Farvardin 26 1400 - April 15 2021
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

Why horror flick "The Night" is the first American film to be released in Iran in four decades

Filmmaker Kourosh Ahari & star Shahab Hosseini spoke to Salon about the eerie psychological thriller set in a hotel. n the eerie Iranian horror film, "The Night," Babak (Shahab Hosseini, of "The Salesman"), Neda (Niousha Jafarian) and their baby, Shabnam (Leah Oganyan) check into the Hotel Normandie to get some rest. But that soon proves impossible - and not just because Babak is suffering from a throbbing toothache. -Gary M. Kramer, Salon 1/29/21

Houston Festival of Films from Iran 2021

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's 28th annual Festival of Films from Iran features award-winning films, from social documentaries to dark comedies, plus conversations with two of Iran's most prominent filmmakers. Come celebrate with us online from January 22 to February 7. This online festival is co-curated by Tom Vick of the Freer and Sackler; Marian Luntz and Tracy Stephenson of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and independent film programmers Kristen Hoskins and Carter Long. 1/27/21

The 2,000-year-old Wonder Women who inspired the comic

The contemporary superheroine has a backstory inspired by Greek mythology, which in turn was inspired by real-life ancient warrior women. Experts have identified depictions of the women in battle with Greek men on vases and other ceramics as dressed in Persian-style clothing. By the 470s, the Greeks began to refer to portrayals of the Persians as the Amazons, turning their real-life adversaries into mythological folklore. Even the word "Amazon", meaning "warrior", is likely rooted in the Iranian language. -Kimiya Shokoohi, BBC 1/12/21

'The Night' gives us a never-ending night in a hotel we can't leave

We don't get to hear from many Iranian storytellers in the U.S. and horror has never been key to Iran's cinematic culture, so the trailer for first time director Kourosh Ahari's The Night presents us with a rare treat! Although a portion of the trailer is in English, the film is largely in Farsi with English subtitles. This will also be the first U.S. produced film to receive distribution in Iran in four decades. All of that is great and everything, but the best part is that the movie looks fantastic! -Modern Horrors 1/12/21

Saeidi brothers short music videos clips tuned to frantic pace of modern life

Vocalist brothers Ali and Mohammad Saeidi have initiated a plan to enrich the daily lives of those people who have little patience or spare time by recording short music videos. The music videos run less than one minute and each promotes one more Iranian art indirectly. 1/7/21

Music video of "Shahrzaad" performed by the Symphony Orchestra of Motherland's Ladies

Shahrzaad Symphony, composed by Aminollah Andre Hossein was performed by a symphony orchestra led by Nozhat Amiri and performed by 30 Iranian women musicians. The music video of "Shahrzaad" Symphony was released with the performance of the Symphony Orchestra of the Motherland's Ladies and a tribute to the sacrifices of the medical staff in the fight against Corona and in support of peace, friendship and health of the human race. -Honar Online 1/7/21

How an anti-elite TV drama became Iran's lockdown hit

A woman screams for her life after being locked in a Mercedes-Benz in a junkyard. In the next scene, all that is left of her is a metal cube with blood gushing out. This isn't a scene from the latest horror film, but the first episode of the new Iranian drama series, Aghazadeh - taken from a term used to describe children of the Iranian elite with privilege, connections and influence. -Holly Dagres, Guardian 1/2/21

Sonia Hadad Releases Short Film EXAM

EXAM is an Iranian film, directed by Sonia K. Hadad, about a schoolgirl who is given a 'package' to drop off right before an important exam. This nail biting live action short film has garnered numerous high profile accolades at festivals across the globe, from the Best Live Action Short at AFI Fest to Best Actress in a Short Film for Sadaf Asghari at Sundance. -Broadway World 12/30/20

Interview with Iranian filmmaker Shahram Mokri: "We are lucky to be alive today"

In August 1978, four men set fire to the Cinema Rex in the Iranian city of Abadan, killing more than four hundred people inside. The event is said to have started the Iranian Revolution to overthrow the Shah's regime. Forty years later, "Careless Crime" by Iranian filmmaker Shahram Mokri depicts four men planning to burn down a cinema in a contemporary Iran where ghosts of the past haunt the current society. -Interview by Schayan Riaz, Qantara 12/29/20

Kami Sadraei Used to Watch Movies Smuggled in a Suitcase, But He Just Shot His Directorial Debut With Eric Roberts

In Tehran in the 1990s, there was a suitcase-carrying, suit-wearing gentleman known simply as the movie guy. He hand-delivered VHS bootlegs of films like Titanic and Romeo & Juliet - the good stuff - to so-called subscribers around the city. Those subscribers were die-hard movie fans, going to great lengths to see American movies not available in Iran. But it was worth it, says filmmaker Kami Sadraei, because the contents of that suitcase mattered. They really mattered. -Deirdre McCarrick, MovieMaker 12/29/20

Iranian black comedy "I'm not Trump" streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is streaming "I'm not Trump", a video of an Iranian black comedy play satirizing U.S. President Donald Trump's character under the pressure of the 2020 election. Reza Fayyazi stars as Trump in the play directed by Reza Khorram during October. Sirus Kahurinejad, and Sorush Taheri are other members of the cast. 12/8/20

Iranian National Commission for UNESCO honors actress Jaleh Olov

The Iranian National Commission for UNESCO honored actress Jaleh Olov, Iranian actor and voice actor with a lifetime achievement award on the margins of the Selfie 20 Short Film Festival in Tehran on Monday. The 93-year-old Olov expressed her thanks to the organizers in a video message screened during the closing ceremony of the festival, and said, "I am proud of working for the art of this land for 72 years in the different fields of theater, radio, dubbing and poetry." 12/2/20

'Radiograph of a Family': Film Review | IDFA 2020

An elegantly composed mosiac of real events and artfully restaged memories, Iranian director Firouzeh Khosrovani's stylized documentary Radiograph of a Family is a personal passion project with rich political and cultural resonance. Subtly chronicling Iran's last few turbulent decades using her own parents as emblematic protagonists, Khosrovani's fourth feature makes imaginative use of nostalgic found footage, immersive sound design, love letters and vintage family photos.... -Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter 12/1/20

Iranian filmmaker Kambuzia Partovi dies at 65 due to COVID-19

Veteran Director and Scriptwriter Kambuzia Partovi died of COVID-19 on Tuesday. He was 65. Partovi, the prominent director of children's cinema and scriptwriter of many films, including Muhammad: The Messenger of God, died on Tuesday morning in Day Hospital in Tehran after a short illness due to the infection of coronavirus. 11/24/20

Unsilencing sanctions: Iranian musicians launch album in Germany

Even as international politics drive Iran further into isolation, a music record label in Germany is more determined to introduce Iranian artists and their music to international audiences. Hamburg-based 30M Records, founded earlier this year by Matthias Koch, will later this week release its first album by two Iranian artists, offering a mix of traditional Iranian music and modern sounds. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 11/16/20

Iranian Actor Babak Karimi on Trump's Defeat and Working With Sophia Loren

Iranian multi-hyphenate Babak Karimi is an actor, film editor, and academic who won the Berlin Silver Bear in 2011 for playing the judge in "A Separation," one of several films in which he stars directed by his friend Asghar Farhadi.... Karimi, who has close ties to Italy, is being honored with a lifetime achievement award by Rome's MedFilm Festival. -Nick Vivarelli, Variety 11/16/20

'Filmfarsi' unearths erased era of Iranian movie history

Filmfarsi is neither film nor Farsi. Discuss. The old Mike Myers bit as "Coffee Talk" host Linda Richman on SNL came to mind while watching "Filmfarsi," Ehsan Khoshbacht's fascinating cinematic essay about a forgotten - or, to be more precise, erased - era in world film history. "Filmfarsi" refers to a series of low-budget popular films made in Iran between the 1953 coup that put the Western-backed Shah of Iran in charge, and the 1979 revolution that swept the theocracy of Ayatollah Khomeini into power. -Rob Thomas, Capital Times 11/13/20

The Days Tehran had Opera...: A Tribute to Evlin Baghcheban

The year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Evlin Baghcheban's death. She played a crucial role to promote opera and choral music in Persia/Iran. Born to an Assyrian-French family in Turkey, she studied singing and piano at the Ankara State Conservatory. In 1950 Evlin married the Persian composer and fellow student Samin Baghcheban and moved to Tehran. -BBC Persian TV 11/10/20

"Sun Children" to represent Iran at Oscars 2021

"Sun Children", directed by Majid Majidi, has been selected to represent Iran in the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards. Spokesman of Iranian Cinema Selection Committee Raed Faridzadeh said that after having reviewed 12 films shortlisted as the country's preliminary nominees for this year's Academy Awards, this committee finally decided to select 'Sun Children' as Iran's representative at the Foreign Language Film section of the 2021 Academy Awards. 11/10/20

Liraz: Zan - a secret Israeli-Iranian musical collaboration

The Israeli-born singer worked with Iranian musicians on secure channels to create her new album. In the TV series Tehran, Liraz Charhi plays an Israeli Mossad spy working remotely with agents in the field in Iran. Her new album as a singer, though it is intended to bring the two peoples together, had to deploy similar tradecraft. -David Honigmann, Financial Times 11/6/20

Features from Iran at 2020 Toronto International Film Festival

Iran, yet another country in the bull's-eye of U.S. imperialism, has probably one of the most humanist national cinemas in the world. Despite rabid U.S. attempts to demonize the people of Iran, the country's rich history of filmmaking has provided a different picture entirely, of a country defending itself through many chaotic transitions in power, brought on by outside interference. -Bill Meyer, People's World 11/5/20

An Iranian viral rap video's message for Americans: 'Your election matters here, too.'

It's not exactly Eminem's appeal to voters that they have "one opportunity" to elect the Biden-Harris ticket. But an Iranian band has made a viral rap video hit in Iran with a similar message to Americans: The ballot you cast will have a direct impact on our lives. "Our hands are lifted in prayer, what's gonna happen in America? What's gonna happen in America?" the band, Dasandaz, sings in Persian, with English subtitles. -Farnaz Fassihi, NY Times 11/4/20

Love Child review - refugee documentary finds love and warmth amid the misery

Filmed over six years in Turkey, this is a wonderful account of an Iranian family in exile desperately seeking asylum. Here's a documentary that gives off warmth like a radiator, generating huge amounts of empathy. I'm not sure I've seen another film that has so movingly put the audience in the shoes of a refugee: the emptiness of leaving everything behind, belonging to nowhere, having nothing. -Cath Clarke, Guardian 11/4/20

Angry TV film-makers stop release of lauded Iranian documentary

Coup 53, which charts MI6's role in the shah's restoration, has been blocked by makers of an 1985 show, who say it sullies their names. Made over 10 years by Walter Murch, the celebrated editor of Apocalypse Now and The English Patient, in collaboration with the Anglo-Iranian director Taghi Amirani, it tells the story of covert British intervention in Iran after the second world war and stars Ralph Fiennes, left, as an MI6 spy in a reconstruction of a key incident. -Vanessa Thorpe, Guardian 11/2/20

The 13th Iranian Folk Music Festival to be held online

The 13th edition of Iran's Regional Music Festival will be held online in the southern Iranian city of Kerman from October 31 to November 2, the director of the Kerman branch of Iran Music Association Suraj Yasai said on Monday. The participating artists will be giving their performances every night mainly at the Ganjali Khan Caravanserai, a 17th-century monument in Kerman, and the performances will stream online on the Instagram page of the association, he added. 10/27/20

The Wunderkind Iranian Director Who Stopped Making Films

The Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf is one of the best modern directors, and one of the most precocious of all time, but, even when the repertory houses were in high gear prior to the lockdown, her films were rarely shown. Makhmalbaf made her first feature, "The Apple," in 1997, at the age of seventeen; her second, "Blackboards," came out in 2000, and her third, "At Five in the Afternoon," three years after that. -Richard Brody, New Yorker 10/20/20

Mohammad Reza Shajarian embodied the timeless beauty of Persian music

Ivividly remember the first time I met Mohammad Reza Shajarian on a summer afternoon in Berlin in 2011. He was touring Europe, along with his daughter Mojgan and an ensemble of young musicians. For Iranians, this was - along with North America - the only place they could experience their great idol on stage, given that the outspoken maestro of Persian classical music had been banned from performing inside Iran two years earlier. -Marian Brehmer, Guardian 10/12/20

Persian music master Shajarian who backed Iran protests dies

Mohammad Reza Shajarian, whose distinctive voice quavered to traditional Persian music on state radio for years before supporting protesters following Iran's contested 2009 election, has died, state TV reported Thursday. He was 80. Shajarian enlivened Iran's traditional music with his singing style, which soared, swooped and trilled over long-known poetry set to song. But the later years of his life saw him forced to only perform abroad, after he backed those who challenged the disputed re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by telling state radio to stop using his songs. -Nasser Karimi, AP 10/9/20

Iranian musicians help out in secret on Israeli singer's new record

An Israeli singer of Persian heritage is set to release an album she made by working in secret with Iranian musicians, her long-held aspiration for artistic collaboration despite bitter animosity between the two states. Using encrypted instant-messaging apps like Telegram and by wiring money through third countries, such as the UK and Turkey, Liraz Charhi said she spent months of sleepless nights fearing those who associated would be in danger. -Oliver Holmes, Guardian 10/8/20

How filmmaker Khosrow Sinai uncovered the hidden history of Polish refugees in Iran

Iranian filmmaker Khosrow Sinai passed away in August from COVID-19, leaving behind an important and eye-opening document of Polish exodus during the Second World War. His documentary The Lost Requiem is now available to watch free online. - Aga Sablinska, Calvert Journal 10/7/20

Iranian Film Festival, San Francisco: Winners of the 2020 'Sepanta Awards' Announced

Family drama "Labyrinth" was the top winner at the 13th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco by receiving awards in four categories, including best film and best director. The winners were announced virtually last Friday. Also due to the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival ran virtually this year. 10/2/20

Olivia Colman-Narrated Documentary About Iranian Activist Nasrin Sotoudeh Acquired By Virgil Films

Virgil Films & Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Nasrin, a documentary about activist Nasrin Sotoudeh narrated by Oscar winner Olivia Colman. Sotoudeh is a human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran's women's rights movement. Last week, she cited serious health concerns in ending a six-week hunger strike in Evin Prison, where she has been serving a nearly four-decade sentence. Millions of people from around the world have called for her release. -Deadline 9/30/20

'Audiences won't have seen anything like this': how Iranian film Chess of the Wind was reborn

The rediscovery of a film is seldom as fascinating a story as the film itself, but that's the case with Chess of the Wind (Shatranj-e Baad), directed by Iranian film-maker Mohammad Reza Aslani. It was only screened twice in Tehran in 1976, once to a cinema of hostile critics, and then to an empty cinema - the bad reviews had done their work. -John Harris Dunning, Guardian 9/30/20

With spy series 'Tehran,' Israelis reach out to an enemy

Things are not as they seem in the new Apple TV+ series "Tehran" - as it should be in a spy thriller. The series opens with a commercial flight from Jordan to India that's suddenly diverted to Iran. A few of the passengers on board have secrets. Those secrets will soon have war jets scrambling and a covert manhunt launching. As audacious as the premise, "Tehran" is equally bold: an Israeli production that offers viewers a sympathetic view of Iran - one of Israel's greatest foes - without anyone from the production setting foot in the Islamic Republic. -Mark Kennedy, AP 9/28/20

Golriz on Ghazaleh

My friend Ghazaleh Golbakhsh is a film-maker, a writer, actor, Iranian, Kiwi, woman of colour, citizen of the world, and wild dreamer. Her new book of essays examines the impact of her identity and its formation, on everything from dating to growing up in war torn Iran. I released my memoir, a bit of the journey to becoming that so called first so-called "Refugee MP", this year too. She's a prominent character in that story, and we compared notes a lot as we wrote our accounts. -Golriz Ghahrman, Newsroom, NZ 9/22/20

Iranian-German movie 'Bandar Band' sends message of hope

Iranian director Manijeh Hekmat expected the production of her latest movie to go ahead as planned - but then she found herself having to improvise. The resulting film is more than just an homage to Iran's landscapes. -Deutsche Welle 9/21/20

All-women band in Iran struggles to break through

The men in the audience clapped and the women ululated as the band finished singing: it would have been commonplace except the venue was in Iran and the group on stage were all women. The catchy rhythmic music they played that balmy night is known as "bandari". Its lyrics are from ancient folkloric songs, passed down the generations and familiar to many at the concert in an amphitheater in the southern port of Bandar Abbas. -AFP 9/18/20

13th Annual Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco: September 19-25, 2020

This year Iranian Film Festival - San Francisco, presents a record-breaking 52 films, in two days, from Iran, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden...ranging from fiction, documentary, short, animation...to music video. We are happy and proud to continue our mission to discover and support the next generation of Iranian filmmakers living and working around the world, while we honor the veteran filmmakers for their distinguished careers. 9/15/20

Director Shahram Mokri: Iran sanctions big obstacle for joint film projects

Iranian director Shahram Mokri, whose latest drama "Careless Crime" was screened at the 77th Venice Film Festival, has said the U.S. sanctions on Iran have put a big obstacle in the way of the countries and companies eager to cooperate with Iran in the film industry. He made the remarks in the program "European Union for the Future of World Cinema" held at the Spazio Incontri on Sunday on the margins of the festival. 9/10/20

Sun Children review - Iranian street kids strike gold

Sun Children, by the Iranian director Majid Majidi, gives us a prison-break drama that is escaping to nowhere, and a knockabout school comedy gone horribly wrong. The acting is broad, the plot gears often creak, but it has guts and heart and a grubby, street-smart charisma. It's one of the finest films playing in this year's Venice competition. -Xan Brooks, Guardian 9/9/20

Iranian director calls Venice premiere 'like a new life'

Restricted travel, quarantine and positive COVID-19 tests meant that Majid Majidi's appearance at the Venice Film Festival for Iranian drama "Sun Children" (Khorshid) was an achievement in itself. The film follows the story of Ali and his three friends on the streets of Tehran, as they try to find hidden treasure, digging a tunnel underneath a local charity school for street kids and child laborers. -Louise Dixon, AP 9/9/20

Interview: Composer Aida Shirazi On Music, Success And Her Iranian Upbringing

For centuries, the classical music "canon" has been dominated by European male figures. Times are changing, though, and many diverse voices are finally finding a foothold in the genre - and one need look no further than Davis. Iranian musician Aida Shirazi came to the United States four years ago to pursue a Ph.D in composition at UC Davis. Lately, she's been getting a lot of national attention not just for her music, but also for her role as a co-founder of the Iranian Female Composer's Association. -CapRadio 9/1/20

SGS Summer Film Festival: Chicken with Plums; Discussion with Marjane Satrapi

The Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies and France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies invite you to watch Chicken with Plums from home at a time that works for your schedule, then join us on Zoom for a discussion with the writer and co-director, Marjane Satrapi. Please RSVP to receive the Zoom information. 8/28/20

Iranian musician Mehdi Rajabian arrested for working with women

Iranian musician Mehdi Rajabian says he is facing trial over working with female singers and dancers. The 30-year-old, who has already been imprisoned twice on charges relating to his music, says he was arrested two weeks ago over his latest project. The album, which is not yet complete, is due to include female vocalists - who are effectively banned in Iran. -Mark Savage, BBC 8/26/20

'Sun Children' First Trailer: Majid Majidi's Venice Competition Drama Charts Child Labor In Iran

The film tells the story of 12-year-old Ali and his three friends. Together, they work hard to survive and support their families, doing small jobs in a garage and committing petty crimes to make fast money. Everything changes, however, when Ali is entrusted to find a hidden treasure underground but must first enrol at the Sun School, a charitable institution that tries to educate street kids and child laborers. -Andreas Wiseman, Deadline 8/25/20

"Carter was so humane": "Desert One" filmmaker on examining the Iran hostage crisis 40 years later

Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple's gripping documentary, "Desert One," provides a new look at the 1980 rescue mission to free the Iran Hostages. The film briskly recounts the history of U.S.-Iran relations, beginning with Imam Khomeini taking power in February 1979. The Shah of Iran left the country, eventually arriving in New York for medical treatment. Later that year, Iranian students, angered by the United States' refusal to return the Shah to Iran, occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and took 52 Americans hostage. -Gary M Kramer, Salon 8/21/20

Ava review - smart teenage thriller amps up the micro-tyrannies

This debut feature by the Iranian-Canadian director Sadaf Foroughi takes what might otherwise be a banal family-drama trope - moody teenage girl with warring parents starts acting out - and turns it into something resembling a political thriller. In present-day Iran, and many other strict societies, a teenage girl who presumes to challenge her parents and teachers is made to feel like a dissident in a police state, forever nursing secrets, forever being questioned and harassed by the authorities... -Guardian 8/19/20

Loris Tjeknavorian wins Books for Peace Awards 2020

Iranian Armenian composer Loris Tjeknavorian, 82, has been selected as the winner of the Books for Peace Awards 2020. He had first received the nomination in May from Iran's Art for Peace Festival, which had nominated him for the 2019 edition of the awards. The winners will be honored during a special ceremony on September 12 in Rome, Italy. -Public Radio of Armenia 8/18/20

Iran Threatens Musician With Jail for Encouraging Women to Sing, Dance

Iranian composer Mehdi Rajabian lives with the constant threat of prison hanging over his head. The 30 year old has already been jailed once for his work, but on Tuesday he was taken to court and arrested again over his latest project: an album featuring music from across the Middle East. The album includes songs by female singers and features dancing by fellow Iranian Helia Bandeh. -Newsweek 8/13/20

Iranian Actress Mahchehreh Khalili dies at 44

Actress Mahchehreh Khalili, who is most famous for her roles in the series and movies such as "The Rise of Mokhtar" and "Mask" died from cancer on Friday, August 7. Khalili was born in Tehran in 1977 and had a degree in architecture from Oxford University. She had completed courses at Method Acting college, a school in London that provides acting classes and lessons. 8/11/20

Iran-born actor Sahel Rosa on the hardship and help she had growing up in Japan: interview

There are many examples of children of foreign nationalities falling by the wayside in Japan, after arriving unable to speak the language and then struggling to fit in at school or in society. But Sahel Rosa, 34, came to Japan from the chaotic aftermath of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, and went on to become an actor and TV personality. -Mainichi Japan 8/11/20

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