- Aug. 8, 2011 -
Last night, The 4th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival (www.noorfilmfestival.com)
(NIFF)—an international event that educates the non-Iranian community about the culture and heritage of Iranians through the medium of cinema—presented eight awards for its 2011 line-up of 25 competition films. Each film features a theme about Iran and/or Iranian talent—either in front of or behind the camera. Approximately 300 celebrities, VIPs, filmmakers and honored guests were in attendance. The festival kicked-off on Friday, August 5, 2011, at the James Bridges Theater (Melnitz 1409, UCLA Campus, Westwood, California) and wrapped at the same location with a red carpet Awards Ceremony on Sunday, August 7th at 7:00 p.m., where Iranian-American producer Bob Yari (“Crash,” “The Illusionist,”
“Painted Veil”) was awarded the 2011 Noor Film Festival Achievement Award. The 2011 event was presented by festival director, founder and producer Siamak Ghahremani and 670 AM KIRN.
The big winners of the night included the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winning film, “Circumstance,”
by director Maryam Keshavarz, which won three trophies: the Audience Award, Best Director and Best Actress for newcomer Nikohl Boosheri. Telling the story of two young women and their star-crossed love affair in a repressed Iran, Keshavarz (who also wrote the script) had to leave Iran when the government banned the film. The film’s U.S. theatrical release starts August 26th in Los Angeles and New York.
The short film “Diplomacy”
from director Jon Goldman won two honors: Best Short and Best Story/Idea.
David Negahban won Best Actor for his role in the short film “Liberation,”
by director Michael Younesi.
The feature-length documentary “American Coup,” by director Joe Ayella won Best Documentary.
The short film “Little Tale of Us,” by director Ameneh Eslami won Best Animation.
Esteemed 2011 Jury Members include: Oscar-nominated sound editor Iranian-American Kami Asgar (“Apocalypto”)
, actor Corey Feldman (“The Lost Boys,” “Stand By Me”), actress Frances Fisher (“Titanic,”
“House of Sand and Fog”), actress Bai Ling (“Anna and the King,” “The Crow”) and actor Max Martini (“Saving Private Ryan”).
Other distinguished guests from the Iranian-American community included: festival co-founder and actor Anthony Azizi (“Transformers:
Dark of the Moon,” “Lost”), actor Shaun Toub (“Iron Man,” “The Kite Runner,” “Crash”), artist Ali Bozorgmehr, actress Nazanin Boniadi (“How I Met Your Mother,” “General Hospital”), actress Necar Zadegan (“Unthinkable,”
“24”), actors Ali Pourtash and Fariborz Davoudian (“The Stoning of Soraya M.”), actor Reza Safai (“Circumstance”)
, and Navid Negahban (“The Stoning of Soraya M,” “Charlie Wilson’s War”).
Ghahremani says, “We were thrilled to hold our 4th Annual Noor Film Festival in Los Angeles to bridge Iranian with non-Iranian cultures. Due to the political uprising in Iran in 2010, and out of respect for the people in Iran, we had postponed the 4th festival to 2011, so we were more appreciative than ever to be able to honor our filmmakers last night.”
Iranian film has risen to the international spotlight in recent years due to emerging politics and independent Iranian films that have earned accolades—often resulting in the filmmakers going into exile to escape the governmental regime.
Other films on the 2011 slate included: “Chasing Che,” “Letters to the President,” “Kick in Iran” and “1994.” A full list of the competition films can be found online at www.noorfilmfestival.com.
Past jury members include prominent industry VIPs: Brooke Adams, Esai Morales, Habib Zargarpour, Rudi Bakhtiar, Ali Pourtash, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Reza Badiyi, Rainn Wilson, Omid Djalili, Ever Carradine, Natasha Henstridge, Maz Jobrani, Harry J. Lennox, Shaun Toub and Kyle Secor.
Renowned television director and Iranian-born Reza Badiyi (“Get Smart,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Falcon Crest,” “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Baywatch,”
just to name a few) received the festival’s first Achievement Award in 2009.
About Bob Yari – 2011 Noor Film Festival Achievement Award Recipient
Iranian-American Bob Yari is an independent film producer and founder of Yari Film Group (YFG). Yari’s credits include the Oscar-winning feature film, “Crash,” which won for Best Picture at the 78th Academy Awards. (He also served as executive producer on the Starz series based on the film.) He has produced over 30 films including “The Illusionist”—
one of the top-grossing independent films of 2006. Yari grew up in Tehran and New York and earned his degree in motion picture cinematography from the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. He has also worked as a writer / director. His company, YFG, has firmly anchored itself as one of the premiere homes for independent films, taking pride in collaborating with filmmakers and bringing forth their creative visions. From seasoned veterans, such as Lasse Hallström, Michel Gondry and Sidney Lumet, to first time writers and directors, YFG continues to seek out innovative stories and storytellers. (www.yarifilmgroup.com)
The NIFF Jury judges for the eight categories, including Audience Favorite, Best Director, Best Story, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Documentary, Best Animation and Best Short Film.
In 2005, Iranian-born Siamak Ghahremani founded the Noor Iranian Film Festival, and the inaugural international event occurred in 2007. Two years of planning and orchestration were required due to this being the first competition Iranian Film Festival outside of Iran, as well as the first Iranian-American Red Carpet event. Ghahremani’
s mission for the festival is to educate the non-Iranian community about the culture and heritage of Iranians around the world through the medium of cinema. Not without challenges, the festival supports filmmakers that often must leave Iran once a film is premiered at NIFF, due to the political repercussions of this artistic expression. Due to the political uprising in Iran in 2010, and out of respect for the people in Iran, the festival decided to postpone its 4th festival to 2011. For three days, the NIFF hosts premieres, networking events, and panel discussions, culminating in the closing night Awards Ceremony held at the James Bridges Theater in Los Angeles, California. The 4th annual event, taking place from August 5 - 7, 2011, is also dedicated to cultivating and promoting Iranian-American talent in Hollywood.
The 2011 event was presented by Siamak Ghahremani and 670 AM KIRN. Screenings were held at the state-of-the-
art James Bridges Theater located at Melnitz 1409 on the UCLA Campus in Westwood, California.
For more information, please visit www.noorfilmfestival.com.
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