Farhang Foundation Nowruz and Short Film Festival Draws Thousands to LACMA - Largest Nowruz (Iranian New Year) Celebration in Los Angeles is a Spectacular Success

5th Annual Farhang Foundation Nowruz Celebration at LACMA | March 17 | 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. This program celebrated the arrival of spring with a full day of exciting activities throughout LACMA's campus, including live performances, music, storytelling and calligraphy for children, and a traditional Nowruz display known as Haft Sîn! The official Nowruz program inside the Bing Theater at 2 p.m., the world premiere performance of "The Dawn of Spring" by Shahin Yousefzamani was presented, followed by an outdoor concert at 5 p.m. at BP Grand Entrance, featuring Rana Mansour and KARMANDAN by Erwin Khachikian. (Photo credit: Vafa Khatami)


On Saturday evening, March 16th 2013, The Farhang Foundation, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), kicked-off its 5th Annual Nowruz (Iranian New Year) Celebration.  This year’s festivities beganwith the 2013 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Awards Ceremony and Reception on Saturday, March 16th at 6 p.m. at the Leo S. Bing Theater.  On Sunday, March 17th, Farhang hosted a myriad of Persian New Year activities from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for thousands of guests visiting the LACMA campus.


Houshang Touzie ("Argo") and Farhang Foundation executive director Bita Milanian on the red carpet at the 5th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival. (Photo credit: James Lemke, Getty Images)



The Annual Farhang Short Film Festival has quickly become a popular hit, this year commanding a full evening of festivities dedicated to celebrating Iranian heritage through short films. Having received over 70 submissions from around the world, including Iran, U.S., Canada and Europe and the Far East, the awards ceremony showcased the top six films submitted, with awards, cash prizes and recognition going to the top three selections.


The winning films included:1st Place and $10,000 winner, Rostam in WonderLand: Sohrab’s Blood (Iran) from filmmakers Pouya Afshar and Soroush Rezaee; 2nd place and $5,000 winner, Namaki (Iran) by Hajar Mehrani; 3rd Place and $3,000 winner, Distant Words (Australia) by Nassiem Valamanesh. 


Mark Amin (Farhang Trustee, Film Festival Committee Chair, CEO of Sobini Films) welcomes the audience at LACMA's Leo S. Bing Theater, while host Shirin Rajee (News Anchor, ABC News Santa Barbara) prepares to award the top three films of the night. (Photo credit: James Lemke, Getty Images)


The awards ceremony was hosted by Shirin Rajaee (News Anchor, ABC News Santa Barbara).  DJ Kabo provided lively music for the reception, and Chef Jason Fullilove of Patina created special Persian appetizers for the reception. 


The official Nowruz program inside the Bing Theater at 2 p.m. featured the world premiere performance of "The Dawn of Spring" by Shahin Yousefzamani. (Photo credit: Vafa Khatami)


Additional activities took place on Sunday, March 17th where thousands showed up to see dance performances by Ballet Afsaneh, special presentations of artwork, Persian food, family activities, calligraphy, a Persian Empire scavenger hunt, a Haft-Sîn display, and much more.  The top six films from the festival also ran on a loop in LACMA’s Brown Auditorium for all to see. 


Families participating in arts and crafts for children, including calligraphy and egg decorating. (Photo credit: Vafa Khatami)


In addition to all of the activities throughout LACMA’s campus, visitors had the opportunity to see the world premiere of “The Dawn of Spring”by Shahin Yousefzamani in the Bing Theater and the musical stylings of Rana Mansour with KARMANDAN by Erwin Khachikian outdoors in the BP Grand Entrance.



About Farhang Foundation
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 a broad range of academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports diverse cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz and Mehregan, theater, dance performances, film screenings and poetry reading in Southern California. And, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions, Farhang Foundation funds major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture. However, the content, viewpoints or biases expressed by individual artists, academics, institutions or events supported by the foundation belong solely to each individual party and do not necessarily reflect the views of Farhang Foundation.


About Nowruz
Nowruz, the celebration of the Persian/Iranian New Year, is the most important of all the Persian national festivals.  It embodies a wealth of ancient rites and customs, and it is about the only one in Persia that is not confined to the traditions of only one religious group.  It symbolizes the continuity of ancient Persian culture, which has survived so many adversaries and vicissitudes.  This 13-day celebration starts yearly on the vernal equinox.  This year’s Nowruz is officially observed on March 20, 2013.

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