The 5th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival (NIFF) —an international event that educates the non-Iranian community about the culture and heritage of Iranians through the medium of cinema—announces its 2012 line-up of 26 competition films. Each film features a theme about Iran and/or Iranian talent—either in front of or behind the camera. The festival kicks-off on Friday, August 3, 2012, at the Laemmle Music Hall (9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California) and wraps with a red carpet Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, August 8th at 7:00 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Magnin Auditorium. The 2012 event is presented by festival co-founder, director and producer Siamak Ghahremani and sponsored by KPFK-FM, Ritmo Mundo Watches and Emirates Airlines.
Ghahremani says, “This is 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.”
A special screening of “A Separation,” directed by Asghar Farhadi, and the first Iranian film to win the Oscar®for Best Foreign Film, will take place on Tuesday, August 7th at 8:30 p.m. as the Closing Night film.
Competition films on the 2012 slate include: “The Iran Job,” “Bedrooms,” “Bitter Milk” and “Love Crimes of Kabul.” A full list of the films and screening times can be found online.
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.
This year’s jury includes: 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 actorKristoff St. John (“The Young and the Restless”).
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 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.
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.
The festival’s board of advisors includes comedian and actor Maz Jobrani (“The interpreter”, “Friday after Next”), actor Shaun Toub (“Iron Man,” “Kite Runner,” “Crash”), actor/writer/filmmaker David Diaan (“Stoning of Soraya M.”), producer Roxana Rastegar, television host/producer/actress Parisa Defaie, and Community activist Alaleh Kamran.
The NIFF Jury judges for the eight categories, including Audience Favorite, Best Shorts Director, Best Story/Idea, Best Documentary Director, Best Documentary, Best Feature, Best Feature Director and Best Short Film.
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. 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 5th annual event, taking place from August 3 - 8, 2012, is also dedicated to cultivating and promoting Iranian-American talent in Hollywood. Screenings are held at the Laemmle Music Hall (9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California).