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Babak & Friends at the 13th Iranian Film Festival at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts

By Sara Sefeed


Houston, January 2006 - Later this month, the 13th Iranian Film Festival will be taking place at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Rice Cinema at Rice University. As part of the program, the organizers will be screening Babak and Friends - A First Norooz, a 30-minute animated movie about a little Iranian boy in search of his identity. The film, which showcases the talents of Iranians like Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo and JAG's Catherine Bell, will be featured at the Children's Museum of Houston. Bunmi Gaidi, Art Educator at the Museum, says, "We are very proud to be a part of the Iranian Film Festival. It is by embracing and learning about our differences that we are able to celebrate our likeness." The film will screen multiple times over three days, in Persian and in English. "It's so great that they will show both versions so that a wider audience can enjoy the film. Grandparents can bring their kids, or teachers can bring their students. It's an educational opportunity but it's also going to be a fun time!" says Dustin Ellis, writer and director of the film.




The film festival also includes screenings of Bahram Beyzaie's Killing Mad Dogs (Sagkoshi), Mohammad Rasoulof's Iron Island (Jazireh ahani), and Tahmineh Milani's The Unwanted Woman (Zaneh Ziyadi). Marian Luntz, Curator of Film and Video at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, says, "For our 13th Annual Houston Iranian Film Festival, we were delighted to discover the engaging animated short, Babak and Friends -A First Norooz.  This makes an entertaining and informative addition to this always-popular event.  By partnering with the Children's Museum of Houston, we have been able to add another venue to the festival and further develop the audience."


This is the fourth museum screening for Babak and Friends - A First Norooz, since its debut in 2005. So far the film has screened at New York's Asia Society, the British Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Man. Norooz Productions is excited about the 13th Iranian Film Festival. "Children around the world have shown great interest in all things Persian because of Babak! We will now have a chance to connect with the kids at a local level in Houston," says Aly Jetha, executive producer of the film. According to Jetha, one American mother called asking where she could purchase "Noon-Panir", a traditional meal of goat cheese and bread featured in the cartoon as a typical Persian breakfast.


Babak will be making more stops at museums in the coming year, including a screening at the prestigious Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC on January 29th. This is part of the Iranian Film Festival taking place at the Freer Gallery. According to the producers, there are more events in the works such as the Chicago Children's Museum, and the Louvre Museum in Paris. The company was invited to all the Apple stores around the US and Canada, and will also be showcasing their art at the Apple Store in London later this year.


For more news and events information, visit their website



The Children's Museum of Houston Screening Schedule: 13th Iranian Film Festival


Babak and Friends - A First Norooz


Thursday, January 19:    5 p.m. (Persian)                        

                                    6:30 p.m. (English)       

                                    7:15 p.m. (Persian)       


Saturday, January 21:    11:15 a.m. (Persian)

                                    12:15 a.m. (English)

1:15 p.m. (Persian)                   

            2:15 p.m. (English)                               

            3:15 p.m. (Persian)                                           

            4:15 p.m. (English)       


Sunday, January 22:      3:15 p.m. (English)                                           

            4:15 p.m. (Persian)       


Babak with his mother Layla, as she tells him
that his cousins are coming.

About The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the largest art museum in America south of Chicago, west of Washington, D.C., and east of Los Angeles. A total of 300,000 square feet of space is dedicated to the display of art and more than 2.5 million people visit the MFAH each year. The collection contains more than 51,000 artworks, which date from antiquity to the present. The major civilizations of Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa are represented.  The MFAH has published more than forty scholarly books in the last decade. For more information visit

About the 13th Annual Iranian Film Festival

This popular annual showcase expands in 2006 to include a new venue-the Childrenīs Museum of Houston-and two new cosponsors: Asia Society Texas and Voices Breaking Boundaries. As always, Rice Cinema presents additional films. Rice professor Hamid Naficy introduces selected MFAH screenings. For more information, visit

About The Children's Museum of Houston

Serving more than 660,000 people annually, The Children's Museum of Houston is the highest-attended youth museum in the country for its size and is dedicated to transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning by providing hands-on exhibitions in the areas of science and technology, history and culture, health and human development, and the arts. For more information, visit


About Norooz Productions


Norooz Productions develops products to entertain and teach children about different cultures. Norooz believes that entertainment can be educational and effective for learning new cultures and languages.  High quality products include animation movies, storybooks and language learning tools.  With this mission, Norooz hopes to create a more diverse and understanding society.

Babak and Friends is the brand focused on promoting the larger Persian culture. The first products include Babak's adventures in an animated film: Babak and Friends - A First Norooz and two storybooks: Babak and Friends - A Visit from Maman Bozorg. For more go to



... Payvand News - 1/11/06 ... --

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