Iranians Cultural Achievements in the World

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review 

*Iranian Art Warmly Received in Italy

Works created by four Iranian artists have been warmly received at the 2011 International Art Exhibition of the 54th Venice Biennale in Italy.

Works by Mohsen Rastani, Morteza Darehbaghi, and Mohammad-Mehdi and Monir Qanbeigi attracted about 30, 000 visitors at the Venice Biennale exhibition titled ILLUMInations in June, Mehr News Agency reported.

The works were chosen from among the 235 submitted pieces by a panel of jury consisting of veteran Iranian artists namely Taha Behbahani, Gholam-Ali Taheri, Iraj Eskandari, Behrouz Darash, and Abdolmajid Hosseinirad.

The Venice biennial exhibition (La Biennale di Venezia) is one of the biggest art events in the world for the dissemination and illumination of current developments in international art.

“The title of the 54th Exhibition, ILLUMInations, literally draws attention to the importance of developments in a globalised world,” said Director of the event's Visual Arts Sector Bice Curiger, who also chose the name of the exhibition.

This year's biennale will run until November 27, 2011, presenting works by Italian and 82 international artists.

 *Belarus Awards Iranian Ritual Play

Iranian stage director Mohammad Hatami's ritual play has received the Best Play Award of the White Tower (Belaya Vezha) International Theater Festival in Belarus.

Hatami's Zar won the top prize of the 2011 edition of the festival that was held in the Belarusian city of Brest, Mehr News Agency reported.

The play blends the Zar ritual of Iran's southern Bushehr Province with William Shakespeare's famous tragedy King Lear.

The ritual is performed by a group named Ahl-e hava, which is conducted by a leader called a Babazari who dances to the music played on the local percussion instrument known as dammam.

According to Hatami, the performance was warmly received by the audience.

The International White Tower Theatre Festival was held from September 9 to 16, 2011, aiming to stimulate social dialogue, deepen human connections and foster greater understanding between individuals and cultures.

*UNICEF Awards Iran Radio Program

Iranian producer Mitra Ziaei's radio program for children has won the 2011 UNICEF Regional Award for International Children's Day of Broadcasting (ICDB).

Ziaei's program is aired on Iran's Salamat Radio and addresses children's issues. Two children perform in the show with a group of kids sitting in the studio, IRNA reported.

“I would like to take this opportunity and invite all Iranian television and radio broadcasters to join the future ICDB competitions and empower young people through involving them in the media,” said UNICEF Representative in Iran, Anna Riatti.

Ms. Ziaei's program won the award after competing with numerous radio programs from the countries in the Middle-East and North African (MENA).

The International Children's Day of Broadcasting is celebrated annually on the first Sunday of March when broadcasters from around the world are encouraged to allow young people to get involved in television and radio broadcasting.

The 2011 ICDB, with the theme of “Girls Are… Boys Are…,” invited children to talk about children's rights and their importance.

The winner of the 2011 ICDB Global Award is set to be announced on December 5, 2011 in New York.

*Iran-Iraq War Doc Receives Honorable Mention at Human Rights Filmfest

“Molf-e Gand”, an oral history documentary on the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war narrated by an Ahvazi citizen, won the Special Mention at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival.

The Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival, which is the first German festival dedicated to the subject of human rights, was held from September 28 to October 5.

Directed by Mahmud Rahmani, the film was selected for the award for its “discretion in portraying war’s disadvantages in a very different way that have not been portrayed in any other film.”

The film is about an Ahvazi man named Mohammad Ghadirzadeh, whose childhood is lost during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. In the film, Mohammad portrays voices, bombings and events that date back to his childhood.

At the ceremony, Rahmani dedicated his Special Mention to the brave documentary filmmakers in his home country.

The Czech filmmaker Petr Lom, who made the documentary on Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “Letters to the President”, made a short speech on the film during the closing ceremony.

He said that the film’s narration has a unique form not seen in any other movie and he added that he wished that he had made the film.

“Molf-e Gand” is a term common in southern Iran meaning foreboding. The entire film was shot in one sequence without any cuts, making it the longest sequence in the history of Iranian cinema.

The documentary, distributed by Sheherzad Media International, premiered globally at the Munich International Documentary Film Festival 2010.

Rahmani’s other credits include “White Oil” and “The Zero Degree Orbit”.

The festival is a leading forum for outstanding feature films, documentaries and animated productions, which have human rights as their main focus.

*Georgian Festival Awards Iranian Film

Iranian filmmaker Vahid Mousaian's Golchehreh has won the top award of the 2011 Batumi International Art-House Film Festival (BIAFF).

Mousaian's feature-length production won the Grand Prix award of the festival held in Georgia from September 17 to 24, 2011, Fars News Agency reported.

Iranian directors Dariush Mehrjui and Mohammad Atebbai were members of the 2011 Batumi International Art House Film Festival jury.

Mehrjui judged the event's Feature Film Competition section and his successful films Leila and The Pear Tree were presented at a special screenings program during the festival.

Atebbai also served as a member of the event's International Short Film Competition jury.

Established in 2006, the Batumi International Art House Film Festival screens feature-length films, shorts and documentaries from around the globe.

The 6th edition of the annual event opened by Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris in the port city of Batumi in southwest Georgia.

*Nader and Simin Wins Another Look Award at San Sebastian Festival

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi's critically acclaimed film has been awarded at the 2011 edition of San Sebastian International Film Festival.

Nader and Simin: A Separation which participated in the Zabaltegi-Pearls Section of the Spanish festival, won the TVE-Another Look Award of the event, ISNA reported.

Isaki Lacuesta's Los Pasos Dobles received this year's top award of the festival which was opened by Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Intruders on September 16, 2011.

Farhadi's the two-hour drama had the most successful screening in France, where it was welcomed by more than 800, 000 film lovers and was called 'the summer's surprise' by the Le Monde newspaper.

The audience favorite at this year's Berlin Film Festival also hit the screens in Belgium, the Netherlands and Thailand over the past 3 months, and is set to be screened in the Unites States from September 30.

Nader and Simin: A Separation has won numerous international awards including the Golden Bear Award of the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival and the event's Silver Bears for the entire male and female cast ensemble.

The Golden Arena prize of Croatia's 2011 Pula Film Festival, and the Best Feature Film and the Best Screenplay awards of the 32nd Durban International Film Festival are also among the international honors of Farhadi's latest production.

Farhadi received a USD 25,000 grant from the Motion Picture Association and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) for the script development of the drama which was assessed as "a beautiful human study of a very normal everyday life, with people in a region who are being challenged all the time by social, geographical and financial issues.”

The Hollywood Reporter has predicted the film will be among next year's foreign language Oscars nominees.

Sacher Film, which belongs to Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti, also acquired the rights to distribute the film in Italy and screen it in cinemas starting June 2011.

Farhadi's drama will also premier in Italy and Norway from December 25, 2011, and Brazilian theaters will screen the film from January 6, 2012.

It has also been nominated as Iran's representative in the 2012 Best Foreign Language Film section of the 84th Academy Awards.

The 59th San Sebastian Film Festival, known for promoting disquieting and innovative films, was held from September 16 to 24, 2011 in Spain.

*Canada to Honor Iranian Filmmaker

Canada's 2011 Iranian Film Festival is to pay tribute to the Iranian director, Pouran Derakhshandeh for her national and international achievements.

The award-winning female filmmaker will be honored during the 3rd edition of the festival, which will be held from September 23 to 25 in Toronto, Mehr News Agency reported.

This year's board of jury consists of Iranian cineastes Bahman Habashi, Alireza Khamseh and Morteza Shayesteh led by veteran actor Dariush Arjmand.

Bahram Bahramian's Aal, Alireza Davoudnejad's Salve and Masoud Kimiai's Crime are some of the films which will be screened during the festival.

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

Relationship (1986), A Little Bit of Happiness (1987), Passing Through the Dust (1988), Lost Time (1989), Love Without Border (1998), A Candle in the Wind (2003), Wet Dream (2005) and Eternal Children (2006) are among her better-known films.

*Iran's Karimi to Judge at Turkish Filmfest

Iranian actress and filmmaker Niki Karimi is slated to serve on the jury panel of the 2011 edition of the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in Turkey.

Karimi will be joined by some other renowned female cineastes, including Dutch writer-director Marleen Gorris who will preside over the jury, and Georgian National Film Center director Tamara Tatishvili, Turkish director and producer Biket Ilhan and Turkish film critic and academic Asli Selcuk.

Karimi participated in previous editions of the International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival with One Night, her first production as a director.

She also served as a jury member for the Izmir International Short Film Festival in 2006.

Karimi, who has appeared in more than 25 films and scooped numerous domestic and international awards, has judged at many international events including the Cannes, Locarno, Damascus, Rennes, Delhi Osian, Reykjavik, Vesoul and Berlin film festivals.

She began her career with veteran Iranian filmmaker Behrouz Afkhami's Bride and Dariush Mehrjui's Sara for which she received the Best Actress Award of San Sebastian and Nantes film festivals in 1992.

She made her first directorial debut in 2004 and her second film A few days later (2006) premiered at Rome Film Festival.

Karimi's latest film Final Whistle was warmly received at its Iranian premiere in August and has been screened in numerous international festival so far.

The 48th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, which is Turkey's most important international festival is scheduled to kick off on October 8, 2011 and will run for one week.

*Turkey Honors Iran's Jalal Zolfonoun

Turkish officials have honored renowned Iranian Setar player Jalal Zolfonoun and his ensemble during a seminar held in Iran's northwestern city of Khoy.

Zolfonoun and the Avesta ensemble were granted the Rumi [Mowlavi] medal presented by Konya's Provincial Culture and Tourism director Abdussettar Yarar.

The medal was awarded during the Mowlavi in the Mirror of Shams seminar held in Iranian city of Khoy on October 6, 2011, ISNA quoted head of ensemble Arash Avesta as saying.

Master Zolfonoun, accompanied by his band, formerly performed a 10-day series of concerts in the Turkish city of Konya, where the mystic Persian poet, Mowlavi has been laid to rest.

The group also presented several performances during the seminar.

Born in 1937, Zolfonoun began playing the Setar at the age of eight. He is also a professional player of the Tar and the violin and has performed in different international events and venues such as New York's Lincoln Center, London's Royal Albert Hall and the Persian Art Festival in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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