prize at the Seventh edition of Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival (LEFFEST) in Portugal.

Mokri’s latest creation beat other 11 competitors at the event and garnered the Best Film Award of this year’s edition.

The Award winning French actress Juliette Binoche dedicated the prize to Iran’s director, Mokri.

The film was presented at the three times screening program in the Competition section of the festival.

Produced by Kanoon Iran Novin, the movie is categorized as a social-action film that follows Iranian patterns.

The 127-minute movie depicts the story of a group of university students who face different problems during their trip to the north of Iran.

Mokri’s latest film Fish and Cat have been participated in several international events so far.

The movie won the Special Orizzonti Award for Innovative Content at the 70th edition of Venice International Film Festival.

Mokri is one of the most successful Iranian directors whose films have been screened in numerous national and international festivals. His Limit of Circle received the Bronze Ebensee Bear of Austria’s 36th Festival of Nations.

His short film Burned, Cooked, Raw was also awarded the Best Short Film prize at the 2011 Tashkent International Film Forum.

Ashkan, The Charmed Ring and Other Stories, Dragonfly Storm and Andosi are among Mokri’s well-known films.

The year’s Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival took place in Lisbon and Estoril from November 8 to 18.

Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur opened the festival and Iran’s Asghar Farhadi’s French-language drama The Past was also screened at the Non-competition section of the event.

*Japanese government honors Abbas Kiarostami

Japanese government has honored the internationally acclaimed Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami with the Order of the Rising Sun (Kyokujitsu Shoujusho).

The veteran filmmaker was hailed for its valuable works and activities in promoting Japanese culture in the world and developing cultural relations between two countries of Iran and Japan.

The award was dedicated to him during a ceremony that was held in Japan’s embassy in Tehran on November 3.

The order is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, advancements in their field.

“Kiarostami is a renowned Iranian director in our country whose works gained acclaim by Japanese audience,” said Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda.

Kiarostami made a Japanese-language drama titled Like Someone in Love, which was co-produced by Japan's Eurospace and France's MK2.

Shot in Tokyo and the nearby city of Yokohama, the film is about a contemporary relationship in today’s Japan.

The Japanese television star Rin Takanashi and veteran actor Tadashi Okuno play roles in Kiarostami’s screen representation.

Premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, Like Someone in Love has participated in some international festivals so far and has been screened in several countries such as France, Portugal and Japan.

The internationally-lauded Iranian film director, screenwriter and photographer Abbas Kiarostami has mounted numerous artistic workshops and programs in different countries.

Born in 1940, Kiarostami has received very positive reviews and acclaim from international critics for his diverse works of art such as painting, photography, Poetry and filmmaking.

He has also garnered many prestigious awards, including the 1997 Cannes Golden Palm award and the 2008 Glory to the Filmmaker award of the Venice Film Festival.

“One of the most admired contemporary auteurs of cinema, Abbas Kiarostami is an inspiration for emerging as well as established filmmakers. His approach to filmmaking, which often defies conventional techniques, is much discussed and often emulated,” the head of Film Programming at Doha Film Institute Ludmila Cvikova had earlier commented.

Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, And Life goes On…, Through the Olive Trees, and Where is the Friend’s Home are some of his better known films.

*Iranian film ‘Bright Day’ warmly received in Argentina

Iranian film Bright Day directed by Hossein Shahabi has gained much acclaim at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina.

The film was warmly received after screening at the Argentinean festival on November 22. The movie’s discussion and review session was also held after the screening program.

Shahabi’s debut feature film was presented in three times screening program at the festival.

Bright Day was nominated for the golden Astor Award at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina.

The movie entered the nominee list of two top prizes including the best film and the best director awards.

The movie received great acclaim by Iranian film critics and audience of the 31st Fajr Film Festival of Tehran held in February, 2013.

The Mar del Plata International Film Festival is an international film festival that takes place every November in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The festival is the only competitive feature festival recognized by the FIAPF in Latin America, and the oldest in this category in the Americas.

The 2013 Mar del Plata International Film Festival kicked off on November 16 and will run through November 24.

*Iranian animation wins at Toronto Eastern Breeze festival

Iranian animation Red Line directed by Mona Abdollah Shahi has garnered the first prize at the 2013 Eastern Breeze International Film Festival in the Canadian city of Toronto.

The festival’s jury honored Abdollah Shahi’s latest creation with the Best Animation Prize.

The nine minute animation features a turtle and a lizard that are caught up in a cross fire. A decision by the turtle can put an end to the occurred problem but other incidents interrupt the result.

Iranian actor and children film director Hamid Jebeli was among the jury members of this year’s event.

Jebeli was also the festival’s special guest to take part in Q&A sessions after screenings of his works.

Experienced in acting, photography and theater industry, Jebeli’s Son of Mary, White Dream and Autumn were some of his works that were screened and reviewed at the event.

Over 80 movies from 35 countries in various genres of documentary, fiction and animation were screened during two-week festival in Toronto’s Carlton Cinema .

The Sound of Ghost from Russia received the festival’s Best Documentary Award while the Best Fiction Award went to The Needle from the United States.

At this year’s festival the participated movies were required to focus on the issue of ‘East’.

Eastern Breeze International Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Toronto, Canada, which previews short films, mid length films of all genres, which contains an eastern taste or philosophy.

The 2013 edition of the festival was held from October 11 through 29.

*Iran family drama nabs award in Mannheim film festival

Iranian drama Bending The Rules (Rules of Accident) directed by Behnam Behzadi has won top prize at Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival in Germany.

The film received the Special Jury Prize of the Competition section of the 62nd edition of the festival.

Behzadi’s second theatrical feature Bending The Rules was recently awarded with Special Jury Prize at the 26th edition of Tokyo International Film Festival.

Behzadi, the director and producer of the family drama, is continuing the legacy of modernized perceptions by the country’s new generations in the film.

Bending The Rules recounts the story of a theater troupe, that wants to take part in a theater festival abroad; however, the group members face certain difficulties before their trip.

The movie was also awarded with the Crystal Simorgh for the best film in the international section of Iran’s 31st Fajr International Film Festival.

The film will compete at the 35th Festival Des 3 Continents, which will be held from November 19 to 26 in Nantes, France.

Renowned Iranian actress and filmmaker Niki Karimi’s Final Whistle was the winner of the Best Film Award at the last year’s edition of Mannheim film festival.

The 62nd Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival took place from October 31 through November 10, 2013.

*Asghar Farhadi’s ‘Past’ lauded in Oslo Filmfest

Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s Paris-set drama The Past (Le Passé) has garnered award at the 23rd Oslo International Film Festival (OIFF).

Farhadi’s French-language drama picked up the Audience Best Film award at this year’s edition that took place from October 10 through 20.

The award is Farhadi’s second Norwegian prize after Andreas Award (World Church Award) that was dedicated to the director at the 41st Norwegian International Film Festival (Niff) held in August, 2013.

The Past depicts the story of an Iranian man who deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. When he comes back to Paris upon his wife's request for a divorce encounters with a complicated situation of the family there.

Farhadi’s immigrant romantic drama is his sixth directorial experience and first one in a foreign country that was shot in the French capital, Paris.

The Past has scooped numerous awards so far such as two prizes at the 66th Cannes film festival including the Best Actress award and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (prix du Jury œcuménique).

The film has also been named Iran’s representative at the Best Foreign Language Film section of the 2014 Academy Awards.

Farhadi was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by Time magazine in 2012.

His 2011 family drama A Separation also became a sensation and received rave reviews from numerous international film events and festivals.

The film won the award for the Best Foreign Language film at the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award in 2012.

*Iranian film scoops top award at Tashkent film festival

Iranian film Meeting Leila directed by Adel Yaraqi has picked up the top award of the 2013 Tashkent International Film Forum in Uzbekistan.

The actor and director Yaraqi’s film won the Golden Guepard Award for Best Director at this year’s festival while the Best Film Award went to the Turkish film Watchtower by Pelin Esmer.

A romantic comedy of sorts, Meeting Leila was written by the Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami and the director Yaraqi.

The 88- minute film features a young woman who demands her chain-smoking fiancé, an advertising agent, to quit smoking before their marriage.

The award winning actress Leila Hatami stars in the movie that was presented in several international festivals.

The movie competed at the International Panorama section of the 4th edition of Bari International Film Festival in Italy.

The movie was also screened at Panorama section of the 2013 Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival as well as Chicago International Film Festival.

The 2013 Tashkent International Film Forum took place in the Uzbek capital city of Tashkent from October 19 to 24.

*Iranian documentary wins top award at Chicago film festival

Iranian filmmaker Arash Lahouti’s documentary Trucker and the Fox has been garnered at the 49th edition of Chicago International Film Festival.

The film, as Iran’s only representative, was presented at the Competition section of the documentary category of the festival and received the Gold Hugo Award.

Lahouti’s Trucker and the Fox chronicles the life of a truck driver Mahmoud Kiani Falavarjani who is a documentarian as well and works on wildlife.

The sympathetic documentary captures Kiani Falavarjani’s fascinating life as family man, eccentric animal lover, and artist.

He is an animal lover and an award-winning filmmaker who is best known for his short The Raven and the Fox.

Produced by Iran’s Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC), the film was presented at the competition of national Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) Corporation, as well as at the Krakow Film Festival (KFF) in Poland.

The documentary was also screened at the Visions du Réel International Film Festival held in Nyon, Switzerland in April.

Trucker and the Fox also competed at the 2013 Lussas Doc Film Festival in France and Krakow Film Festival (KFF) in Poland.

The 2013 edition of Chicago International Film Festival was held from October 10 through 24.

*Serbian contest honors Iranian cartoonist

Iranian cartoonist Masoud Shojaei-Tabatabai has scooped the top award of the 17th edition of Salon of Antiwar Cartoons in Serbia.

Shojaei-Tabatabai picked up Grand Prix of this year’s event for his creative work titled The Peace Messenger.

“Shojaei-Tabatabai’s cartoon depicts that war is really devastating and leads everything towards darkness,” the director of the exhibition, Miodrag Stojilovic, said during the award ceremony.

Born in 1964, Shojaei Tabatabaei is the current director of Iran's House of Cartoon and a member of the Asian-Pacific Animation and Comics Association.

Shojaei has judged nearly 20 cartoon festivals, including the Aydin Dogan (Turkey, 2005), Guangxi International Cartoon Contest (China, 2007 and 2008), Red Man International Cartoon and Humor Contest (China, 2010) and the 36rd International Piracicaba Cartoon Contest (Brazil, 2009).

The winners were honored during an opening ceremony of the exhibition of their works that was held at the National Museum of Serbia in Kragujevac on October 20.

Omer Cam from Turkey received the gold plaque of the event while the silver plaque went to Pawel Kuczynsky from Poland and Serbian cartoonist Aleksandar Blatnik won the bronze plaque.

Some 533 works from 235 cartoonists from across the world submitted to the competition, from which 48 works represented Iran at the event.

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