Financial Tribune- The Iranian film in Turkish language ‘The Home’, written, directed and produced by Asghar Yousefinejad was the big winner at the 35th edition of Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF). The closing ceremony was held in Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on Thursday.
Participating in the main International Competition section ‘Cinema Salvation’, ‘The Home’ won three awards including the top prize of the festival, Golden Simorgh (mythical Iranian bird) for the best film and Silver Simorgh for best script.
According to the public relations office of the festival, awards of the section were presented by the jury members including German filmmaker Florian Gallenberger, American writer, producer and director Jessica Woodworth, Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski, Japanese actress Mieko Harada, Italian film producer and director Uberto Pasolini and Iranian actress Fatemah Motamed-Ariaýý and director Rasoul Sadrameli.
Announcing the name of the winner for the top prize of the event, Motamed-Aria said, “The Golden Simorgh for the best film goes to the movie which surprised us all.”
In February, ‘The Home’, Yousefinejad’s debut feature film, competed in the national section of the Fajr Festival and despite being praised by the critics and the public, it was completely ignored by the jurors.
The movie tells the story of Sayeh who has been not been in contact with her family since her marriage six years ago. But when her father dies, she comes back home only to find that his body has to be sent for an autopsy as per her father’s will. But she refuses to do so.
After receiving his award, Yousefinejad, 48, dedicated it to the late auteur Abbas Kiarostami, who passed away last June and was paid tribute in this year’s festival. “This award is for my master Kiarostami and Tabriz (his hometown, where the story also takes place). Long live Iran.”
The film also won the NETPAC prize designed to promote Asian cinema by spotlighting exceptional films and discovering new talents.
First Presence of NETPAC
This year marked the first presence of NETPAC in the FIFF. The jury included Australian festival director Anne Demy-Geroe, academic Rolando B. Tolentino from the Philipines and Iranian journalist and film critic Houshang Golmakani.
NETPAC is a worldwide organization of 29 countries. In the past 18 years it has programmed Asian sections of international film festivals, introduced filmmakers from Asia to the world, brought out a compendium of the existing film infrastructure in different Asian countries, organized seminars and conferences and instituted an award for the Best Asian film at various festivals.
The other winners of ‘Cinema Salvation’ who received Silver Simorgh awards were Colombian filmmaker Ivan D. Gaona, for best director prize for ‘Guilty Men’; Bulgarian movie ‘Glory’ collected two awards for the best actress, Margita Gosheva, and best actor, Stefan Denolyubov; and the Silver Simorgh for best short film went to ‘Online Shopping’ by Ghasideh Golmakani from Iran.
The Special Jury Prize for outstanding artistic contribution was presented to Zhu Jinjing, cinematographer and Wang Tou, art director, of ‘Mr. No Problem’, a joint production of China and France.
Asian Film Awards
In the Panorama of Films from Asian and Islamic Countries section, three awards were given. ‘Returnee’ directed by Sabit Kurmanbekov from Kazakhstan was titled the best Asian film. And the best Asian short film award went to ‘Not Yet’ by Arian Vazirdaftari from Iran.
Shahrbanoo Sadat won the best Asian director prize for her movie ‘Wolf and Sheep’, a co-production of Afghanistan, Denmark, France and Sweden.
Receiving her award, Sadat said, “This is indeed a valuable prize for me because although I was born in Tehran and had an ID, I could not go to school due to my Afghan nationality. I hope we are kind with each other.”
Sadat, 27, grew up in a remote shepherd community in Afghanistan. She studied documentary filmmaking in ‘Atelier Varan Kabul’, a French Documentary Workshop in 2009. Her first feature film ‘Wolf and Sheep’ tells the story of a village much like the one where she grew up. It won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight in 2016.
Interfaith and Muhammad Al Ameen Awards
‘Knife in the Clear Water’ directed by Wang Xuebo from China received the Interfaith Award.
Muhammad Al-Ameen Award for reflection of prophetic ethics and morality was given to ‘Babaei’ by Mozaffar Hosseinkhani Hezaveh from Iran.
Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Reza Salehi Amiri, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Director of Iranian Cinema Organization Mohammad Mehdi Heydarian as well as a large number of Iranian cineastes and foreign guests attended the event.