5TH ANNUAL NOOR IRANIAN Film Festival
ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERs
— 2012 Jury Members: Tony Plana, Behrouz Vossoughi, Homa Sarshar,
Navid Negahban and Kristoff St. John —
LOS ANGELES (August 9, 2011) – Last night, The 5th 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 2012 line-up of competition films. Each film features a theme about Iran and/or Iranian talent—either in front of or behind the camera. Over 300 celebrities, VIPs, filmmakers and honored guests were in attendance. The red carpet Awards Ceremony was held at the Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90049) at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony was co-hosted by David Diaan and Melissa Shoshani with a special performance by the Beshkan Dance Academy.
The festival kicked-off on Friday, August 3, 2012, at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 (9036 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills CA 90211). A special screening of “A Separation,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, and the first Iranian film to win the Oscar® for Best Foreign Film, took place on Tuesday, August 7th as the Closing Night film. The 2012 event was presented by festival co-founder, director and producer Siamak Ghahremani and sponsored Emirates Airlines, Ritmo Mundo Watches, Pars Equality Center, Guard-A-Heart and Enlite Community.
2012 NIFF winners are as follows:
Audience Favorite – “The Iran I Remember,” by director Morteza Rezvani.
Best Feature Film – “Losing Her,” by directors Dave Moutray and Shahaub Roudbari.
Best Feature Film Director – Esmaeel Mihandoust for “A Very Close Encounter.”
Best Documentary – “Be Like Others,” by director Tanaz Eshaghian.
Best Documentary Director – Beate Petersen for “Nasseredin Shah and his 84 Wives.”
Best Story – “My City Pizza,” by director Ala Mohensi.
Best Short Film – “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” by director Ana Lily Amirpour.
Best Short Film Director – Ana Lily Amirpour for “Pashmaloo.”
This year’s jury included: actor Tony Plana (“Ugly Betty,” “An Officer and a Gentleman”); one of Iran’s most legendary actors, Behrouz Vossoughi; Award winning Iranian-American writer & journalist Homa Sarshar; actor Navid Negahban (“Homeland,” “The Stoning of Soraya M”); and Emmy® Award winning actor Kristoff St. John (“The Young and the Restless”).
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”); actress Nazanin Boniadi (“How I Met Your Mother,” “General Hospital”); actor Reza Safai (“Circumstance”); Navid Negahban (“Homeland,” “The Stoning of Soraya M”); Dennis Haysbert (“24,” “Jarhead”); “Shahs of Sunset” cast members Sammy Younai, Mercedes Javid; Ali Saam (“Argo”); and many more.
Ghahremani says, “This was a landmark year for us, being the festival’s fifth anniversary. We were thrilled to hold our 5th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival in Los Angeles in order to bridge the gap between Iranian and non-Iranian communities. With the success of recent movies such as “A Separation” and “Circumstance,” more than ever, Iranian films and filmmakers are receiving more recognition and attention. Being the only platform of it’s kind in the U.S., this festival captures that excitement.”
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.
Competition films on the 2012 slate included: “The Iran Job,” “4 Minutes,” “Bitter Milk” and “A Very Close Encounter.” A full list of the films can be found online at www.noorfilmfestival.com.
Past jury members include prominent industry VIPs: Frances Fisher, Rainn Wilson, Brooke Adams, Esai Morales, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Reza Badiyi, Bai Ling, Omid Djalili, Ever Carradine, Natasha Henstridge, Maz Jobrani, Corey Feldman, Max Martini, Kami Asgar, Harry J. Lennox, Shaun Toub, Kyle Secor, Habib Zargarpour, to name just a few.
A highlight of the 4th Annual event was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award-winning film, “Circumstance,” by director Maryam Keshavarz, which won three NIFF trophies: the Audience Award, Best Director and Best Actress for newcomer Nikohl Boosheri.
Last year’s festival also featured Iranian-American producer Bob Yari (“Crash,” “The Illusionist,” “Painted Veil”) as the recipient of the 2011 Noor Film Festival Achievement Award. Late renowned television director and Iranian-born Reza Badiyi (“The Incredible Hulk,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Mission Impossible,” “Baywatch”) received the festival’s first Achievement Award in 2009.
The festival’s board of advisors includes comedian and actor Maz Jobrani (“The interpreter”, “Friday after Next”), actor Shaun Toub, actor/writer/filmmaker David Diaan (“Stoning of Soraya M.”), producer Roxana Rastegar, television host/producer/actress Parisa Defaie, and Community activist Alaleh Kamran.
In 2005, Iranian-born Siamak Ghahremani co-founded the Noor Iranian Film Festival (with actor Anthony Azizi), and the inaugural international event occurred in 2007. (“Noor” means “light” or “knowledge.”) 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 whose voice cannot be heard inside of Iran. 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 five days, the NIFF hosts premieres, networking events, and panel discussions, culminating in the closing night Awards Ceremony held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. The event is also dedicated to cultivating and promoting Iranian-American talent in Hollywood. Screenings were held at the Laemmle Music Hall (9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California). For more information, please visit www.noorfilmfestival.com.