36th Fajr International Film Festival

Zana Hema – Iraq | The Iranian actors, Indian directors and a Hollywood icon have come together in Tehran at Asia’s oldest film festival 36th edition of the Fajr International Film Festival and opening the festival with Oscar-nominated Iranian film director Majid Majidi’s new movie “Beyond the Clouds” – the movie, filmed in India, is about a brother and sister struggling in the slums of Mumbai.

The festival’s director Reza Mirkarimi is himself a multi-awarded film director who knows how difficult it is to make independent films in Iran. He took over the festival’s direction three years ago.

Photo: Bryar
“I took over the responsibility for the festival under one condition: no interference by authorities,” Mirkarimi told IZnews. “We are the oldest film festival in Asia and as such, we provide a platform for unknown filmmakers and actors from the region to showcase their work. For example, we show works from Afghanistan, Anatolia and the Caucasus. Our topics include problems within families and cultures and the struggle for independence in many countries. Our goal is to be open to all people and also to expand peoples’ knowledge a little and we are trying to establish contacts and partnerships between the Iranian film scene and abroad. At the moment there are already many co-productions with other countries, especially those in the region — for example Afghanistan, India, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Armenia and Turkey.

Photo: Bryar
“Iran is the classic posterboy for repressed cinema, for people who cannot say exactly what they want to say so the they find metaphors and similies and synecdoches. ” explained Deborah Young, International FIlm Editor at the Hollywood reporter who attended the festival and the repression has led Iranian filmmakers to find new ways of getting their message across:
This year US director Oliver Stone is a guest. about stone role in the festival Mirkarimi told ” Oliver Stone plays an important role in cinema around world — that’s why he has given several workshops and met many people here. We hope that we will have him here again in future — all this has nothing to do with politics. We want to make new connections through this festival, which means we are looking for what could link us with others’

The 36th edition of Fajr International Film Festival, the longest running film event in the Middle East, named its winners during a ceremony on Thu. night at Vahdat Hall hosted the awards ceremony, attended by Iranian and international filmmakers and guests. ‘Aga’ by Milko Lazarov, a co-production from Bulgaria, Germany, France, won this year’s grand prix, and the Peace Award went to Rithy Panh. After the announcement, Oliver Stone was asked to come on the stage to present the award.

Photo: Bryar
“My friend worked for a long period of time and in difficult conditions to make his motion picture. I’m honoured to present Rithy Panh with the Peace Award,” Stone said while presenting the award to the Cambodian documentary film director.

The complete list of winners:
International Competition (Cinema Salvation)
Best Film: Milko Lazarov, Aga (Bulgaria, Germany, France)
Best Director: Alexey German Jr., Dovlatov (Russia, Poland, Serbia)
Best Script: Ramtin Lavafi, Hattrick (Iran)
Best Actor: Leon Lucev, The Miner (Slovenia, Croatia)
Best Actress: Mahoor Alvand, Hattrick (Iran)
Special Jury Prize: Richard Kendrick, Cinematographer, Song of Granite (Ireland, Canada)
Best Short Film: Faith, Tatiana Fedorovskaya (Russia)
Special Mention: Mr. Deer, Mojtaba Mousavi (Iran)
Asian Film Awards
Best Asian Film: Father and Son, Dung Ding Loung (Vietnam)
Best Asian Director: Maryam Bahrololumi, Patio (Iran)
Best Short Film: Pedavore, Mohammad Kart (Iran)
Interfaith Award
Grain, Semih Kaplanoglu (Turkey, Germany, France, Sweden, Qatar)
Interfaith Competition Jury: Valerie De Marnhac (France), Thomas Kroll (Germany), Mohammad-Reza Zaeri (Iran)
NETPAC Prize
Hendi & Hormoz, Abbas Amini (Iran)
NETPAC Jury: Raman Chawla (India), Asif Rustamov (Azerbaijan), Habib Ahmadzadeh (Iran)
Best First Film Award
Dressage, Pooya Badkoobeh (Iran)
First Film Jury: Viera Langerova (Slovakia), Barmak Akram (Afghanistan), Mohammad Ali Bashe Ahangar (Iran)
Muhammad Al Ameen Award
Majid Majidi, Beyond the Clouds (India)
Peace Prize
Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement: Rithy Panh (Cambodia)
Honorary Diploma: The Miner, Hanna Slack (Slovenia, Croatia)