Source: Farhang Foundation
LOS ANGELES, CA, April 3, 2012 - Farhang Foundation, in collaboration with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, will host the opening night of the UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema, taking place on April 13, 2012 at 7:30pm at the Billy Wilder Theater, located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90024. A private reception will immediately follow the opening night program at Napa Valley Grille, across the street from the theater, located at 1100 Glendon Ave.
Now in its 22nd year, the UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema opens on April 13, 2012 and will feature the film Mourning (Iran, 2011), directed by Morteza Farshbaf. The program continues through April 29, 2012, featuring contemporary Iranian films and special guest appearances by Iranian filmmaker, Parviz Sayyad, on April 13, 14, 22, 27 and 28.
Featured films include:
April 13- 7:30 pm Mourning (Iran, 2011)
April 14- 7:30 pm The Mission (Ferestadeh) (USA/West Germany, 1984)
April 15- 7:00 pm Here Without Me (Inja Bedoone Man) (Iran, 2011)
April 21- 7:30 pm Three and a Half (Iran, 2011)
April 22- 7:00 pm Dead End (Bon Bast) (Iran, 1977)
April 27- 7:30 pm Samad Becomes an Artist (Samad Artist Mishavad) (Iran, 1974)
April 28- 7:30 pm Checkpoint (USA, 1987)
April 29- 7:00 pm Good Bye (Be Omid E Didar) (Iran, 2011); This is Not a Film (Iran, 2010)
Advanced tickets to the opening night film screening and private reception are available for purchase as a package at $150 (per person) via farhang.org.
Please be sure to look for this year's program banners displayed throughout West Los Angelesand surrounding neighborhoods.
About Parviz Sayyad
Born in Lahijan in 1939, Sayyad was one of the leading actors and playwrights during his youth in Iran. In 1960, after the formation of Iran's National Television, Sayyad and many others from theater joined its cast and started producing tele-theater shows until 1970. Sayyad and Apick Youssefian (who later with her daughter Mary Apick played in many of Sayyad's films) were the leading characters of Iran's first television series, "AMIR ARSALAN." The show was quite successful and paved the road for Sayyad's future career in cinema and television.
The following year Sayyad joined Parviz Kardan in another successful TV series called "SARKAR OSTOVAR". This is where his famous Samad character was first formed. Samad became so popular that in 1969 with the help of Ali Abbasi, Sayyad directed his first Film "Samad and the Flying Carpet" using the same character. At the same time he continued producing shows for Iran's National Television. Some of the most famous ones were Octopus, and DEAR UNCLE NAPOLEON (Taghvaii 1977).
Out of his homeland, Iran, film critics began acknowledging Sayyad's work when they saw his first film in exile, THE MISSION, made in 1984. He, however, had written and directed more than a dozen films and appeared in most of them as the lead actor, back home, where he used to be a household name prior to the Islamic Revolution.
International Film Guide (1977), described him as "An extraordinary popular and vital member of the Iranian film world", while Film Comment Magazine wrote, "in much of Sayyad's work, he examines the lives of individual people caught up in political or social events which are beyond their control. In DEAD END (1976), Mary Apick plays a lovesick girl wooed by an eligible young man, only to find her suitor a SAVAK agent whose mission is to arrest her brother. In Shahid Saless' celebrated IN DER FREMDE (Far From Home) (1975), Sayyad plays the part of a lonely Turkish immigrant laborer in West Berlin who is met with indifference when he tries to make friends with his German neighbors.
Sayyad's professional life is in fact full of paradox and contradictions. Before the Islamic Revolution, he was one of the leading figures in the IRANIAN popular cinema, specializing in the role of a country bumpkin baffled by the ways of the big city. In 1974, he co-founded The New Film Group, a loose confederation of New Wave filmmakers, and used the money from his commercial successes to help finance the works of young and talented directors who could hardly find any backing in the conventional movie market. One of the last films he made in Iran, DEAD END, has a double distinction; its star, Mary Apick, received the Best Actress Award at the 1977 Moscow Film Festival, but the film was never publicly shown in IRAN, while the Shah was in power. The former action undoubtedly influenced the latter. The Islamic Regime's reaction towards this film was not any better, of course. Although it was the first successful film shown after the Revolution, in a few months it had to be canned for good. This time, the contents was not the issue, but that the leading characters appeared in public without the Islamic veil, Chador!
After making a film deal in Germany, when the Revolution broke out, Sayyad figured he would not be welcomed back after his Tehran Little Theater was taken over by an Islamic radical group. This led him to a tiny Greenwich Village apartment where he quietly worked towards his Ph.D. at the City University, while awaiting his family's return to him from Iran; and so the making of a low budget thriller like film, THE MISSION, became possible. THE MISSION, described by David Denby of New York Magazine as "the first Gandhian Thriller", concerns the political awakening of a young assassin (Houshang Touzie) sent by a Moslem radical group to eliminate a former government official. It was an official entry in The Berlin Film Festival, The London Film Festival, and won The Jury Grand Prize at The Locarno Film Festival (1983).
Inspite of THE MISSION's overall success, it took Sayyad four years to finance his second film in exile, CHECKPOINT, with the help of his long time artistic collaborator, Mary Apick. Meanwhile they produced a play, entitle Khar (Donkey) which was based on a short piece that Sayyad had written.
Sayyad, now working in Los Angeles directing Farsi-language stage plays and TV shows for the large Iranian exile community there, says that all his movies - with the exception of one that depicts the lives of an old couple (the woman wears a chador throughout)- are banned in the Islamic Republic. "Under the Khomeini regime," he declares, "it seems that any independent productions are immediately banned, except for propaganda films. They have a Ministry of Art and Culture that does produce films, but these hardly ever get shown. At least during the Shah's period, a film like THE CYCLE, which was a great movie, could be made. [Sayyad was co-producer of the movie.] We've forgotten about that period, but when we compare it to the present regime, it was like living in paradise." www.parvizsayyad.com
About Morteza Farshbaf
Morteza Farshbaf (b. 1986), a young Iranian director, went to the University of Art in Tehran, receiving a BFA in film. Farshbaf also attended Abbas Kiarostami's filmmaking workshops-cooperating with him on film projects-and has been working in cinema as a director, writer, editor and cinematographer since the age of 18. Farshbaf has directed five of his own short films since 2004: Halloween (2004), The Carpet (2005), Taxi (2006), Flakey(2007) and The Wind Blows Wherever it Wants (2008). Farshbaf directed his first feature film, Mourning in 2010.
About UCLA Film & Television Archive
UCLA Film & Television Archive is renowned for its pioneering efforts to rescue, preserve and showcase moving image media-and is dedicated to ensuring that the collective visual memory of our time is explored and enjoyed for generations to come. A unique resource for media study, the Archive is one of the largest repositories of moving image materials in the world. The Archive Research and Study Center provides free access to more than 10,000 items each year to international researchers from all disciplines.For more info visit: www.cinema.ucla.edu.
Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz and Mehregan, theater, dance performances, film screenings and poetry reading in Southern California. Farhang Foundation, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions plans major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture. www.farhang.org
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