ⓘ Cinema of Iran

Cinema of Iran

ⓘ Cinema of Iran

The Cinema of Iran, also known as the Cinema of Persia, refers to the cinema and film industries in Iran which produce a variety of commercial films annually. Iranian art films have garnered international fame and now enjoy a global following. Iranian films are usually written and spoken in the Persian language. Iranian cinema has had many ups and downs.

Along with China, Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the 1990s. Some critics now rank Iran as the worlds most important national cinema, artistically, with a significance that invites comparison to Italian neorealism and similar movements in past decades. A range of international film festivals have honored Iranian cinema in the last twenty years. Many film critics from around the world, have praised Iranian cinema as one of the worlds most important artistic cinemas.


1.1. History Visual arts in Persia

The earliest examples of visual representations in Iranian history may be traced back to the bas-reliefs in Persepolis c. 500 B. C. Bas relief is a method of sculpting which entails carving or etching away the surface of a flat piece of stone or metal. Persepolis was the ritual center of the ancient kingdom of Achaemenids and "the figures at Persepolis remain bound by the rules of grammar and syntax of visual language."

Iranian visual arts maybe said to have peaked about a thousand years later during the Sassanian reign. A bas-relief from this period in Taq Bostan western Iran depicts a complex hunting scene. Similar works from the period have been found to articulate movements and actions in a highly sophisticated manner. It is even possible to see the progenitor of the cinema close-up: a wounded wild pig escaping from the hunting ground, among these works of art.

After the conversion from Zoroastrianism to Islam; Persian art continued its visual practices. Persian miniatures provide great examples of such continued attempts. The deliberate lack of perspective in Persian miniature enabled the artist to have different plots and sub-plots within the same image space. A very popular form of such art was Pardeh Khani. Another type of art in the same category was Naqqali.

Popular dramatic performance arts in Iran, before the advent of cinema, include Marionette, Saye-bazi shadow plays, Rouhozi comical acts, and Tazieh.


1.2. History Early Persian cinema

Cinema was only five years old when it came to Persia at the beginning of the 20th century. The first Persian filmmaker was Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akkas Bashi, the official photographer of Muzaffar al-Din Shah, the King of Persia from 1896–1907. After a visit to Paris in July 1900, Akkas Bashi obtained a camera and filmed the Shahs visit to Europe upon the Shahs orders. He is said to have filmed the Shahs private and religious ceremonies, but no copies of such films exist today. A few years after Akkas Bashi started photography, Khan Baba Motazedi, another pioneer in Iranian motion picture photography emerged. He shot a considerable amount of newsreel footage during the reign of Qajar to the Pahlavi dynasty.

The first public screening took place in Tehran in 1904, presented by Mirza Ebrahim Khan Sahaf Bashi. He arranged the screening in the back of his antique shop. In 1905, Sahaf Bashi opened the first movie theater in Cheragh Gaz Avenue in the national capital. In 1909, with fall of the Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar heir of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar and the success of the constitutionalists, Russi Khan lost his support. Consequently, his film theatre and photography studios were destroyed by the public. Soon after, other cinema theatres in Tehran closed down. Movie theatres sprang up again in 1912 with the help of Ardeshir Khan an Armenian -Iranian. In 1904, Mirza Ebrahim Khan Sahhafbashi opened the first movie theater in Tehran. The cinematographic camera was introduced to Iran in 1929, as yet another tool of modernization. After Mirza Ebrahim Khan, several others like Russi Khan, Ardeshir Khan, and Ali Vakili tried to establish new movie theaters in Tehran. Until the early 1930s, there were little more than 15 theatres in Tehran and 11 in other provinces. In 1925, Ovanes Ohanian, decided to establish the first film school in Iran. Within five years he managed to run the first session of the school under the name "Parvareshgahe Artistiye Cinema".


1.3. History 1930s and 1940s

In 1930 the first Iranian silent film was made by Professor Ovanes Ohanian called Abi and Rabi. In 1933 he made his second film titled Haji Agha. Later that year, Abdolhossein Sepanta made the first Iranian sound film, entitled Lor Girl, which was released in 1933 in two Tehran cinemas, Mayak and Sepah. The story of the film was based on a comparison between the state of security in Iran at the end of the Qajar dynasty and during Reza Shah period. Sepanta would go on to direct movies such as Ferdowsi the life story of the most celebrated epic poet of Iran, Shirin and Farhad a classic Iranian love story, and Black Eyes the story of Nader Shahs invasion of India. In 1937, he directed Laili and Majnoon, an Eastern love story similar to the English story of Romeo and Juliet.

The present day Iranian film industry owes much of its progress to two industrious personalities, Esmail Koushan and Farrokh Ghaffari. By establishing the first National Iranian Film Society in 1949 at the Iran Bastan Museum and organizing the first Film Week during which English films were exhibited, Ghaffari laid the foundation for alternative and non-commercial films in Iran.

Early Persian directors like Abdolhossein Sepanta and Esmail Koushan took advantage of the richness of Persian literature and ancient Persian mythology. In their work, they emphasized ethics and humanity.


1.4. History Pre-revolutionary cinema, 1950s-1970s

The 1960s was a significant decade for Iranian cinema, with 25 commercial films produced annually on average throughout the early 60s, increasing to 65 by the end of the decade. The majority of production focused on melodrama and thrillers. From 1937 till 1947 because of the world economic conditions and then the involvement in World War Two, the motion picture industry in Iran did not produce a single film, but the flow of foreign film to Iran did not stop. In 1947, Esmail Koushan, With the help of some of his colleagues, he established Mitra Films 1997, the first real film company in Tehran, Iran. Through their persistence, local feature film production was born and survived. The movie that really boost the economy of Iranian cinema and initiated a new genre was Ganj-e Qarun Croesus Treasure, made in 1965 by Syamak Yasami. Three years later Davoud Mollapour directed Shohare Ahoo Khanoom Madam Ahous Husband, which revolutionized Iranian Cinema by portraying womens role in the Iranian society at that time. It also showed actresses Mehri Vadadian and Adile Eshragh to be the heroes on big screen for the first time. In 1969, Masoud Kimiai made Kaiser. With Kaiser Qeysar, Kimiai depicted the ethics and morals of the romanticized poor working class of the Ganj-e-Qarun genre through his main protagonist, the titular Qeysar. But Kimiays film generated another genre in Iranian popular cinema: the tragic action drama.

With the screening of the films Shohare Ahoo Khanoom directed by Davoud Mollapour in 1968, and Kaiser and The Cow, directed by Masoud Kimiai and Darius Mehrjui respectively in 1969, alternative film established their status in the film industry. By 1970 Iranian cinema entered into its mature stage. The College of Dramatic Arts, instituted in 1963, produced its first graduates at the decades beginning. Many progressive film co-ops and associations came into existence and there were a few regular film festivals taking place in the country. Attempts to organize a film festival that had begun in 1954 within the framework of the Golrizan Festival, bore fruits in the form of the Sepas Film Festival in 1969. The first Iranian film festival was held in 1970 with Kaiser, The Cow, and Shohare Ahoo Khanoom winning the first, second and third prize for the best pictures respectively. The endeavors of Ali Mortazavi also resulted in the formation of the Tehran International Film Festival in 1973. From 1950 to the mid-1960 the Iranian film industry grew rapidly. Many studios were established as well as others that entered the Cycle of the film industry independently. There were 324 films produced during this period 1950 for 1965. By 1965 there were 72 movie theatres in Tehran and 192 in other Provinces. Ebrahim Golestan in 1965 directed by films of interest Brick and Mirror 1965. Bahram Beyzai is the director of one of the ground-breaking films of the Iranian New wave, 1972 Ragbar Downpour. Sohrab Shahid-Saless is auteur director who embodied his original style in his 1975 film Still Life. Abbas Kiarostami is now a well-known director of the 1990s who directed one of the last films that screened before the revolution in 1978, Gozaresh The Report.


1.5. History Post-revolutionary cinema

In the early 1970s, a New Iranian Cinema emerged cinema motefavet. However, following the Revolution in 1979, a few filmmakers and actors went into exile as Khomeini altered the focus in features. Between 1979 and 1985, about 100 features were released. While Khomeinis censorship remained, the small number of features produced focused on sexual display and European influence.

In 1982, the annual Fajr Film Festival financed films. The Farabi Cinema Foundation then stepped in to try and reassemble the disorganized cinema. The following year, the government began to provide financial aid. This change in regime encouraged a whole new generation of filmmakers, which included female directors as well. With this, the focus shifted to children overcoming obstacles: true stories, lyrical, mystical drama, real-life problems, documentary footage, etc.

Post-revolutionary Iranian cinema has been celebrated in many international forums and festivals for its distinct style, themes, authors, idea of nationhood, and cultural references. Starting With Viva. by Khosrow Sinai and followed by many excellent Iranian directors who emerged in the last few decades, such as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi. Kiarostami, who some critics regard as one of the few great directors in the history of cinema, planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme dOr at the Cannes Film Festival for Taste of Cherry in 1997.

The continuous presence of Iranian films in prestigious international festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival attracted world attention to Iranian masterpieces. In 2006, six Iranian films, of six different styles, represented Iranian cinema at the Berlin Film Festival. Critics considered this a remarkable event in the history of Iranian cinema.

An important step was taken in 1998 when the Iranian government began to fund ethnic cinema. Since then Iranian Kurdistan has seen the rise of numerous filmmakers. In particular, the film industry got momentum in Iranian Kurdistan and the region has seen the emergence of filmmakers such as Bahman Ghobadi, actually the entire Ghobadi family, Ali-Reza Rezai, Khosret Ressoul and many other younger filmmakers.

There is also movie-documentary production, often critical of the society in the name of the Islamic revolution ideal, like the films directed by Mohammedreza Eslamloo.

By the year 2001 the number of features produced in Iran rose to 87. The most popular genres were melodramas and historical pageants which seldom went to festivals. In 1997, the newly elected president, Mohammed Khatemi, would eventually come to play a role in helping filmmakers achieve a certain degree of artistic freedom.


2. Contemporary Iranian cinema

Today, the Iranian box office is dominated by commercial Iranian films. Western films are occasionally shown in movie theaters. and contemporary Hollywood productions are shown on state television. Iranian art films are often not screened officially, and are viewable via unlicensed DVDs which are available. Some of these acclaimed films were screened in Iran and had box office success. Examples include Rassul Sadr Amelis "I’m Taraneh, 15", Rakhshan Bani-Etemads "Under the skin of the City", Bahman Ghobadis "Marooned in Iraq" and Manijeh Hekmats "Womens Prison".


2.1. Contemporary Iranian cinema Commercial cinema in Iran

The internationally award-winning cinema of Iran is quite different from the domestically oriented films. The latter caters to an entirely different audience, which is largely under the age of 25. This commercial Iranian cinema genre is largely unknown in the West, as the films are targeted at local audiences. There are Three categories of this type of film:

  • Films before the revolution.

Lor Girl, A Party in Hell, Qeysar, Dar Emtedade Shab, Amir Arsalan, and Ganj-e Qarun.

  • Films about the victory of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the ensuing Iran–Iraq war and Action filled with strong religious and national motifs.

Eagles, Barzakhiha, The Viper, Dadshah, Boycott, Duel, Taraj, Ekhrajiha, The Glass Agency, Kani Manga, Ofogh, Bashu, the Little Stranger, Leily Ba Man Ast, M as in Mother and The Night Bus.

  • Formulaic films starring popular actors. With 130 Iranian films looking for a screening each year, cinema managers tend to prefer crowd-pleasing comedies, romantic melodramas, and family comedies over the other genres. The Lizard, The Blue-Veiled, Ghermez, Leila, Outsiders, Char Changooli, Kolah Ghermezi and Pesar Khaleh, Kolah Ghermezi and Bache Naneh, Actor, Ejareh-Nesheenha, Shokaran, Dayere Zangi, Aquarium, Cease Fire, No Men Allowed, The Changed Man, Charlatan, The Kingdom of Solomon, Guidance Patrol, Killing Mad Dogs, A Separation and Hush! Girls Dont Scream were among the post-revolutionary films that gained the highest box office records.

For many years, the most visible face of Iranian commercial cinema was Mohammad Ali Fardin, who starred in a number of popular successful films. In the more conservative social climate of Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, however, he came to be considered an embarrassment to Iranian national identity and his films - which depicted romance, alcohol, vulgarity, objectification of women, scantily-dressed men and women, nightclubs, and a vulgar lifestyle now condemned by the Islamic government - were banned. Although this would effectively prevent Fardin from making films for the remainder of his life, the ban did little to diminish his broad popularity with Iranian moviegoers: His funeral in Tehran was attended by 20.000 mourners. Before Fardin, one could argue, Iran simply did not have a commercial cinema.

During the war years, crime thrillers such as Senator, The Eagles, Boycott, The Tenants, and Kani Manga occupied the first position on the sales charts.

Officially, the Iranian government disdains American cinema: in 2007 President Ahmadinejads media adviser told the Fars news agency, "We believe that the American cinema system is devoid of all culture and art and is only used as a device." However, numerous Western commercial films such as Jaws, The Illusionist, Passion of the Christ, House of Sand and Fog, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sherlock Holmes, Alpha and Omega, Scarface, Casino Royale, The Mechanic, and The Aviator have been screened in Iranian cinemas and Iranian film festivals since the revolution. Despite great pride in the countrys more than 100-year film history, Western cinema is enormously popular among Irans young people, and practically every recent Hollywood film is available on CD, DVD, or video. State television has also broadcast more Western movies - partly because millions of Iranians have been switching to the use of banned satellite television equipment.


2.2. Contemporary Iranian cinema Iranian New Wave films

Iranian New Wave refers to a new movement in Iranian cinema. According to film critic Eric Henderson, the acclaimed documentary The House Is Black خانه سیاه است directed by Forough Farrokhzad famous Iranian poet and director paved the way for the Iranian New Wave. The movement started in 1964 with Hajir Darioushs second film Serpents Skin, which was based on D.H. Lawrences Lady Chatterleys Lover featuring Fakhri Khorvash and Jamshid Mashayekhi. Darioushs two important early social documentaries But Problems Arose in 1965, dealing with the cultural alienation of the Iranian youth, and Face 75, a critical look at the westernization of the rural culture, which was a prizewinner at the 1965 Berlin Film Festival, were also contributing significantly to the establishment of the New Wave.

In 1968, after the release of Shohare Ahoo Khanoom directed by Davoud Mollapour, and the 1969 release of The Cow directed by Darius Mehrjui followed by Masoud Kimiais Qeysar, and Nasser Taqvais Calm in Front of Others, the New Wave became well established as a prominent cultural, dynamic and intellectual trend. The Iranian viewer became discriminating, encouraging the new trend to prosper and develop. In the 1960s, there were New Wave movements in the cinema of numerous countries. The pioneers of the Iranian New Wave were directors like Forough Farrokhzad, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Bahram Beizai, and Parviz Kimiavi. They made innovative art films with highly political and philosophical tones and poetic language. Subsequent films of this type have become known as the New Iranian cinema to distinguish them from their earlier roots. The most notable figures of the Iranian New Wave are Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Majid Majidi, Bahram Beizai, Darius Mehrjui, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Khosrow Sinai, Sohrab Shahid-Saless, Parviz Kimiavi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Amir Naderi, and Abolfazl Jalili.

The factors leading to the rise of the New Wave in Iran were, in part, due to the intellectual and political movements of the time. A romantic climate was developing after the 19 August 1953 coup in the sphere of arts. Alongside this, a socially committed literature took shape in the 1950s and reached a peak in the 1960s, which may consider as the golden era of contemporary Persian literature.

Features of New Wave Iranian film, in particular the works of legendary Abbas Kiarostami, can be classified as postmodern.

Iranian New Wave films shared some characteristics with the European art films of the period, in particular Italian Neorealism. However, in her article Real Fictions, Rose Issa argues that Iranian films have a distinctively Iranian cinematic language

"that champions the poetry in everyday life and the ordinary person by blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, feature film with documentary." She also argues that this unique approach has inspired European cinema directors to emulate this style, citing Michael Winterbottoms award winning In This World 2002 as an homage to contemporary Iranian cinema. Issa claims that "This new, humanistic aesthetic language, determined by the film-makers’ individual and national identity, rather than the forces of globalism, has a strong creative dialogue not only on home ground but with audiences around the world."

In his book Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future 2001 Hamid Dabashi describes modern Iranian cinema and the phenomenon of national cinema as a form of cultural modernity. According to Dabashi, "the visual possibility of seeing the historical person as opposed to the eternal Quranic man on screen is arguably the single most important event allowing Iranians access to modernity."

While Beyzai and Taghvai represent the first generation and Karim-Masihi and Kiarostami represent the second generation of New wave filmmakers, the third generation is represented by Rafi Pitts, Bahman Ghobadi, Maziar Miri, Asghar Farhadi, Mani Haghighi, and Babak Payami, along with newly emerged filmmakers such as Saman Salur and Abdolreza Kahani.


2.3. Contemporary Iranian cinema Iranian popular art films

Parallel to the Iranian New Wave, with its neorealist and minimalist art cinema, there exists a so-called "popular art cinema" in Iran. Filmmakers who belong to this circle make films with a broader range of audience than the narrow spectrum of highly educated people who admire the New Wave, but believe that their movies are also artistically sound. Filmmakers such as Nasser Taghvaee and Ali Hatami are the best examples of this cinematic movement some of these filmmakers also make new wave films e.g. Mums Guest by Darius Mehrjui. The Demon and the Bald Hassan, Adam and Eve, The Fishermans Story, City of Oranges, and Talisman are some of Hatamis works.


2.4. Contemporary Iranian cinema Iranian womens cinema

Following the rise of the Iranian New Wave, there are now record numbers of film school graduates in Iran and each year more than 20 new directors make their debut films, many of them women. In the last two decades, there have been a higher percentage of women directors in Iran than in most countries in the West. Samira Makhmalbaf directed her first film, The Apple, when she was only 17 years old and won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2000 for her following film The Blackboard.

The success and hard work of the pioneering Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is an example that many women directors in Iran were following much before Samira Makhmalbaf made the headlines And the current Tahmineh Milani, Niki Karimi. Internationally recognized figures in Iranian womens cinema are:

Besides women involved in screenwriting and filmmaking, numerous award-winning Iranian actresses with uniques styles and talents attract critic. The first Iranian actress who won an award for acting in a major film festival was Mary Apick. The most notable Iranian actresses are:

  • Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Crystal Simorgh for the Best Actress, the 7th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Fajr International Film Festival Best Actress Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2010 and Best Actress Montreal World Film Festival 2011
  • Leila Hatami Best Actor Award Locarno International Film Festival 2012, Montreal World Film Festival 2002 and Silver Berlin Bear 2011
  • Niki Karimi, Best Actor Award, Nantes Film Festival and San Sebastian International Film Festival 1999, Best Actress in Cairo Film Festival 2001, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor Fajr International Film Festival 2003, Best Actress Taormina International Film Festival 1999 and Bastone Bianco Award Torino Film Festival 2005
  • Mary Apick, Best Actress Award Moscow International Film Festival 1977
  • Hengameh Ghaziani, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2008, 2012 and Best Actress Love Is Folly International Film Festival 2012
  • Negar Javaherian, Best Actress, UNESCO Award from Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2013 and Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2010
  • Fereshteh Sadre Orafaee, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2005 and Best Actress Pasinetti Award Venice Film Festival 2000
  • Mitra Hajjar, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2000
  • Hanieh Tavassoli, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2013
  • Golshifteh Farahani, Best Actor from International Section of Fajr International Film Festival 1997 and Best Actress award from Nantes Three Continents Film Festival 2004
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo, First Iranian woman to be nominated for an Academy Award and Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture 2009 and Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female 2003
  • Mahnaz Afshar, Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2011
  • Azita Hajian, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 1999
  • Baran Kosari, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2007
  • Pantea Bahram, Best Actress from Mumbai International Film Festival 2011
  • Pegah Ahangarani, Best Actress Award Cairo International Film Festival 1999 and Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2013
  • Bita Farrahi, Best Actress from Pyongyang International Film Festival 2009
  • Mahtab Keramati, Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2009 and for best actress from Batumi Art-House Film Festival 2013
  • Roya Teymourian, Crystal Simorgh for Best Supporting Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2000
  • Katayoun Riahi, Best Actress Cairo International Film Festival 2002
  • Taraneh Alidousti, Best Actor Award, Locarno International Film Festival 2002, Best Actress Osians Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema 2012 Best Actress Vesoul Asian Film Festival 2013 and Crystal Simorgh for best actress from Fajr International Film Festival 2002
  • Soraya Ghasemi, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 2001
  • Farimah Farjami, Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 1991
  • Susan Taslimi, Best Actor award, International Academy of Film Sweden 2000
  • Roya Nonahali, Best Actress from Amiens International Film Festival 1977 and Crystal Simorgh for Best Actor from Fajr International Film Festival 1989
  • Hedieh Tehrani, Crystal Simorgh for best Actress from Fajr International Film Festival 1998, 2006 and Best actress Pyongyang International Film Festival 2002

Furthermore, womens resistance against the symbolic order in the society has been demonstrated in different movies such as The Little Rusty Brains by Houman Seyedi


2.5. Contemporary Iranian cinema Iranian war films

War cinema in Iran was born simultaneously with the beginning of Iran–Iraq War. However, it took many years until it found its way and identity by defining characteristics of Iranian war cinema. Shows the most poematic view on the Iran Iraq war and still after years, is one of the leading films about this historical event from a humanistic aspect, although unlike other Iranian war cinema which are fully supported by the Iranian government this film was made with numerous difficulties. In the past decades, the Iranian film industry has produced many war films. In the Iranian war film genre, war has often been portrayed as glorious and "holy", bringing out the good in the protagonist and pandering to nationalist sentiments with propagandistic messaging. Tears of Cold and Duel were two films that have gone beyond the traditional view of war. Many renowned directors were involved in developing Iranian war cinema:

Other films famous and popular Iran Iraq War: Goodbye Life directed by Ensieh Shah-Hosseini, Heeva, Mazrae-ye pedari and Safar be Chazabeh directed by Rasoul Mollagholipour, Kirkuk Operation, Hoor on Fire and Kani Manga directed by Seifollah Dad. Che, Az Karkheh ta Rhein, Mohajer and The Red Ribbon directed by Ebrahim Hatamikia. Big Drum Under Left Foot directed by Kazem Masoumi. Gilaneh directed by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad. The Day Third directed by Mohammad Hossein Latifi. The Reward of Silence directed by Maziar Miri. Sizdah 59 directed by Saman Salur. The Queen directed by Mohammad Ali Bashe Ahangar. Mardi shabih-e baran directed by Saeed Soheili. Bashu, the Little Stranger directed by Bahram Beyzai. Snake Fang directed by Masoud Kimiai and Hoor dar Atash directed by Azizollah Hamidnezhad.


2.6. Contemporary Iranian cinema Iranian animations

There exist some evidences suggesting that Ancient Iranians made animations. An animated piece on an earthen goblet made 5000 years ago was found in Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran. The artist has portrayed a goat that jumps toward a tree and eats its leaves.

The first Tehran International Animation Festival was held in 1999, four decades after the time the production of first animation films in Iran. The Second Tehran International Animation Festival was held in February 2001. Apart from Iranian films, animations from 35 foreign countries participated in the festival.

The following are among the notable filmmakers of Iranian animated films:

  • Bahram Azimi
  • Ali Akbar Sadeghi
  • Noureddin Zarrin-Kelk

2.7. Contemporary Iranian cinema Children and youth films

Although early attempts also existed, the Iranian children and youth cinema came of age with acclaimed director Mohammad Ali Talebi b. 1958. He started his career in the 1980s and achieved success beyond Iran with Bag of Rice 1997 and Willow and Wind 2000, whose script was written by Abbas Kiarostami.

Talebi believed that producing movies for children and teenagers was a service to" the most fragile and vulnerable of the Iranian society.” In the 2010s, he became somewhat skeptical about the future of children and youth cinema in Iran, and in 2018 moved to Slovakia.


3. Influence of Iranians on Others New Wave

Amongst the pioneers of French New Wave were François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer or Barbet Schroeder born in Tehran, Iran in 1941 where his German geologist Father was on assignment.

During the first half of the 20th century, France was the major destination for Iranian students who wished to study abroad. Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Fereydoun Hoveyda was one of them. Fereydoun Hoveyda played a major role in French cultural scene and especially in the field of Cinema, for he was the protege of François Truffaut whom he befriended and with whom he helped create the well-known film magazine Les Cahiers du Cinema that spearheaded the French Nouvelle Vague or New Wave Cinema. He also worked closely with Italian film director Roberto Rossellini on several film scripts during that period. Fereydoun Hoveyda was not the only Iranian of his generation to play an active role in promoting the French Cinema dAuteur. Youssef Ishaghpour is another example.

Another Iranian figure in French New Wave was Shusha Guppy a singer, writer and filmmaker who was Jacques Preverts girlfriend. However, the most important contribution to the French New Wave cinema is that of Serge Rezvani an Iranian poet born in Tehran in 1928. He played a major role as music composer of both François Truffaut Jules et Jim and Jean-Luc Godard Pierrot le Fou, considered as landmarks of French New Wave Cinema. Farah Diba studied at the Beaux Arts and became the focus of attention and the French press was to see her as the new Persian Cinderella. Farah Diba was one of the rare foreign dignitaries to become a permanent member of the French Academie des Beaux-Arts.

Iranian Robert Hossein son of legendary musician Aminollah Hossein started his acting career with his French Armenian friend Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian known as the famed crooner Charles Aznavour in the mid fifties essentially type cast as "Mr. Tough Guy". However he got international acclaim in the early Sixties particularly in Europe, Russia and Asia as the mysterious "Jeoffrey, Comte de Peyrac" lover of the lovely Michele Mercier in the soft erotic-adventure film series of Angelique Marquise des Anges. In the seventies and eighties he was to play opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in police thrillers like The Professional. Hossein became known for being a talented theater director and his taste for popular historical vehicles involving large sets and numerous actors.

After the resignation of French President Charles de Gaulle, Iranian Anicee Shahmanesh became known under the screen name Anicee Alvina, playing a French girl in a British film hit called Friends, the music score of which propelled British pop star Elton John. She was also to take on a courageous lesbian role in the screen adaptation of Françoise Mallet-Joris novel Le Rempart des Beguines.

Two major documentaries were produced in these years by respectively Agnes Varda and the duo Claude Lelouch-Claude Pinoteau.

Agnes Varda, first to be discovered to young actor Gerard Depardieu in her 1970 film Nausicaa, directed a love story set in Isfahan 1976 between a French woman Valerie Mairesse visiting Iran as a tourist and her guide an Iranian Man Ali Raffi. The film was entitled Plaisir DAmour en Iran. The romantic film was shot on location in The Masjed Shah.

Claude Pinoteau and Claude Lelouch on the other hand shot their documentary just after the Persepolis Celebrations in 1971. They decided to address the urban transformations and cultural emancipation that the country was subject to by the early seventies.

Several Iranian expats such as Philippe Khorsand or Persian play writer/actor Yasmina Reza have also gained notice in recent years. The latter is particularly known for her highly intellectual introspections in such plays like Art Sean Connery bought the film rights advised by his French wife.


4. Music in Iranian cinema

Although Iranian composers usually have their own special style and music structure, they all share one thing: melodic, lively rhythms. That might be because they often begin with folkloric songs and shift to film music. In the past few decades, a few composers have emerged in the Iranian cinema with highly appraised works. Composers like Hormoz Farhat, Morteza Hannaneh, Fariborz Lachini, Ahmad Pejman, Majid Entezami, Babak Bayat, Karen Homayounfar, Naser Cheshmazar and Hossein Alizadeh were some of the most successful score composers for Iranian films in the past decades.


5. Iranian international film festivals

Film festivals have a rather long history in Iran that goes back to the 1950s. The first Tehran International Film Festival opened in April 1973. Although the festival never reached the level of Cannes and Venice, however, it managed to become well known as a class A festival. It was a highly reputable festival and many well-known filmmakers took part in it with their films. Great filmmakers such as Francesco Rosi, Michelangelo Antonioni Grigori Kozintsev, Elizabeth Taylor, Pietro Germi, Nikita Mikhalkov, Krzysztof Zanussi, Martin Ritt won the festivals awards.


5.1. Iranian international film festivals Fajr Film Festival

The Fajr International Film Festival has taken place since 1983. It was intended to be as magnificent and spectacular as possible from its very onset. It had a background as powerful as that of the Tehran International Film Festival and wanted to remain on the same track. Although the Fajr Film Festival is not yet classed among the top film festivals, it has been successful in making policies and setting examples for the future of Iranian cinema. In its early years it had a competition section for professional as well as amateur film 8 mm, 16 mm. Since 1990, there has been an international along with the national competition. The festival also features a competition for advertisement items like posters, stills and trailers. In 2005, the festival added competitions for Asian as well as spiritual films. The top prize is called Crystal Simorgh.


5.2. Iranian international film festivals NAM Filmmakers Meeting

Iran is the current President of the Non-Aligned Movement and hosted the 16th NAM summit between 26 and 31 August 2012, after which the presidency was handed to Ahmadinejad on 1 September. The latest move by the NAM Chairman has been to organise a NAM filmmakers meeting in order to discuss the establishment of a NAM filmmakers union. The meeting is to be held in February 2013, concurrently with the 31st Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran.


5.3. Iranian international film festivals International Film Festival for Children and Youth

The International Film Festival for Children and Youth has taken place since 1985. In its first three years, it was part of the Fajr Film Festival. From 1988 to 1989, it was located in Tehran, and since then in Isfahan, except for 1996 when it was held in Kerman. The festival features international and national film and video competitions. The top prize is called Golden Butterfly.


5.4. Iranian international film festivals House of Cinema Ceremony

On September 12, the national day of Iranian cinema, a celebration is held annually by the House of Cinema. In the 2006 event, Akira Kurosawa was honored.


5.5. Iranian international film festivals Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco

Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco IFF, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran, launched in 2008, is an annual event showcasing independent feature and short films made by or about Iranians from around the world. Website.


5.6. Iranian international film festivals London Iranian Film Festival

is an annual, independent film festival held in London, United Kingdom. It is now entering its fourth year. It is the only festival in the UK that is dedicated to Iranian independent cinema, with this years event taking place from the 1st to the 9th of November.


5.7. Iranian international film festivals Roshd International Film Festival

Roshd International Film Festival was first staged in 1963 by the Bureau of Audio-visual Activities of the Ministry of Education of Iran. It is centered on the films with educational and pedagogical themes and is staged every year by the Supplying Educational Media Center, a sub-branch of the Ministry of Education of the I.R.Iran. The Festival seeks the main objectives of identifying and selecting the best educational and pedagogical films in order to introduce them to the educational systems.


5.8. Iranian international film festivals Persian International Film Festival

Persian International Film Festival is an independent cultural film event, that brings together screen stories of diverse global Persian communities. Founded in 2012 by Dr Amin Palangi, it is Located in Sydney, Australia.


5.9. Iranian international film festivals Iranian Film Festival Zurich

Iranian Film Festival of Zurich IFFZ, is being organized to fulfill the cultural gap between Iranians and Swiss along with the foreigners living in Switzerland. The festival also wishes to contribute to the host country by bringing every year the best feature, documentary and short films from all generation of the Iranian filmmakers to Zurich. The IFFZ wishes that this becomes a platform for presenting the Iranian culture and tradition and build a bridge in such an exceptional city of Zurich among many nations present by the universal language of art and specifically the 7th art, cinema.


5.10. Iranian international film festivals Festival of Iranian Films in Prague

The main goal of the festival is to provide a vivid image of Iranian cinema for a wide range of international audiences in the Prague, Czech Republic.


5.11. Iranian international film festivals Iranian Film Festival Cologne

Iranian film Festival is programmed to be held in the city of Cologne in Germany to represent the country Cinema industry. House of Cinema in collaboration with Cologne Municipality paved the way for holding the festival.


5.12. Iranian international film festivals The Festival Cinema of Iran

Iranian film festival Cinema DIran is scheduled to kick off on June 26 and will run until July 2, 2013 in Paris.


5.13. Iranian international film festivals Houston Iranian Film Festival

The Houston Iranian Film Festival showcases the best in new cinema from Iran. Iranian film varied by jury is, In Houston, America will be held.


5.14. Iranian international film festivals Tehran International Animation Festival

International Animation Festival in Iran Held in Tehran.


5.15. Iranian international film festivals Other Festival

Other valid festival like: Iran International Documentary Film Festival, Moqavemat International Film Festival, International Film Festival 100, International Urban Film Festival, International Parvin Etesami Film Festival, Jasmine International Film Festival TJIFF, Celebration of Iran Cinematic Critics and Writers, Rouyesh Religious Short Film Festival, Iranian Youth Cinema Society, Edinburgh Iranian Festival, Iranian Film Festival IFF, Iranian Film Festival Chandigarh, Film Festival, Varesh Short Film Festival, Tehran International Video Film Festival, International Festival of Independent Filmmakers, and Canadas Iranian Film Festival.


6. International recognition of Iranian cinema

Here is a list of Grand prizes awarded to Iranian cinema by the most prestigious film festivals: Iranian serials are very popular in the region


  • Grand Prix: Majid Majidi 1997, 1999 & 2001
  • Best Actress: Leila Hatami 2002, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya 2011
  • Golden Zenith for Best Asian Film: Kamal Tabrizi 2004

Mar del Plata

  • Special Mention: Kambozia Partovi 2006, Hossein Shahabi 2013
  • Special Jury Award: Mohsen Amiryoussefi 2005
  • Golden Astor: Mahmoud Kalari 1998
  • Best Actress: Negar Javaherian 2014


  • NETPAC Award: Houman Seyyedi 2014
  • Audience Award: Majid Majidi 1999
  • Grand Prix: Asghar Farhadi 2004, Parviz Shahbazi 2016
  • Special Jury Award: Asghar Farhadi 2011


  • Golden Peacock: Samira Makhmalbaf 2003, Asghar Farhadi 2004, Mohammad Rasoulof 2005


  • Golden Dolphin: Majid Majidi 1997, Bahman Ghobadi 2005


  • FIPRESCI Award: Parviz Shahbazi 2003, Morteza Farshbaf 2011, Safi Yazdanian 2014
  • New Currents Award: Marziyeh Meshkini 2000, Alireza Amini 2003, Morteza Farshbaf 2011, Houman Seyyedi 2013


  • Best Actor: Hasan Majuni 2017
  • Best Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf 1996


  • Golden Tulip: Saeed Ebrahimifar 1990, Jafar Panahi 1998
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Bahman Farmanara 2001

Cesar Award

  • 2012: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Film, A Separation

David di Donatello Award

  • 2012: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Film, A Separation

6.1. International recognition of Iranian cinema Cannes

First presence of Iranian cinema in Cannes dates back to 1991 when in the alleys of love by Khosrow Sinai and then 1992 when Life and nothing more won Palme dOr by Abbas Kiarostami represented Iran in the festival.

  • 1997: Palme dOr Golden Palm: Abbas Kiarostami
  • 2013: Prix Un Certain Regard: Mohammad Rasoulov
  • 2011: François Chalais Award - Special Mention: Mohammad Rasoulov
  • 2003: Prix du Jury prize: Samira Makhmalbaf
  • 2003: Prix Un Certain Regard: Jafar Panahi
  • 2000: Camera dOr Golden Camera: Hassan Yektapanah, Bahman Ghobadi
  • 2004: Camera dOr Golden Camera: Mohsen Amiryoussefi
  • 2015: Un Certain Regard - Avenir Prize: Ida Panahandeh
  • 1995: Camera dOr Golden Camera: Jafar Panahi
  • 2016: Prix du scenario Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi
  • 2016: Prix dinterpretation masculine Best Actor: Shahab Hosseini
  • 2007: Prix du Jury prize: Marjane Satrapi
  • 2013: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: Asghar Farhadi
  • 2017: Un Certain Regard Award: Mohammad Rasoulof
  • 2009: Prix Un Certain Regard: Bahman Ghobadi
  • 2018: Prix du scenario Best Screenplay: Jafar Panahi
  • 2003: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • 2001: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • 2017: Prix du Jury Prize: Arsi Nami Entr2 Marches Cannes
  • 2011: Prix Un Certain Regard: Mohammad Rasoulov
  • 2000: Prix du Jury Prize: Samira Makhmalbaf

6.2. International recognition of Iranian cinema Academy Awards Oscars

  • 2004: Shohreh Aghdashloo: Best Supporting Actress Nomination for House of Sand and Fog
  • 1970: Ray Aghayan: Best Costume Design Nomination for Gaily, Gaily
  • 1997: Hossein Amini: Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination for The Wings of the Dove
  • 2008: Marjane Satrapi: Best Animated Feature Nomination for Persepolis
  • 2012: Asghar Farhadi: Best Original Screenplay Nomination for A Separation
  • 2001: Habib Zargarpour: Best Visual Effects Nomination for The Perfect Storm
  • 2012: Asghar Farhadi: Best Foreign Language Film Award for A Separation
  • 1999: Majid Majidi: Best Foreign Language Film Nomination for Children of Heaven
  • 1997: Habib Zargarpour: Best Visual Effects Nomination for Twister
  • 2017: Asghar Farhadi: Best Foreign Language Film Award for The Salesman
  • 2007: Kami Asgar: Best Sound Editing Nomination for Apocalypto
  • 1997: Darius Khondji: Best Cinematography Nomination for Evita

6.3. International recognition of Iranian cinema Golden Globe Awards

  • 2016: Asghar Farhadi Nominated Best Foreign Language Film, The Salesman
  • 2013: Asghar Farhadi Nominated Best Foreign Language Film, The Past
  • 2011: Asghar Farhadi Award Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation

6.4. International recognition of Iranian cinema Venice

  • Golden Lion: Jafar Panahi 2000
  • Silver Lion for the Best Director Babak Payami 2001
  • OCIC Award: Babak Payami 2001
  • Special Jury Prize: Abbas Kiarostami 1999, Abdolreza Kahani 2009
  • The Special Orizzonti Jury Prize: Shahram Mokri 2013
  • UNICEF Award: Babak Payami 2001
  • Isvema Award: Marzieh Meshkini 2000
  • Pasinetti Award: Babak Payami 2001
  • UNESCO Award: Marzieh Meshkini 2000
  • Golden Osella for the Best Director: Abolfazl Jalili 1995, Shirin Neshat 2009
  • Best Screenplay Award: Rakhshan Bani Etemad 2014
  • Open Prize: Marzieh Meshkini 2004
  • CinemAvvenire Award: Abbas Kiarostami 1999, Marzieh Meshkini 2000
  • SIGNIS Award - Honorable Mention: Amir Naderi 2008
  • Lina Mangiacapre Award - Special Mention: Hana Makhmalbaf 2003
  • The Orizzonti Award for Best Actor: Navid Mohammadzadeh 2017
  • Special Jury Prize: Ana Lily Amirpour 2016
  • The Orizzonti Award for Best Director: Vahid Jalilvand 2017
  • Digital Cinema Award: Mania Akbari 2004
  • Netpac Award: Babak Payami 2001
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Dariush Mehrjui 1971, Abbas Kiarostami 1999, Ramin Bahrani 2008

6.5. International recognition of Iranian cinema Berlin

  • Silver Bear for Best Director: Asghar Farhadi 2009
  • Special Mention: Masoud Kimiai 1991
  • Don Quixote Award - Special Mention: Dariush Mehrjui 1999
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Sohrab Shahid Saless 1974 & 1975
  • Crystal Bear for the Best Short Film {Dena Rassam. Farhad Delaram} 2019
  • Netpac Award: Mani Haghighi 2012
  • Jury Grand Prix: Jafar Panahi 2006
  • Crystal Bear Generation Kplus - Best Feature Film: Hana Makhmalbaf 2008
  • Silver Bear for Best Actor: Reza Naji 2008, A Separation Total Actors 2011
  • Interfilm Award: Dariush Mehrjui 1972, Sohrab Shahid Saless 1974 & 1975
  • Silver Bear for Best Script: Jafar Panahi 2013
  • Teddy Award for the Best Short Film: Maryam Keshavarz
  • OCIC Award: Dariush Mehrjui 1969, Sohrab Shahid Saless 1974 & 1975
  • Silver Bear for Best Actress: A Separation Total Actresses 2011
  • Peace Film Award: Hana Makhmalbaf 2008
  • Golden Bear: Asghar Farhadi 2011, Jafar Panahi 2015, Mohammad Rasoulof 2020
  • Silver Bear: Parviz Kimiavi 1976

6.6. International recognition of Iranian cinema London

  • Grierson Award for the Best Documentary: Mehrdad Oskouei 2016
  • Sutherland Trophy: Marjane Satrapi 2007, Samira Makhmalbaf 1998
  • FIPRESCI International Critics Prize: Ramin Bahrani 2005
  • FIPRESCI Prize - Special Mention: Abolfazl Jalili 1998, Babak Payami 2001
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Babak Payami 2001

6.7. International recognition of Iranian cinema San Sebastian

  • TVE Otra Mirada Award: Hana Makhmalbaf 2007
  • FIPRESCI Award: Bahman Ghobadi 2006
  • Jury Prize for Best Cinematography: Touraj Aslani 2012.
  • Special Prize of the Jury: Hana Makhmalbaf 2007
  • Golden Shell: Dariush Mehrjui 1993, Bahman Ghobadi 2004 & 2006
  • Special Jury Prize: Majid Majidi 1996, Samira Makhmalbaf 2008
  • Silver Shell: Niki Karimi 1993, Abolfazl Jalili 1998

6.8. International recognition of Iranian cinema Montreal

  • Grand Prix: Majid Majidi 1997, 1999 & 2001
  • Best Actress: Leila Hatami 2002, Fatemeh Motamed-Arya 2011
  • Golden Zenith for Best Asian Film: Kamal Tabrizi 2004

6.9. International recognition of Iranian cinema Karlovy Vary

  • Don Quijote Award - Special Mention: Khosrow Sinai 2000, Alireza Amini 2004
  • Special Jury Prize: Mohsen Makhmalbaf 1992
  • Special Jury Prize: Abdolreza Kahani 2009
  • Best Actress: Leila Hatami 2012
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Ali Mosaffa 2012
  • Best Actor: Hamid Farrokhnezhad 2000

6.10. International recognition of Iranian cinema Mar del Plata

  • Special Mention: Kambozia Partovi 2006, Hossein Shahabi 2013
  • Special Jury Award: Mohsen Amiryoussefi 2005
  • Golden Astor: Mahmoud Kalari 1998
  • Best Actress: Negar Javaherian 2014

6.11. International recognition of Iranian cinema Thessaloniki

  • Best Director: Marzieh Meshkini 2000
  • Golden Alexander: Mohsen Amiryoussefi 2004
  • Silver Alexander: Mona Zandi Haghighi 2006
  • Golden Alexander: Abdolreza Kahani 2008
  • Special Artistic Achievement: Alireza Amini 2003
  • Audience Award: Mohsen Amiryoussefi 2004
  • Special Jury Award: Vahid Jalilvand 2017
  • Special Mention: Hossein Shahabi 2013

6.12. International recognition of Iranian cinema Moscow

  • Special Golden St.George: Rakhshan Bani Etemad 2001
  • Golden George: Reza Mirkarimi 2008 & 2016
  • Silver George for the best actor: Faramarz Gharibian 2003, Hamid Farrokhnezhad 2005, Farhad Aslani 2016
  • Best Actress: Mary Apick 1977, Soha Niasti 2019
  • Russian Critics Jurys Prize: Reza Mirkarimi 2008
  • Special Jury Prize: Vahid Mousaian 2002

6.13. International recognition of Iranian cinema Chicago

  • Silver Hugo of the Docufest Competition: Arash T. Riahi 2006.
  • Special Jury Prize: Bahman Ghobadi 2000 & 2004, Asghar Farhadi 2016
  • Best Screenplay: Mohammad Rasoulof 2017
  • Gold Hugo: Jafar Panahi 2003, Asghar Farhadi 2006, Mohsen Makhmalbaf 2014
  • Silver Hugo for the Best First Film: Marzieh Meshkini 2000
  • Best Actor: Ezzatollah Entezami 1971
  • Best Documentary: Arash Lahooti 2013
  • Silver Hugo: Abbas Kiarostami 1994

6.14. International recognition of Iranian cinema Shanghai

  • Golden Goblet for the Best Actor: Hamed Behdad 2019
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Film: Reza Mirkarimi 2019
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Actress: Sareh Bayat 2017
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Director: Reza Mirkarimi 2019
  • Golden Goblet for the Best Film: Khosro Masumi 2004 & 2012
  • Grand Jury Prize: Mostafa Taghizadeh 2017

6.15. International recognition of Iranian cinema Warsaw

  • NETPAC Award: Houman Seyyedi 2014
  • Audience Award: Majid Majidi 1999
  • Grand Prix: Asghar Farhadi 2004, Parviz Shahbazi 2016
  • Special Jury Award: Asghar Farhadi 2011

6.16. International recognition of Iranian cinema Goa

  • Golden Peacock: Samira Makhmalbaf 2003, Asghar Farhadi 2004, Mohammad Rasoulof 2005

6.17. International recognition of Iranian cinema Festroia

  • Golden Dolphin: Majid Majidi 1997, Bahman Ghobadi 2005

6.18. International recognition of Iranian cinema Busan

  • FIPRESCI Award: Parviz Shahbazi 2003, Morteza Farshbaf 2011, Safi Yazdanian 2014
  • New Currents Award: Marziyeh Meshkini 2000, Alireza Amini 2003, Morteza Farshbaf 2011, Houman Seyyedi 2013

6.19. International recognition of Iranian cinema Nantes

  • Golden Montgolfiere: Amir Naderi 1985 & 1989, Abolfazl Jalili 1996 & 2001, Saman Salur 2006
  • Best Actress: Golshifteh Farahani 2004
  • Silver Montgolfiere: Dariush Mehrjui 1993, Reza Mirkarimi 2000
  • Special Jury Award: Alireza Davoudnejad 1992, Asghar Farhadi 2006

6.20. International recognition of Iranian cinema Sitges

  • Best Actor: Hasan Majuni 2017
  • Best Director: Mohsen Makhmalbaf 1996

6.21. International recognition of Iranian cinema Istanbul

  • Golden Tulip: Saeed Ebrahimifar 1990, Jafar Panahi 1998
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Bahman Farmanara 2001

6.22. International recognition of Iranian cinema Cairo

  • Best Actress: Pegah Ahangarani 1999, Niki Karimi 2001, Katayoun Riahi 2002
  • Best Director: Masoud Kimiai 1978, Khosro Masumi 2006
  • Best Film: Nima Javidi 2014
  • Best Screenplay: Kianoush Ayari 1998, Tahmineh Milani 2003

6.23. International recognition of Iranian cinema Lifelong achievement Awards

  • Amir Naderi: Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award 2016
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf: Parajanov Award for outstanding Artistic contribution to the world cinema 2006
  • Samira Makhmalbaf: Federico Fellini Gold Medal UNESCO 2000
  • Abbas Kiarostami: François Truffaut Award 1992
  • Samira Makhmalbaf: The grand Jury prize American Film Institute 2000
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Prix Roberto Rossellini Cannes Film Festival 1992
  • Ezzatolah Entezami: UNESCO Award 2006
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Federico Fellini Gold Medal, UNESCO 1997
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Akira Kurosawa Honorary Award of the San Francisco International Film Festival 2000
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Prix Henri Langlois Prize 2006
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Honorary doctorate, Ecole Normale Superieure 2003
  • Jafar Panahi: Podo Award, at Valdivia Film Festival 2007
  • Abbas Kiarostami: Officier de la Legion dhonneur from Ministry of Culture and Art of France 1996
  • Rakhshan Bani-Etemad: Prince Claus Awards 1998
  • Behrouz Gharibpour: The Hans Christian Andersen Award 2002
  • Asghar Farhadi: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay 2011
  • Mohsen Makhmalbaf: Federico Fellini Gold Medal UNESCO 2001

6.24. International recognition of Iranian cinema Cesar Award

  • 2012: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Film, A Separation

6.25. International recognition of Iranian cinema David di Donatello Award

  • 2012: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Film, A Separation

6.26. International recognition of Iranian cinema National Board of Review

  • 2017: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Language Film, The Salesman
  • 2011: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation
  • 2013: Asghar Farhadi Best Foreign Language Film, The Past

7. Censorship

Although the Iranian film industry is flourishing, its filmmakers have operated under censorship rules, both before and after the revolution. Some Iranian films that have been internationally acclaimed are banned in Iran itself. Conversely, some Iranian filmmakers have faced hostility in other countries.


7.1. Censorship Censorship within Iran

Dariush Mehrjuis seminal film Gaav The Cow, 1969 is now considered a pioneering work of the Iranian New Wave. The film was sponsored by the state, but they promptly banned it upon completion because its vision of rural life clashed with the progressive image of Iran that the Shah wished to project, while its prominence at international film festivals annoyed the regime.

After the Iranian revolution, filmmakers experienced more restrictions. Since the mid-1980s, Irans policy on film censorship has been changed in order to promote domestic film production: the strict censorship eased after December 1987. Old directors resurfaced and new ones emerged. However, the application of the rules is often inconsistent. Several films have been refused release inside Iran, but have been given export permits to enter international film festivals. Even here, the censorship is inconsistent: May Lady by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad 1998 got through but her contribution to Stories of Kish 1999 did not.

All of Jafar Panahis films have been banned from public theaters in Iran. Offside was relegated to "a guest slot" at the International Fajr Film Festival. "It was not shown as an important film", says Panahi. "They didnt give any value to it." Several of Mohsen Makhmalbafs films are also banned in Iran. For example, Time of Love and The night of Zaiandeh-rood were banned for dealing with physical love and for raising doubts about the revolution.

In 2001, feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani who made The Hidden Half was jailed because her movie was presumed anti-revolution against the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many Iranian and international artists and filmmakers demanded her release. After 8 days of Imprisonment, Eventually President Khatami and the Minister of Culture were able to secure her release. In Nargess, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad who is a pioneer among female Iranian film directors, pushes censorship codes to the limits, questioning the morals of society, showing desperate people overwhelmed by social conditions and a couple living together without being married.

Abbas Kiarostami was significantly acclaimed in Europe but the Islamic government has refused screening of his films in his own country. Kiarostamis films have been banned in his country for more than 10 years. They are only accessible there through unauthorized DVDs and private screenings. Kiarostami is uncertain what the government dislikes about his films, saying "I think they dont understand my films and so they prevent them being shown just in case there is a message they dont want to get out." alongside two musicians, and was transferred to Ward 2-A of Evin Prison where all three of them were held in solitary confinement for more than two months and were threatened with televised confessions. He was released on bail around $66.000 in mid-December, pending trial. Two years later, his case was heard at Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court which was presided over by Judge Moghisseh Summer 2015. He was sentenced to six years in prison and fines for pursuing illegal cinematic activities, launching propaganda against the establishment and hurling insults at sanctities. On appeal, his sentence was changed to three years imprisonment and three years of suspended jail and fines. Hossein Rajabian was sent to the ward 7 of Evin Prison in Tehran. After spending one third of his total period of imprisonment that is 11 months, he went on hunger strike to protest against unjust trial, lack of medical facilities, and transfer of his brother to another ward called section 8 of the same prison. During the first hunger strike period, which lasted 14 days, he was transferred to hospital because of pulmonary infection and he could not continue his hunger strike because of the interference of the representative of the prosecutor who was sent as an intermediary. After some time, he sent an open letter to the judicial authorities of Iran and went again on strike which brought him the supports of international artists. After 36 days of hunger strike, he could convince the judicial authorities of Iran to review his case and grant him medical leave for the treatment of his left kidney suffered from infections and blood arising out of hunger strike. he, after a contentious struggle with the judicial officer of the prison was sent to the ward 8 for punishment.


8. Cinemapeople in the Iranian diaspora

Cinemapeople in the Iranian diaspora, such as Shohreh Aghdashloo, Zuleikha Robinson, Nadia Bjorlin, Shirin Neshat, Adrian Pasdar, Amir Mokri, Bahar Soomekh, Amir Talai Catherine Bell, Nazanin Boniadi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Freema Agyeman, Sarah Shahi, Hughes brothers, Nasim Pedrad, Daryush Shokof, and Farhad Safinia are also popular.


9. Film Institutes in Iran

Several institutes, both government run and private, provide formal education in various aspects of filmmaking. Some of the prominent ones include: Farabi Cinema Foundation, Hedayat Film Co, Sourehcinema, Documentary & Experimental Film Center, Filmiran, Kanoon Iran Novin, Boshra Film, Bamdad Film, TDH Film, Hilaj Film, Tgpco, Karname, Rasaneha, Nama Film company, AvinyFilm, 7spfs and Honar Aval.


10. Iranian film critics

Most famous of them like: Houshang Golmakani, Fereydoun Jeyrani, Parviz Davaei, Masoud Ferasati, Abbas Baharloo, Hamid Reza Sadr, Cyrus Ghani, Javad Toosi, Negar Mottahedeh, Ahmad Talebinejad, Mohammad Tahami Nezhad, Ali Moallem and Parviz Nouri, behrouz sebt rasoul