Iran Photographer to Share Prize Money with Syria Refugees

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

*Iran photographer to share prize money with Syria refugees

Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian has said she will donate part of a 100,000-euro ($112,000) Dutch award to charity, including Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

"It is hard for me to enjoy this prize as much as I would like to, seeing the region where I work and live in flames and tens of thousands seeking refuge in faraway lands," Tavakolian said on her Facebook page.

The 34-year-old self-taught photographer considered as one of the first professional female photojournalists in Iran, said she would be donating 15,000 to an organisation helping Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

"I have worked in both their countries and want to give back to all the kindness Iraqi's and Syrians always welcomed me with, despite the dire circumstances they live in," she said.

The Amsterdam-based Prince Claus Fund dedicated to culture and development said on its website that it had awarded its Principal 2015 prize to Tavakolian.

"Newsha Tavakolian is a self-taught photographer who combines photojournalism and art to offer new insights into the lived experience of people in Iran and the wider Middle East region," it said.

"One of the first professional female photojournalists in Iran, her work ranges from bold reportage of political events to sensitive portraits and evocative series on subjects such as the insecurity of middle-class youth, female Kurdish fighters or the impact of sanctions on individual lives.

"The aesthetic and intellectual qualities of Tavakolian's stills, videos, installations and photobooks question stereotypes and inspire young photographers across the Middle East," said the Prince Claus Fund.

During a recent trip in the Middle East, Tavakolian took pictures to illustrate the struggles of Kurdish women fighting the jihadist Islamic State group in northern Iraq.

Tavakolian said 13,000 euros of her prize money would be given to Sheed Award, an independent documentary photography award in Iran.

Another 10,000 euros will go to Mahak Foundation, an Iranian charity supporting children with cancer, and 7,000 euros to local organisations supporting and protecting animals.

Tavakolian's pictures have been published by Time magazine, the National Geographic and Magnum Photos.

In 2014, Tavakolian returned a 50,000-euro prize from the Carmignac Gestion photojournalism award citing a dispute with the French foundation over her right to artistic freedom.

She later changed her mind following negotiations with the jury.

The Prince Claus awards are given to individuals, groups and organisations based mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

*'Oblivion Season' grabs four awards in US event

Iranian feature film 'Oblivion Season', directed by Abbas Rafei, attended the competition section of the third Annual Rahway International Film Festival and won four main awards of the event.

The Third Annual Rahway International Film Festival held in Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts in New Jersey, the US, aimed to provide the world's independent filmmakers with an opportunity to promote hope, equality, empathy, and awareness through their films. Therefore, after the screening of each film, a seminar was held on the themes of the film by film experts, directors, and critics.

'Oblivion Season' bagged awards for 'Best Feature Film', 'Best Feature Narrative', 'Best Screenplay of a Feature Film', and 'Best Actress in a Feature Film', Mehr News Agency reported.

The flick had earlier taken part in Hudson Festival in New York (August 14-19), in Monroe Academy for Visual Arts & Design, Brasov International Film Festival and Market 2015, and the Colombian International Film Festival.

The Iranian work was also accepted for the 39th Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF) which opened on August 27 and will continue until September 7.

'Oblivion Season' competed in Iran's 32nd Fajr International Film Festival and its actress Sareh Bayat was a nominee for the best actress title. It also bagged the NETPAC Award (The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema).

'Oblivion Season' recounts the story of a woman in Iran who starts a new life by marrying her loved one, but it is not as easy to leave the shadow of her dark past as it seemed. Now she is the prisoner of her loved one and to earn her freedom, she will need to fight with masculine society.

*‘I Dance with God’ wins Bosnia prize

An Iranian documentary ‘I Dance with God’, directed by Houshang Mirzaei, won the Best Documentary award at the 9th Jahorina Film Festival in Pale, Bosnia-Herzegovina which was held from August 26-29.

According to Mehr News Agency, the flick depicts the life of an old blind man, Kak-Ali Badri, from Paveh in Kermanshah province. Despite his physical disability, he works as a tailor. He managed to afford enough to buy a beautiful orchard and plant fruit trees in it. He is full of energy and love towards life.

The Bosnian fest is a constant cultural event, whose founder is the Association of Citizens Jahorinafest. Its main focus is on the latest artistic achievements in the field of culture.

The event includes four sections: completion, competition, short movies, experimental films and short documentaries. The movie has contended in a number of domestic festivals including the 8th Iranian international festival for documentary films Cinéma Vérité, the 31st Tehran International Film Festival and the 44th Roshd International Film Festival.

*‘About Elly’ among top 10 foreign-language films in US

Asghar Farhadi’s ‘About Elly’, which has been on US screens for about four months, has been ranked eighth in a list of top ten best foreign-language films of the year, selected by Indiewire news site critics.

According to IRNA, throughout the year, members of Indiewire’s Criticwire Network, which includes 500 critics from around the world, have been adding their grades and reviews to the website film database. Their list includes films that have been released in US theaters in the current year.

The movie earned over $450,000 after screening for 114 days in 16 theaters, which is noteworthy for a foreign film with limited release.

The 2009 production was Farhadi’s start to global fame. The movie brought him the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 59th International Berlin Film Festival, reported.

The story is about three Iranian families who travel to the north of Iran to introduce the teacher of one of their daughters, to a divorced friend who is coming from Germany. But everything falls apart when the young teacher (Elly) disappears and no one knows if she’s alive or not! Judgments on Elly form the basis of the film story.

The cast of the flick includes Taraneh Alidoosti, Shahab Hoseini, Merila Zare’i, Peyman Moaadi, and Mani Haghighi.

The film was hailed in Iran and became one of the best movies of the year. Foreign critics also lauded Farhadi’s psychological drama in their reviews.

Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’ won the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category in 2012, while ‘The Past’ won the Best Actress Award for its French actress Berenice Bejo, at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

*Iranian artist wins Graphis gold award

Taha Zaker’s poster series celebrating ‘contemporary musicians’ has snatched Graphis gold award.

Taha Zaker, Iranian director and graphic designer, has been selected as the Gold winner for his poster series which celebrated contemporary musicians. Zaker has also designed the poster for the 33rd edition of Fajr International Film Festival and directed a number of plays.

Graphis Magazine was first published in 1944 by Walter Herdeg and Dr. Walter Amstutz in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, the Graphis tradition continues, presenting award-winning work on an online archive, from 1944 to the present in digital and print.

Graphis is committed to presenting and promoting the work of exceptional talent in graphic design, advertising, photography and art/illustration.

*Kiarostami’s movie among top 10 Asian films

Close-Up’, directed by Abbas Kiarostami, was listed as the top 10 films in the ‘Asian Cinema 100’ section of the 20th Busan International Film Festival which will be held from October 1 to 10, 2015 in Busan, South Korea.

The 20th Busan International Film Festival presents ‘Asian Cinema 100’ for the Special Program in Focus this year to celebrate its history, reported ISNA.

The ‘Asian Cinema 100’ — a joint project undertaken by Busan International Film Festival and Busan Cinema Center — seeks to shed light on the values of Asian film. The list will be updated every five years to act as a guide for the aesthetic value and history of Asian cinema and to discover hidden masterpieces and talented directors of Asia.

For the project, 73 prominent film professionals at home and abroad recommended their top 10 films, resulting in 113 selections and 106 directors (including joint rankings) for the final 100 list.

‘Tokyo Story’, a masterpiece by Ozu Yasujiro made the top of the list. Kurosawa Akira also had two films in the top 10 list that included ‘Rashomon’ (1950) in the second place and ‘Seven Samurai’ (1954) in the sixth. ‘In the Mood for Love’ (2000) by Wong Kar Wai came in third while ‘The Apu Trilogy’ by Satyajit Ray was fourth. The fifth place went to ‘A City of Sadness’ by Hou Hsiao-hsien and the seventh to ‘A Brighter Summer Day’ by Edward Yang both from Taiwan.

In addition, ‘Spring in a Small Town’ by Fei Mu and ‘Still Life’ by Jia Zhangke were both placed eighth, and ‘Close-Up’ by Kiarostami and ‘The Housemaid’ by Kim Ki-young — the sole Korean film on the top 10 list — came in 10th.

The top 10 (a total of 11 films) will be screened under Asian Cinema 100. A special book containing the details and reviews of the films on the list by 29 film professionals will be published at the festival.

Close-Up’ is a 1990 Iranian docufiction written, directed and edited by Kiarostami. A film — about human identity — helped increase Kiarostami’s recognition in the West.

*Iranian violinist awarded in Hungary

Accomplished Iranian violinist Sadra Fayyaz received a certificate of appreciation from Carl Flesch International Violin Competition held recently in Budapest, Hungary.

According to Musicema, Sadra Fayyaz, who is the son of a noted Iranian composer and santur player Mohammad Reza Fayyaz, took part in the viola section of the competition.

Dedicated to Carl Flesch, one of the greatest violin teachers in history, who died in 1944, the first Carl Flesch Violin Competition was organized in 1945.

In the late 60s the competition was substantially furthered and advanced to become one of the most important contests of its kind in the world.

The competition had been held annually from 1945 until 1966 following which it took place biennially.

After 1992, the City of London Festival unexpectedly decided not to continue with any of its competitions. The 10th Competition was decided to be held in Mosonmagyaróvár, Hungary from June 8-15, 2008, as part of the 43rd Budapest International Music Competition.

*Iranian artists among Malaysia photoawards' finalists

Four Iranian artists are among the finalists of the 2015 Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards in Malaysia.

Mohammad Sadeq Hosseini's photo titled 'Niloufar', depicting a girl living in the tribal zones in Fars province, was selected for the open category, ISNA said.

In the 'Seeing Beauty' category, works by Saeid Rezvanian, Mohammad Sorkhabi and Maryam Firouzi were among the finalists.

Out of 1,500 entries to the event, 75 were selected for the final section. The top prize winners from each category will be announced on July 18. A public exhibition of all the works by finalists will be held in Kuala Lumpur from August 1-15.

The Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards is at the fore of contemporary portrait photography. Reaching a global audience and centered in Asia, the event has attracted exciting and thoughtful photography in the genre, since 2009.

This year's gala is themed on the concept of beauty.

*Track 143 awarded at Sydney Filmfest

Acclaimed Iranian war drama Track 143 directed by filmmaker Narges Abyar won Audience Award for Best Film at annual Reel Sydney Festival of World Cinema.

The well-received movie in Sidney, has so far participated in various film festivals including in South Korea, USA, India and Singapore.  

The movie premiered at Iran’s 2014 Fajr International Film Festival and garnered rave reviews by critics and audience.

Abyar’s film received both the Crystal Phoenix for Audience Favorite Film at this year’s Fajr festival and the event’s Best Actress Award that was presented to the film’s leading role actress Merila Zarei.

The film has already won Special Jury Award for Best Actress at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Australia.

Track 143 is a screen adaptation of Abyar’s novel titled The Third Eye that narrates the story of a woman during Iran’s sacred defense.

The movie tells the story a mother waiting for her son who has been missing in Pre-operation Valfajr during Iran-Iraq war. She looks forward to return of his son for many years until she embraces his bones.

Track 143 refers to one of Iranian troops' track that located in Chazzabeh region where her son’s dead body was found.

Annual Reel Sydney Festival of World Cinema is a screen culture initiative by Cinewest in partnership with Sutherland Shire Council to be held at Sutherland Entertainment Centre during July 24-25, 2015.

The festival presents the best of World Cinema has to offer in a special curatorial program for Sydney region audiences. The features selected are accompanied by award winning short films.

*Iranian musicians win awards at Italian composing competition “2 Agosto”

Young Iranian musicians Vahid Jahandari and Alvand Jalali Jafari have won the first and third awards respectively at the 21st International Composing Competition -- “2 Agosto” held annually in Bologna, Italy.

“2 Agosto” is dedicated to scores for the narrator and the orchestra. The composer should use a text of his/her own choice inspired by beliefs and feelings of solidarity and peace, and the winning scores will be performed at the final concert on August 2, the organizers have announced on its website.

Jahandari received the first prize for “The Checkered City”, the text of which belongs to Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlu, and Jalali Jafari won the third prize for “The Red Apple of the Sun”, the text of which is by poet Sohrab Sepheri.

Italian composer Paolo Cognetti was awarded with the second prize, while another Italian composer, Matteo Maria Salvo, received the Special Mention of the Jury.

The final concert of “2 Agosto” is due to be held in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna on August 2 with Italian musician Moni Ovadia acting as the narrator. Vito Clemente will conduct the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale in performing the winning scores.

As usual, the concert in Piazza Maggiore closes the commemorative events on the 35th Anniversary of the massacre at Bologna Railway Station on August 2, 1980.

*US filmfest awards Iran’s 'Story of a Rainy Night'

Iran’s ‘Story of a Rainy Night’ has won two awards at the 2015 edition of the Fear No Film Festival in the US.

Directed by Mehdi Fard-Qaderi, the short film received the event’s Grand Jury Best of Show and the Audience Award Applauding awards.

Story of a Rainy Night” was praised for using a different approach in presenting filling the gap between the reality of family relations in Iran and the West’s demonizing media reports with sincere emotion and empathy.

Fard-Qaderi’s 24-minute film is produced by Iran’s Youth Cinema Association and narrates the story of an elderly man who is celebrating his birthday and takes a new look at the relationships among his grown children.

It has been screened and awarded in numerous international film festivals, including the Hollywood Festival of New Cinema and the 9th annual Colony Film Festival in Marietta, Ohio.

Mehdi Fard-Qaderi is one of Iran’s promising filmmakers who has directed several successful short films so far. His films have been screened in numerous national and international festivals.

‘Alternation,’ ‘Gramophone,’ ‘Shadow of Fog’ and ‘Life of the Sun’ are among his better known productions.

Fear No Film Festival is a short film and video festival which is held as part of the Utah Arts Festival, one of the largest, most culturally rich artistic events in the western United States.

The 2015 edition of Fear No Film Festival was held from June 25 to 28, presenting more than 60 short films and documentaries from across the globe.

*Iran’s “Fish and Cat” earns intl. acclaim at Spanish filmfest

Iranian filmmaker Shahram Mokri’s acclaimed psychodrama “Fish and Cat” has won the special jury award at the 5th Atlantida Film Fest (AFF), which was held in Barcelona from June 9 to July 9, the Persian service of ILNA reported.

A two-hour single sequence shot that fuses past and future, “Fish and Cat” shows a number of students who have travelled to the Caspian region where bizarre events lead to a complicated situation from which the students cannot escape.

The film previously won the Special Orizzonti Award for Innovative Content at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, which was held in September 2013.

It was also crowned the best film at the 4th Festival of Iranian Films in Prague in January.

The AFF annually screens acclaimed works by young filmmakers promoting technological innovations.

*Aghi awarded at US Salisbury Filmfest

Yousef Karegar’s short film Aghi won two major awards at Salisbury Film Festival in US.

Produced by Urmia office of IYCS, Aghi won the award for Best Picture and Best Actor at Salisbury University's Student Film Festival in US.

The 30-minute film tells the story of an old man who has been waiting for the return of his lost son for 25 years.

Kargar’s production has enjoyed a number of international screenings at various film festivals including Silk Screen Film Festival in US, the 18th Zanzibar Film Festival in Tanzania, Cannes Short Film Corner competition and Cinema Povero International Film Festival in Italy.

In its second year, the Salisbury University Film Festival seeks to encourage the exhibition of student works and engagement cinema as an art form.

Source: Press TV, ISNA, Iran Daily, Mehr News, IRNA