Shahrivar 26 1400 - September 17 2021
Iranian musician risks prison for new album

Iranian musician Mehdi Rajabian faces prison for making music. In fact, he has already spent two years locked up - including a spell in solitary confinement and a hunger strike - for releasing songs the Iranian authorities did not agree with. But he is undeterred. "I will not step back and I will not censor myself," he tells BBC News. -BBC 9/15/21

12th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Announces Its Top 6 Official Selections

The Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival is pleased to announce the six official selection short films competing for this year's top three cash prizes. All six films will be screened at the virtual awards ceremony on September 25 -Farhang 9/14/21

Iran's controversial spy thriller series "Gando" returns

The Iranian controversial spy thriller is back to the television screens after being pulled-off by the state for a couple of months as its plotline depicted corruption and ineptness in former Iranian president Rouhani government. Sources elucidate that the third season of the series would feature talks on nuclear deal. -AFP 9/10/21

Paniz Shafaei Awarded Aspire2STEAM Scholarship Sponsored by Trade Press Services, Inc.

Aspiring professional clarinetist promotes peace and understanding through performing music from Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Just recently, Paniz began working toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in clarinet performance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she also works as a graduate assistant. -EIN News 9/9/21

Telluride 2021: With 'A Hero,' Asghar Farhadi Tells a Fable for the Cancel Culture Age

The Iranian director discusses his decision to skip the Oscars in 2017 in protest of Trump's travel ban, the toll of COVID-19 in Iran and the limits on his expression there: "I can't tell exactly what my movies would look like if I had the freedom, but I know that it would be different." -Rebecca Keegan, Hollywood Reporter 9/7/21

Mohsen Makhmalbaf warns of extremists

Filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf was once a guerrilla in his native Iran before trading his gun for a camera. He later defected from the country, where film and other artistic expression are subject to strict censorship by the Islamic theocracy. Since then the director has been a fervent antiwar supporter with unshakable faith in democracy. -Nikkei Asia 9/7/21

Filmmaker Shirin Neshat on the Parallels Between 'Land of Dreams' and Current Events in Afghanistan

The visual artist and director has long used her work to focus on her Iranian roots, but with her futuristic new drama, she takes a penetrating look at her adopted country - and is troubled by what she sees. -Hollywood Reporter 9/3/21

Hamoon & Amiralee Join Forces With Nima Sarshar On Terranova Records

We have been lucky enough to catch up with Hamoon & Amiralee and Nima Sarshar in light of their recent release on Spanish label - Terranova Records. Check it out as we discover more about the guys, the scene in Iran and much, much more... -Music4Lovers 8/25/21

'Zalava': First Trailer For Iranian Film Playing In Venice Critics' Week & TIFF Midnight Madness

Here's your first trailer for Iranian drama-horror Zalava, which is playing in the Venice Critics' Week, the independent and parallel section of the Venice Film Festival. Set in 1978, the film hones in on the inhabitants of a small village in Iran called Zalava who claim there is a demon among them. Massoud, a young police officer who investigates the claim encounters an exorcist attempting to rid the village of the demon. -Deadline 8/25/21

"Wet" wins grand prize at Flickers' Rhode Island filmfest

Iranian short movie "Wet" has won the Flickers' International Humanitarian Award at the 39th Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival in the United States. The is a grand prize of the festival, which is given annually to films or filmmakers who inspire social change and community outreach, and strive to better the world in which we live. -Tehran Times 8/24/21

Israeli-Iranian musician Liraz took time to discover her roots; she performs Sunday at Music Haven

She brought together musicians from conflicting countries Iran and Israel to work on an album in secret and release it in the midst of a global pandemic. Called "Zan," Persian for women, the album is a long-held dream for Charhi, fusing her Israeli roots and Iranian upbringing and paying tribute to the women of Iran. She's set to perform Sunday in Schenectady on the Music Haven Stage in Central Park.- Indiana Nash, Daily Gazette 8/19/21

How a casual insult sowed the seeds of an anti-war crusade

Most people would not have even noticed the careless omission in a news report back in February, 2013. But for filmmaker Granaz Moussavi, it was the catalyst for a powerful new movie. -The Australian 8/13/21

Big World Pictures Nabs Mohammad Rasoulof's 'A Man of Integrity'

Big World Pictures has acquired all U.S. and Canadian rights to "A Man of Integrity," the 2017 feature from Iranian auteur Mohammad Rasoulof that won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. 8/13/21

Middle East: A drug addict in the family

The opening of Majed Neisi's film shows his seven brothers and his sister laughing and dancing at his cousin's wedding in Ahvaz in south-west Iran. But this is just the public face of a family in crisis. His elder brother Mohammad had become a heroin addict who would vanish for weeks at a time. After the party, he disappeared and nobody would talk about him. -Helen Fitzwilliam, Chatham House 7/30/21

The Fairies: An English Opera Setting of Persian Poetry by Ahmad Shamlu

Sheida Gharachedaghi completed the opera in 1989. It was immediately banned in Iran, but premiered and recorded later that year in Toronto. It's a surprise, then, to discover that the work has so little to do with the tradition of Persian music. - Christopher Ballantine, OPERA Magazine 7/29/21

In His Own Words: Iranian Musician Mehdi Rajabian On Why He Is Willing To Risk Jail For His New Album, 'Coup Of Gods'

Mehdi Rajabian is a musician. And like most musicians he feels the need to create music so strongly he can't do anything else. The difference between Rajabian and musicians in the U.S. or the U.K. or most other places around the globe is that Rajabian, an Iranian musician, is risking imprisonment to share his art. As he says in his self-penned essay, "We are proving that no power can stop making music, even if it means my life, or going back to jail." -Forbes 7/26/21

EXCLUSIVE: Watch The Opening From 'Juliet & The King,' A Hand-Drawn Feature From Iran's Hoorakhsh Studios

A couple of years ago, The Last Fiction became the first Iranian animated feature to qualify for an Oscar. Having successfully made its mark overseas, the studio behind the film, Tehran's Hoorakhsh Studios, is launching into its next project: the family comedy Juliet & the King. -Cartoon Brew 7/23/21

"A Hero" takes home the Grand Prix for Cannes 2021

The Grand prix was Jointly awarded to Asghar Farhadi "A Hero" and Juho Kuosmanen for "Compartment No. 6" - The 74th annual Cannes Film Festival took place from 6 to 17 July 2021. The 2021 Cannes Festival Jury helmed by Spike Lee announced its list of winning films and filmmakers from the competition. 7/19/21

12th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival

We welcome filmmakers to submit short films for competition that visualize some aspect of Iranian arts, crafts, cuisine, culture, geography, literature and history. All entries will be judged for creativity, quality, and originality and will compete for a chance to win monetary prizes 7/16/21

'A Hero' Could Bring Asghar Farhadi to the Oscars Best Director Conversation

It shouldn't be a shocker that an international feature from Asghar Farhadi has entered the awards conversation with the vivacious and flavorful "A Hero." How the Iranian filmmaker chooses to frame his stories has always been compelling, and it's a quality that has been overlooked by the Academy in his tenure. Perhaps, this could be his ticket to an overdue directing nomination. -Clayton Davis, Va 7/15/21

A Hero review - Asghar Farhadi's realist tale is just too messy and unsatisfactory

Asghar Farhadi has made a tangled film about the tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive, in that calmly observant, realist yet information-withholding style with which this director made his name. In way, A Hero is a slice-of-life story, in which the "i"s and the "t"s are not necessarily dotted and crossed like a regular screenplay; it has the unsatisfactory, unclear messiness that real life has. -Peter Bradshaw, Guardian 7/14/21

Indo-Iranian band Narang's sound quest

That music is a way of expressing our connection to nature and life-affirming human relationships is a belief that band Narang holds dear. That was abundantly clear at the live musical web series Sounds of Society that they featured in episode of the musical series that appeared on its website and Urban Beat Project's YouTube channel recently. -The Hindu 7/13/21

Barred Iran director's son follows his footsteps to Cannes

You might think the family business did not seem so inviting to young Iranian filmmaker Panah Panahi, given that his acclaimed father has faced years of persecution at the hands of the authorities. But the 37-year-old made a splash at the Cannes film festival this weekend, presenting his first film "Hit the Road" at an event that his father, Jafar Panahi, has been blocked from attending by Tehran for more than a decade. -Qantara 7/12/21

The Imagination of Ancient Empire of Iran: Philosophical Poetry of Omar Khayyam and Legendary Voice of Amir Hossein Nouri

Nowadays, there is less of a name and recognition for the role of Iranians in world culture and art. Contrary to popular belief, Iran has a high level of cultural diversity. Although located in the Middle East, it is a country with four seasons. Beautiful with an ancient history, which had one of the great empires of the world. The country which originated with the first human rights document by Cyrus the Great in 538 BC, as well as the source of the threefold slogan of Zoroaster with the mantra of "Good speech, a good deed and good thought." -Music Times 7/8/21

Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian teacher who opened the doors to a full-fledged cinema - Telam

Director Abbas Kiarostami, who died this Sunday five years ago, left a poetic work that not only gave testimony to the artistic vicissitudes that his native Iran experienced, but also Through tapes such as "The Taste of the Cherry", he opened the doors of the West to cinema in the Middle East. -Cynthia Porter, Sunday Vision 7/5/21

Sussan Deyhim Embraces the World

Iranian-born composer, vocalist, performance artist, and activist, Los Angeles-based Sussan Deyhim is known for creating a singular vocal language, one that is permeated with a sense of ritual and the unknown. In other words, Deyhim is a consummate artist: At 13, she was part of the national ballet company in Iran, studying with master folk musicians and dancers... -Classical Voice 6/29/21

How a Former NFL Cheerleader and an Iranian-American Actress Sarah Shahi is Climbing Up the Ladder of Success

Aahoo Jahansouz Sarah Shahi is an Iranian-American TV on-screen actress and former NFL Cheerleader. In 2018, she featured in the arrangement Reverie. In 2019, she performed in a couple of scenes of City on a Hill on Showtime. She was born on 10 January 1980. Presently, Sarah Shahi age is 41 years. 6/28/21

A brief interview with the popular and talented Iranian artist Yalda Dousti.

Yalda Dousti Born in 1992 in Tehran, she is a master of painting ,design and also she's a very unique and creative artist. She graduated from the University with a degree in Cartography and Architecture. And then she started working in that field , but later her destiny put her on a path that changed her life forever. -The Open News 6/28/21

In Los Angeles, a theatre spotlight shines on next-gen Iranian-American voices

When she was growing up in Woodland Hills in Los Angeles's suburban San Fernando Valley, Ora Yashar felt very American. But at home, her parents were preoccupied with their native Iran. "I always heard stories," Yashar told the Forward. "My parents were always talking about life before the Revolution. They always talk about Iran." The Iranian-American Yashar is now co-producing "Persian Sunrise, American Sunset," a Zoom-based show at The Braid theater, portraying the autobiographical narratives of Iranian-Americans. -Forward 6/18/21

The Passing of Parviz Kardan, a pioneer of Iranian stage, screen and television

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Mr. Parviz Kardan, one of the pioneers of the Iranian stage, screen, and television. Mr. Kardan was born in Shiraz on October 20, 1937, and started his artistic career in 1959 by acting on stage and on television. -Farhang Foundation 6/13/21

Comedy drama recounts story of Persian mythical heroine Goshasb Banu

A comedy drama telling the story of the wedding of heroine Goshasb Banu, the daughter of Persian mythical hero Rostam, went on stage at Tehran's Mehregan Theater on Tuesday. Somayyeh Abadeh is directing "Wedding of Banu Goshasb" written by veteran playwright Ardeshir Salehpur based on some ancient Persian texts. Goshasb Banu has swarms of suitors from Turan, China and India. Therefore, Rostam lays down only one condition: that he will agree to the one who can defeat her in a battle. 6/10/21

"The Statue" by Iranian director Mohsen Salehifard tops at VAFI & RAFI animation festival

Iranian short movie "The Statue" has won first prize at the 12th VAFI & RAFI International Children and Youth Animation Film Festival in Croatia. Directed by Mohsen Salehifard, "The Statue" tells the story of a sculptor who engages with the clay of his sculpture and shapes it. 6/7/21

30M Records talks 'This is Tehran?' and Iranian music's global potential

Hamburg-based label 30M Records was founded in 2020 by Matthias Koch with the aim of helping Iranian musicians to release their music globally, at a time when economic sanctions mean artists and labels there cannot deal directly with digital music services in the US or Europe. The label's first compilation album 'RAAZ' came out last year, and this week its second release drops. 'This is Tehran?' focuses on current Iranian composers and musicians working across a range of genres, from classical and jazz to electronica. -Music Ally 6/4/21

New Stories From A Rising Generation Of Iranian-Americans Debuts At The Braid

Yashar and Akhondzadeh are part of a plethora of Persian talent - writers, actors, musicians, and in Ora's case, a producer - of the brand-new salon show from The Braid (formerly Jewish Women's Theatre), Persian Sunrise, American Sunset. The autobiographical narratives of these Iranian-Americans will be given dramatic life in four live-on-Zoom performances between June 19 and June 28. -Broadway World 6/3/21

Politics still pack a punch(line) for Iranian-American comic

For Iranian-American Maz Jobrani, a stand-up show in Dubai marked the first time he's been in front of a major live audience overseas since the start of the coronavirus pandemic - and he feels it. "Doing stand-up comedy is kind of like going to the gym - you have to get up on stage five, 10 times a week," said Jobrani, sitting in a Dubai hotel overlooking Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. -AP 5/31/21

Niche services are connecting Iranian artists and listeners

The work of Mim Rasouli, a musician based near Tehran, is rich in Persian and Western influences. In "Fastalgia", one of his best-known tunes, Mr Rasouli mashes up songs by Seyyed Javad Zabihi, a muezzin from the time of the shah; Mohammad Reza Shajarian, one of Iran's greatest cultural treasures; Archive, an alt-rock band based in London; and Arms and Sleepers, a trip-hop group from Boston. -Economist 5/28/21

Nasrin review - this is what a superhero looks like in the real world

This clandestinely shot documentary about Iranian human-rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh reveals what superheroism looks like in the real world. As significant as the tireless work in lawyer's cabinets, drab constitutional courts and prison visiting rooms is her symbolic importance: her sinewy persistence and true courage in standing up to Iran's dogmatic regime have the potential to ignite such qualities in others, and unlock the collective action needed to shift this sclerotic society. -Guardian 5/25/21

"I Wondered if Metaphor and Allegory Weren't a Way of Integrating Censorship and Accepting Oppression": Mohammad Rasoulof on There Is No Evil

"Under conditions of terror most people will comply," Hannah Arendt wrote from the trial of Adolf Eichmann, "but some will not." This simple, almost simplistic sentiment permeates There Is No Evil, the new film from dissident Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof. The original Farsi title, Sheytan vojud nadarad, translates more directly to The Devil Doesn't Exist, a phrase that may sound hopeful until you unpack its dark implications. -Soheil Rezayazdi, Filmmaker 5/21/21

"Asak" named best short doc at Vienna Ethnocineca festival

Iranian filmmaker Mehdi Zamanpur Kiasari's "Asak" won the award for best short documentary at the 15th edition of the Vienna Ethnocineca International Documentary Film Festival. "Asak", which means a small hand-mill in the local dialect of southern Iran, is about the life of an 80-year-old blind man who lives in that area. 5/20/21

A conversation with Firouzeh Khosrovani, Iranian director of Radiograph of a Family

As part of our coverage of this year's San Francisco film festival, we commented on Radiograph of a Family, a film by Iranian director Firouzeh Khosrovani. We suggested the film was "a sensitive, semi-autobiographical and semi-fictionalized portrait, albeit with significant questions left unanswered, of one family's experience of Iranian life over the course of a half century or more." -David Walsh, WSWS 5/18/21

Iranian avant-garde artist Mentrix challenges islamic stereotypes with astonishing new single and video '99 Names Of God'

These are diversive and clashing times. Ideas and ideologies are colliding everywhere you look as the human race tries to make sense of the world. The old and the new are trying to make sense of the madness. Maverick Iranian Berlin-based auteur Mentrix has released "99 Names of God" (Asma-ul-Husna) via House of Strength Records, during the holy month of Ramadan, to follow up her debut album 'My Enemy, My Love'. -Louder Than War 5/17/21

Webinar: An Allegory of Belief, Truth, Power and Resistance in Art

Taking a self-reflective approach, Azam Ali examines how music serves different aspirations for a second-generation Iranian, often playing a central role in political movements: strengthening and unifying the voice of the people seeking social justice against a common adversary. She believes an artist's greatest act of resistance is to extract every drop of truth from their lived experience and express it to its fullest. -Zoom call on May 21st, 2021, UCLA 5/17/21

Iranian vocalist Abdolvahab Shahidi dies at 99

Iranian singer and composer Abodolvahab Shahidi, who was also an oud and santur virtuoso, died of heart failure at Tehran's Resalat Hospital on Monday. He was 99. Born in Meimeh, a small town near the central Iranian city of Isfahan, Shahidi began learning songs and playing the oud and santur from maestro Esmaeil Mehrtash. 5/13/21

Berlin winner There Is No Evil tells four stories to condemn the death penalty

In his novel If On A Winter's Night A Traveler, Italian writer Italo Calvino observed, "The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death." That statement is insightful enough and broad enough to apply figuratively to any form of art. But Mohammad Rasoulof's There Is No Evil, which won the Golden Bear (or top prize) at Berlin last year, puts a literal spin on it. -Roxana Hadadi, AV Club 5/13/21

The Salesman: Arthur Miller's American classic reframed in Iran

At the start of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller devotes a full page of notes to describe the house where the long-married Willy and Linda Loman live in New York. It is, he writes, a "small, fragile-seeming home". In his 2016 film The Salesman, Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi cranks up that symbolism. When we first meet the central couple, amateur-theatre actors Emad and Rana Etesami (played by Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti), their flat in Tehran is crumbling around them. -Chris Wiegand, Guardian 5/11/21

The Salesman: Arthur Miller's American classic reframed in Iran

At the start of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller devotes a full page of notes to describe the house where the long-married Willy and Linda Loman live in New York. It is, he writes, a "small, fragile-seeming home". In his 2016 film The Salesman, Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi cranks up that symbolism. When we first meet the central couple, amateur-theatre actors Emad and Rana Etesami (played by Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti), their flat in Tehran is crumbling around them. -Chris Wiegand, Guardian 5/11/21

'I Am Doomed to Produce Music': Inside One Iranian Artist's Fight for Creative Freedom

Mehdi Rajabian once had his own recording studio in Sari, Iran, boasting moody overhead lighting and blond wood walls. Now, he spends most of his time in the dark basement of his home, crouching on a pile of rugs in front of a computer and a keyboard. Despite being functionally under house arrest since August 2020, Rajabian has been obsessively piecing together an album that's become his singular dream - one that could also land him back in the most notorious prison in Iran. -Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone 5/6/21

Iranian musician Hanna Jahanforooz keeps Persian culture alive

Life experiences, including challenging ones, are grist to the artist's mill. Hanna Jahanforooz has been through more than her fair share of trying events tailor-made to inspire her craft. Some of her character-forming bio milestones feed straight into her music. This will be reflected in the material she will perform at this Thursday's gig in Jerusalem when she showcases numbers from her new mini-album From Iran to Rumi, along with a broad-ranging slew of songs she has penned and arranged over the years. -Jerusalem Post 5/6/21

Maryland Film Festival to feature "The Badger" by Iranian director Kazem Mollai

"The Badger" by Iranian director Kazem Mollai will be featured at the Maryland Film Festival, which will be held in the U.S. city of Baltimore from May 19 to 27. Iranian films has been considered one of the brightest phenomena in world cinema in recent years. Frequently applauded for their depth, complexity of character and realism The Badger fits well in this category. It has already played multiple renown international festivals. 4/27/21


OF KINGS AND PAINTINGS is a history of the extraordinary art of Iran from 1785 to 1925. The documentary is the first film to explore the work of Iran's most significant artists of this remarkable era that straddled the transition between tradition and modernity. While offering an overview of painters and paintings of the Qajar era and its influence on Iranian artists and photographers today, the film weaves together art history and Iranian history. -Farhang Foundation 4/22/21

Oriental lute makes comeback on Iran music scene

The Oriental lute is making a comeback in Iran after decades in the shadows as musicians reconnect with an instrument integral to Arab and Turkish musical tradition in a fragmented region. Known as the oud in Arabic, it is commonly called the barbat in Persian, although some would argue the instruments differ slightly. -AFP 4/20/21

Atlanta Film Festival picks five films from Iran

Five movies from Iranian filmmakers will be screened at the 45th edition of the Atlanta Film Festival. "African Violet" by Mona Zandi-Haghighi will go on screen at the main section of the festival. "Eyes and Arms" by Panahbarkhoda Rezai will be screened at the documentary section of the festival. The festival will also screen Iranian shorts "Crab" by Shiva Sadeq-Asadi, "The Doll" by Elahe Esmaeili, and "Spotted Yellow" by Baran Sarmad. 4/14/21

A TOUR OF IRAN - Symphony Concert and Cultural Festival

Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and Iranian instrumentalists Pejman Hadadi and Masoud Rezaei join the New West Symphony on this musical voyage (April 8-11). GRAMMY-winning Artistic and Music Director Michael Christie leads the orchestra in western classical masterworks by Handel, Rameau, Gounod, and the timeless overture to Mozart's Magic Flute. -Farhang Foundation 4/9/21

Iran spy TV show ignites controversy for 2nd season

A controversial Iranian TV spy thriller is once again generating buzz in the Islamic Republic, drawing the ire of government officials and complaints from viewers Sunday over alleged censorship in the second season finale. The fictional series, titled "Gando," chronicles the exploits of Iran's Revolutionary Guard agents - in the style of James Bond or Jason Bourne. -AP 4/5/21

Concert: Pacific Symphony and Farhang Foundation's Virtual Nowruz Celebration

Celebrate Nowruz with the prestigious Pacific Symphony partnership with the Farhang Foundation. A traditional festival that marks the beginning of spring, Nowruz is a time to celebrate the "rebirth of nature" and wash away the past. Guest artists include pianist and composer Shardad Rohani, guitarist Lily Afshar, vocalist Sara Hamidi, and Sohrab Pournazeri improvising on the tanbour from Tehran, Iran. 4/1/21

Experimental filmmaker Shahin Parhami explored the lives and work of artists

In a village in Iran's Fars province, Shahin Parhami found what he wasn't looking for. Mr. Parhami - an Iranian-Canadian experimental filmmaker who told stories about artists and their relationship to history, politics and culture - had travelled to the village to meet a nonagenarian Qashqai musician. In the street, he happened upon two small children singing. As he always did when a spontaneous moment occurred, Mr. Parhami reached for his camera. -Susan Krashinsky Robertson, Globe & Mail 3/31/21

'Disclaimer' Turns the Spotlight on Its Audience

Can a culturally appropriative murder mystery in the guise of a cooking class prevent war with Iran? Piehole's interactive new Zoom play aims to find out. Disclaimer begins as a Persian cooking class on Zoom. Writer Tara Ahmadinejad also stars as Nargis Saleem, an Iranian American woman flailing in her attempts to teach her class how to cook Sabzi Polo, a dish traditionally served for the Persian New Year. It quickly becomes clear that Chef Nargis has an ulterior motive for this gathering. -American Theatre 3/25/21

Performance: Lost In The Desert Sky by Kayhan Kalhor

In Memory of Mohammad Reza Shajarian: HD Video Stream of Kayhan Kalhor and his ensemble live from Kashan, Iran in celebration of Iran's renowned vocalist. -March 20 - April 3, 2021 3/19/21

Stunning Premiere of Iconoclastic Iranian Movie - "LALEH" Drive

"Laleh", fifteen years in the making, produced by DEFC and Canadian "The Movie Drive, Inc." and directed by Iranian born, Hollywood Director-Producer Essy Niknejad, premiered March 12th right after theaters opened in Tehran to unanimous kudos, even from some who opposed this debated film. -Winter Star Entertainment 3/16/21

A TOUR OF IRAN: Symphony Concert and Cultural Festival

New West Symphony's Global Sounds. Local Cultures season continues with A Tour of Iran, exploring centuries old traditions of Iranian poetic and musical cultural influences on the western world. Award-winning mezzo soprano Sasha Cooke and Iranian instrumentalists Pejman Hadadi and Masoud Rezaei join the New West Symphony on this musical voyage. -Thousand Oaks, California 3/15/21

Iran cracks down on contentious pop music video with arrests

Iranian authorities have arrested multiple music producers connected to a California-based Iranian pop singer, his management company and Iranian media said Thursday, in Tehran's latest effort to halt what it deems decadent Western behavior. -AP 3/12/21

Jafar Panahi Recalls Jail Time in Iran While Supporting Imprisoned Human Rights Activist

Jafar Panahi, the outspoken Iranian filmmaker behind 2015's acclaimed "Taxi," has recorded an International Women's Day message in support of imprisoned lawyer and human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. IndieWire is exclusively premiering Panahi's message to Sotoudeh -Indie Wire 3/9/21

My Screen Life: Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof on living under house arrest

A member of the Competition jury for the online Berlinale, the Iranian filmmaker discusses his "difficult and very specific" situation, connecting to nature, and the influence of Loach, Haneke and Herzog. -Screen Daily 3/5/21

Music video on Iranian app with US porn actress spurs probe

A music video on an Iranian entertainment app that includes an appearance by a U.S. porn actress has prompted outrage among authorities who have launched an investigation, Iranian media reported Wednesday. The Iranian Rubika application was being investigated by officials after it published a brief teaser from the "Tehran Tokyo" music video by California-based Iranian pop singer Sasy, according to a report by the semiofficial ISNA news agency. -AP 3/4/21

Istgah Orchestra performing the classic folk song "DOKHTAR-E BOYER-AHMADI" from a historic house in Tehran

"Dokhtar-e Boyer Ahmadi" originates from the Kohgiluyeh And Boyer-Ahmad province of Iran, and it is a song that is familiar to most Iranians, it was perhaps best popularized by the magical voice of the legendary Iranian opera and folk singer Pari Zanganeh. The Istgah Orchestra has rearranged the attractive melody of Dokhtar-e Boyer-Ahmadi in this special performance. We dedicate this song to all the lovers of our beautiful Iran. -Farhang Foundation 3/3/21

Kourosh Ahari's Thriller 'The Night' Sets Theatrical Release In Iran, Becomes First U.S.-Produced Film To Hit Iranian Theaters In 40 Years

After its stateside theatrical release of the IFC Midnight's The Night in January, the Kourosh Ahari-directed thriller is set to have its theatrical premiere in Iran on February 24. Mammoth Pictures and Ayat Film Company's release of the pic marks a historic moment as it is the first U.S.-produced film to have a wide theatrical release in Iran since the country's revolution 40 years ago. -Deadline 2/24/21

"I Will Never Perform Just for Women!": Golnoush Khaleghi Passes Away in Exile

Golnoush Khaleghi, first Persian woman conductor and daughter of legendary composer Rouhollah Khaleghi, passed away on February 14. She was 80. Khaleghi was the conductor of the NIRT (National Iranian Radio & Television) Choir in the 1970s. Shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ms. Khaleghi moved to the United States and founded the Rouhollah Khaleghi Orchestra in Washington DC to preserve Persian music. BBC's Pejman Akbarzadeh has reviewed her career. 2/17/21

France's female dervish takes transcendence online

One of the world's few female whirling dervishes, Rana Gorgani has opened up Sufism to a wider audience, and is now making surprising spiritual connections over Zoom thanks to the pandemic. French-Iranian Gorgani, 37, used to think of whirling -- a sort of "moving meditation" through which Sufis seek to commune with the divine -- as something that should remain behind closed doors. -AFP 2/16/21

After U.S. Immigration Battle, Musician Kayhan Kalhor Returns To Iran

When Kayhan Kalhor first left Iran, at age 17, he walked - more than 2,500 miles, to Italy. He carried only two items with him: a small backpack and his main musical instrument, the kamancheh. This was during the Iranian Revolution. Kalhor was the only one of his family - who are of Kurdish descent - to leave the country. -Julia Gunther, NPR 2/11/21

'Sun Children' by Iranian director Majid Majidi shortlisted for 2021 Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the shortlists for nine categories for the upcoming Oscars, according to Variety. Iranian feature 'Sun Children' directed by acclaimed filmmaker Majid Majidi has been shortlisted for the 2021 Academy Awards. 2/10/21

A Toast to Everything Yara Shahidi Accomplished Long Before Her 21st Birthday

Actress and activist Yara Shahidi hasn't been idling away her youth. In honor of her 21st birthday Feb. 10, we're celebrating all the ways the Grown-ish star has made her mark. The eldest of three kids, Yara grew up immersed in the arts and became a voracious reader thanks to her Black model mom Keri Salter Shahidi and Iranian-American photographer dad Afshin Shahidi, who made sure their daughter was absorbing a diverse array of perspectives. -E 2/10/21

"I'm not an exile": Iranian director Keywan Karimi talks returning to the city where he was imprisoned

Iranian director Keywan Karimi hasn't had much luck when it comes to attending film festivals. When his feature Drum was screening at Venice and elsewhere in 2016, he was locked up in Tehran's Evin Prison, serving a sentence for "propaganda against the State." 2/8/21

Kaveh Farnam's reel story

Best known in Dubai as the CEO of Advanced Media for the last two decades, in recent years he has also garnered awards for some of the films he has backed. Kaveh Farnam, producer of award-winning Iranian films including 'There is no Evil, Son-Mother and Leakage', interviewed by Vijaya Cherian and the article is written and compiled by Ritika Sharma. -Broadcast Pro 2/8/21

Legends Of Tomorrow's Zari Is A "First" The MCU Should Learn From

Originally hailing from a very grim future that saw her parents persecuted and ultimately killed because they were Muslim, Zari joins the Legends on their time traveling adventures at the beginning of Legends of Tomorrow season 3. In an alternate timeline, the original Zari is replaced by a version who grew up with her family in season 5. It's kind of complicated, but it works. As an Iranian-American, Zari is the first Middle Eastern superhero on television and in DC Comics' live-action slate. -Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant 2/5/21

City Lights: The 25th DC Festival of Films from Iran Goes On, Virtually

The Smithsonian museums may be closed due to the pandemic, but that isn't stopping the Museum of Asian Art from hosting its 25th annual Festival of Films from Iran. The festival is now online with a slate of eight films which explore how people cope with subjects including environmental destruction, terminal cancer, the 1953 coup in Iran, and the death penalty. -Washington City Paper 2/3/21

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