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Fajr International Film Festival: Overview (Photos)

A wide range of movies, documentaries and shorts by directors from around the globe were screened this April during the 34th Fajr International Film Festival.

Fifteen featured films competed in the official section, including “Guaraní” by Luis Zorraquín (Argentina, Paraguay), “1944” by Elmo Nüganen (Estonia, Finland), “El Clásico” by Halkawt Mustafa (Iraq, Norway), “Norfolk” by Martin Radich (United Kingdom) and “The Treasure” by Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania, France), the winner of the Prix Un Certain Talent prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. (Details: FIFF 2016 | International competition | Featured films)

This section also included eighteen short films from Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Iran, Ireland, Russian Federation, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom and Venezuela. (Details: FIFF 2016 | International competition | Short films)

Directors Majid Majidi and Nasser Taqvai from Iran, Chinese filmmaker and producer Tian Zhuangzhuang, Spanish director José Luis Guerín, producers Ivo Felt from Estonia and Zeynep Ozbatur Atakan from Turkey and Canadian writer Emmanuel Prevost were the official competition’s jury members.

Eastern Vista, a segment dedicated to films from Asian and Muslim nations, included “Solomon” by Zaza Khalvashi from Georgia and “My Sister, the Pig Lady” by Jang Moon-il from South Korea. A jury formed by Iranian actress Golab Adine, Afghan filmmaker Sahra Karimi, Indian actor and producer Jaaved Jaaferi, French-Moroccan director Ismael Feroukhi and Italian writer Teresa Cavina selected the winners of Best Asian Film and Best Asian Director from a total of sixteen movies from twelve different countries. (Full list: FIFF 2016 | Eastern Vista)

Directors Andrew Lau from Hong Kong, Alexander Sokurov from Russia and French journalist and critic Jean-Michel Frodon attended the festival. Special Screenings, a section focusing on documentaries, presented Sokurov’s new feature, Francofonia and Jia Zhang-ke by Brazilian director Walter Salles, writtern by Salles and Frodon. (Full list: FIFF 2016 | Special screenings)

Ten films were screened outside competition, including “The Assassin”, a martial arts drama by Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien and “Lamb” by American director Ross Partridge. (Full list: FIFF 2016 | Festival of Festivals)

The festival highlighted French cinema, as one of its side section programs, screening “The Fear” by Damian Odoul (2015), “Rabid Dogs” by Eric Hannezo (2015), “The Little Prince” by Mark Osborne (2015), “The Measure of a Man” by Stéphane Brizé (2015), “The Clearstream Affair” by Vincent Garenq (2014) and “Anton Chekhov 1890” Rene Feret (2015).

A restored version of Dariush Mehrjui’s acclaimed 1969 drama “The Cow” was screened along with “The Lover’s Wind” by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse (1978) and “The Country of Lion and Sun: Persia” by Vladimir Erofeev (1935). A photo exhibition with selected scenes of “The Cow” and “The Lover’s Wind” was also held at Charsou Cineplex.

A number of top Iranian cineastes, including Oscar-winning director Asghar Farhadi , actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, actor Reza Kianian and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Majid Majidi, have held a series of workshops on the sidelines of the festival. Over 100 students from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Iran attended the six-day workshop program entitled “Dar ul-Funun”, the name of the Iranian polytechnic established in 1851.

The 34th edition of Fajr International Film Festival was held from April 20th to April 25th, 2016 in Tehran’s Charsou Cineplex, under supervision of Iranian filmmaker, Reza Mirkarimi, current Managing Director of Khaneh Cinema, Iran’s Alliance of Motion Picture Associations.

Sources: Tehran Times, Fajr International Film Festival, kinokultura.com, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, Young Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, YJC 3, YJC 4, YJC 5, YJC 6, Azad News Agency (ANA) 1, ANA 2, Borna News Agency (BNA) 1, BNA 2, BNA 3, BNA 4, BNA 5, BNA 6, Fars News Agency (FNA) 1, FNA 2, FNA 3FNA 4, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4, IRNA 5, IRNA 6. IRNA 7, IRNA 8, ISCA 1, ISCA 2, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, ISNA 3, ISNA 4, ISNA 5, ISNA 6, ISNA 7, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) 1, TNA 2, TNA 3, TNA 4, TNA 5, TNA 6, TNA 7, TNA 8, TNA 9, Borna News Agency (BNA) 1, BNA 2, BNA 3, BNA 4, BNA 5, BNA 6, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, TPA 3, TPA 4, TPA 5

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Iran’s Fajr International Theatre Festival: Performances

Fajr International Theater Festival (FITF) is a golden opportunity to enjoy theatre projects from other cultural backgrounds. This year over 300 plays from Japanese, Hungarian, Spanish, German, Norwegian, Polish, French as well as Iranian artists were presented on all theater stages as well as some outdoor public spaces in Tehran.

The members of the jury panel for the international section – Stefan Schmid from Germany, Jerzy Limon from Poland, Oleg Loevski from Russia and Iranians Masoud Delkhah and Farrindokht Zahedi – honored “Hamlet” with two awards; German director Thomas Ostermeier received the Grand Prix of the festival and Lars Eidinger won the Best Actor Award. The play had three completely sold-out performances.

Photos: “Hamlet” directed by Thomas Ostermeier, Germany

Norway participated with a powerful performance of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” by Visjoner Teater, founded by Juni Dahr in 1988. The play was staged at a house and not at a theatre to allow the site specific artistic concept of this production. The shows were sold out, thus an extra performance was organized. Actress and artistic director Juni Dahr won in 2014 the Jury’s FITF Special Prize for “Ibsen Women”.

Photos: “Hedda Gabler” by Visjoner Teater, Norway

“The Shadow Game” written by Koichiro Iizuka and directed by Tatsuya Hasegawa from Japan’s Dazzle Dance Company took the stages by storm with four sold out shows at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall, leaving the audience breathless long after the actors have left the stage.

The play, about the clash between positive and negative energy to highlight the effects of the natural disasters in Japan, used a magnificent combination of street dance, electronic music, theater, elements of video games and anime plot with Japanese commentary all wrapped up in street and contemporary dance styles choreographed by Hasegawa himself. In 2012 Hasegawa’s “Misty Mansion” won the FITF Best Play Award.

Photos: “The Shadow Game” directed by Tatsuya Hasegawa, Japan

Hungary’s “Becoming Butterfly – Conspiracy” written and directed by Zsófia Bérczi, has taken the audience through an existential journey on the wings of imagination and visual aesthetics. There was something universal and deep about the play that made it connect with the audience no matter from which country and culture. “Human beings are not the most beautiful creation on earth, but they are the most beautiful dream of all creations on earth.” Bérczi also staged Living Surface at this year’s festival.

Photos: “Living Surface” and “Becoming a Butterfly – Conspiracy” directed by Zsófia Bérczi, Hungary

“Peregrinus” from Poland’s KTO Theater is a performance without dialogue, illustrated by music that depicts a single day in the life of an individual of the 21st century. The contemporary “Everyman”, whose life is “suspended” between home and work for a corporation, identifies his or her “pathway through life” as a “pathway to work”. Homo Peregrinus is a formatted human being, stripped of emotionality, predictable and bereft of individual characteristics. Perigrinus’s belongings can be packed in one piece of hand luggage.

Photos: “Peregrinus” from KTO Theater, Poland

“Katastrophe” and “A House in Asia” were presented by Agrupación Serrano, a Spanish theatre company that creates original productions based on stories drawn from contemporary times, blending stage performance, text, video, sound, and scale models to stage stories about discordant aspects of today’s human experience.

The FITF international section also included “Dance of Death B La La”, a joint Iranian-German production by Iranian director Yaser Khaseb from Crazy Body Group, “Body Revolution” by Belgium based Iraqi director Mokhallad Rasem, the monologue “Monsters” by Laurent Fraunie from France, Georgian “Me-Medea” written and directed by Salome Joglidze and more.

Photos: 34th Fajr International Theater Festival in Iran

Sources: Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, MNA 3, MNA 4, Tehran Times 1, Tehran Times 2, srserrano.com, na-weekly.com, fitf.theater.ir, tiwall.com | 34th FITF (in Persian), tiwall.com | Dance of Death B La La (in Persian), teatrktro.pl, Honar Online, swr.de, Facebook | Visjoner Teater, Instagram @crazybodygroup, IRNA, Facebook | Teatr KTO

Hossein Alizadeh: Iranian Grammy Award nominee tours Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Italy starting Feb 27

Alizadeh, Hossein - Iranian tar virtuosoIranian tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh is scheduled to tour Europe to perform a series of concerts entitled “The Art of Improvisation”.

Kamancheh player Saba, who is Alizadeh’s son, and tombak virtuoso Behnam Samani will accompany him during the tour, which will begin at the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Gothenburg, Sweden on February 27.

The group will then perform at the Hvidovre Main Library in Copenhagen, the most populated city in Denmark.

Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo, Norway, will be the next stop for the ensemble on March 1 and then the group will leave for Venice to perform at the Centro Culturale Candiani on March 6.

The tour will come to an end at San Luigi Guanella, a major theater in Rome, on March 7.

The concerts will offer an attractive combination of traditional Persian music with an amalgam of percussion and stringed indigenous Iranian instruments.

About Hossein Alizadeh:
Hossein Alizâdeh , is an Iranian composer, radif-preserver, researcher, teacher, and tar and setar instrumentalist and improviser, described by Allmusic as a leading Iranian classical composer and musician.

He has made numerous recording with prominent musicians including Shajarian, Nazeri, Madjid Khaladj, and Gasparyan, and is a member of the Musical group, Masters of Persian Music.

Alizadeh was born in 1951 in Tehran to Azeri and Persian parents. He graduated from the music conservatory in 1975 and entered the school of fine arts in the University of Tehran where he studied composition and Persian music. He continued his education at the Berlin University of the Arts in composition and musicology. He studied with various masters of Traditional Persian Music such as Houshang Zarif, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, Nur-Ali Borumand, Mahmoud Karimi, Abdollah Davami, Yusef Forutan, and Sa’id Hormozi. From these masters he learned the radif of Persian classical music.

Alizadeh has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia and has appeared on many radio and television programs, including Radio France, RIAS in Berlin, WDR in Cologne, the BBC, KCRW in Los Angeles, and KPFA in Berkeley. Some of Alizadeh’s most noted compositions are, The Nava Improvisations (1976), Riders of the Plains of Hope (1977), Hesar (1977), Revolt (1983) for harp, string orchestra, and percussion, NeyNava (1983), Dream (1986) for harp and flute, Torkaman (1986), Raz-O-Niaz (1986), and Song of Compassion (1991).

He has been nominated for the 2007 Grammy Award along with Armenian musician, Djivan Gasparyan, for their collaboration album, The Endless Vision. In 2008, he was voted as “Iran’s most distinguished musician of the year”.

Listen to his music on last.fm: http://www.last.fm/music/Hossein+Alizadeh

Sources: Tehran Times , Wikipedia | Hossein Alizadeh , Iran Chamber