International Short Film Festival: Independent Films on Iran — The Awards

The first annual International Short Film Festival: Independent Films on Iran was held at the Asia Society on Park Avenue in Manhattan from October 19 to 21. Attendance met expectations, with several of the programs being sold out, and the audience reaction was uniformly enthusiastic. The festival showed a total of sixty films from nine different countries, as selected by a committee made of festival founder Bahman Maghsoudlou, filmmaker Ghasem Ebrahimian and filmmaker Farhad Zamani. The roster was comprised of twenty films shown in competition, two out of competition, seventeen past award winners, a retrospective of five films by Kamran Shirdel, seven films from the Makhmalbaf Film House, three films from Afghanistan, and six films from Tajikistan. There was also a panel discussion on Iranian short films with Mr. Maghsoudlou, critic Godfrey Cheshire (also a member of the international jury) and author/critic Mohmmad Abdi.

On the final day, awards were presented to a handful of notable films, although all of the films presented were of considerable quality. The following were the award winners, as decided by our three-member international jury: Richard Pena, Milton Ginsberg and Godfrey Cheshire:

Gold Prize (Trophy, Diploma and $3000.00):
The Season of Soil (D: Shahrokh Babhrololumi)

Best Fiction (Trophy, Diploma and $2000.00):
Just Waiting (D: Hamy Ramezan)

Best Documentary (Trophy, Diploma and $2000.00):
Underneath My Father’s House (D: Naser Zeraati)
Special Jury Prize (split decision):
Fish Talking (D: Hassan Solhjou)($1000.00 from PCHA);
What If Spring Does Not Come? (D: Alireza Darvish)($1000.00 from IFVC)

ZIBA Prize (Trophy and $1000.00):
Bistoon & Its Secrets (D: Katayoun Afrooz)

Audience Award: Security (D: Matthew Linnell)

The Season of Soil rode a particularly difficult path to the Gold Prize. A print of a different film by director Shahrokh Babhrololumi was accidentally sent at first. The director, unable to obtain permission to enter the country from Canada in time for the festival, sent an acquaintance, who drove down to New York from Toronto, delivering a print of the right film just in time to be screened and ultimately win the top prize.

We are tremendously grateful to our participants and the attendees, all of whom contributed towards making our first year an unqualified success.

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