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Report on the 4th Independent Ceremony of the Short Films Association

At the 4th independent ceremony of the Short Films Association of the House of Cinema, held in Shams Hall, top works of the year were announced and tributes were paid to three filmmakers. 
As the first of the five events of the 15th Iranian Cinema National Awards Ceremony of the House of Cinema, the Short Films Association’s ceremony was staged in the presence of a large group of Iranian filmmakers, especially those active in the short films field and winners in the various categories were awarded prizes on Tuesday, August 30.  Artists honored during the ceremony were Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Shahabad Hussein and Negara Javaherian.
Asgarpour symbolizes the independence of the House of Cinema: Pourahmad
The ceremony began by Amir Shahab Razavian, a veteran member of the Short films Association, and then Kiumars Pourahmad, secretary of the 15th  Iranian Cinema National Awards Ceremony, stepped on the stage as the first speaker and said: “our special thanks goes to Mr. Shamsian and Novin Orafa Company who helped the House of Cinema to withstand the cultural assaults of the government sector, and to Mr. Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour who has become the symbol of the House of Cinema’s independence.”
He appreciated the efforts of Maziar Miri and the policy-making council of the Cinema National Awards Ceremony, and said: “As regards the jury’s decision we should keep in mind that the evaluation of the jury is not final and no worthy film that may have been ignored will remain unrecognized and unworthy works that may have received prizes can not withstand further considerations.”
Pourahmad continued by comparing short films with quatrain poems and emphasized that short film making should not be considered as merely a way of entering professional cinema.

All independent filmmakers create short films: Barzegar
Majid Barzegar, secretary of the Short Films Academy and coordinating manager of the ceremony began his speech by offering statistics on film submissions to this edition of the ceremony: “A total of 349 films were submitted to the Academy which were viewed by 14 filmmakers in two weeks, and 51 works were selected for the competition. At this stage 61 jurors who are members of the Academy, evaluated the films.”
He continued: “We believe short films should be considered important because they are in effect part of the superior film art. A survey of the first films reveals that a new generation of filmmakers is emerging. Therefore, this cinema requires to be watched and supported.”
Barzegar said: “I wish to thank especially Farhad Towhidi and Amir Ali Alaee, who did a lot to launch the Academy of Short Films. I am also grateful to the board of directors of the House of Cinema and the jury of the Academy. Maziar Miri and Kiumars Pourahmad also deserve our especial thanks for providing all that we needed. We believe all short film makers are bold and enterprising spirits and worry about the Iranian cinema.”

Best Performance and Set Design Prizes
Amir Esbati and Merila Zarei stepped on the stage to present prizes for best performance and set design. Zarei named Majid Bahrami as best performer for the film “In Less Than a Few Minutes”. As Bahrami is currently in Germany for cancer treatment, his prize was presented to one of his colleagues who read a message from Bahrami: “In less than a few minutes many things could happen, earthquake, tsunami, cancer… but only love and life could act as antidotes for any bitterness. Soon I will return, from an acting class which cancer has taught me.”
Esbati presented the best set and costume design prize to Reza Qaderifar for the film  “Time”. Then Merila Zarei congratulated Amir Esbati on his birthday.

Tribute to two performers
Amir Shahab Razavi talked about the late Peyman Abadi and then asked Bizhan Mir Baqeri and Barzegar to come forward for the tributes. Negar Javaherian was honored as an exceptional performer.
After receiving the plaque of honor, Javaherian said: “I am glad to be among you, as this assures me that independent short filmmaking is alive. I am glad to be standing on the stage on which Ms. Bani-Etemad will be stepping.”
The other actor to be honored was Shahab Hosseini who said: “I acted in `An Hour Ago’ because I had faith in the director and his idea. If ever again I have faith in any director and his idea I will be delighted to appear in a short work.”
Our most important duty is to preserve ourselves and our colleagues: Asgarpour
The managing director of the House of Cinema began his speech with the following words: “I congratulate you and the other members of the family of filmmakers who are not here tonight for your resistance during the past year. The miscalculation in the strength of the House of Cinema created hardships, but it also made us aware of our capabilities.”
Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour continued: “For that reason we have to thank God and, ironically, those who acted against us for they made us realize our strength. Our most important duty is to preserve ourselves, our colleagues and friends so that they will not encounter such dreadful hardships.”
He continued: “During the period we had a lot of downfalls and a lot of growth. The important thing is to find out who fell down and who grew. It is the quality of these processes that is important. In the past year some were seriously involved in the problems of the House of Cinema, and some provided hearty support which was unprecedented since the revolution. I have often said to the friends who talked and acted against the House of Cinema not to go to the extent which would make it difficult for them to face filmmakers in the future.”

Presentation of four prizes
The ceremony continued with the presentation of prizes in different categories. Christof Zaee and Masoud Behnam stepped on the stage to present prizes for best sound and music. The diploma of honor for best musical score was presented to Milad Movahedi for “Mr. Mozaffari’s Relatively Normal Life” and Bamdad Afshar received diploma of honor for best sound for the film “Newsif”.
Abbas Ganjavi and Mohammad Reza Moini presented the prize for best editing to Mojtaba Esmailzadeh for “Newsif”. After receiving his prize Esmailzadeh talked in memory of Asghar Shahverdi the sound recordist who has been suffering ill health for several years.
In a short speech Ganjavi said: “Everything in this country, especially the young people are wonderful, but we filmmakers have to be careful about where we are stepping to make sure we don’t fall in a trap. Something has happened and when I looked about me I witnessed a sad landscape. One sad event is the fact that Rakhshan Bani-Etemad can’t make films anymore while her film `Nargess is still as fresh as raindrops. There are people who should have been here tonight: Motamed-Aria, Golab Adineh, Ezzatollah Entezami.”
Seifollah Samadian and Omid Rohani also presented the prize of best camera work to Ashkan Ashkani for the film “I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere”.
I am glad I am a member of the Short Films Association: Bani-Etemad
Naser Taqvai and Jafar Panahi were invited to the stage by Amir Shahab Razavian to present the ASIFA Medal to Rakhshan Bani-Etemad.
In her speech Bani-Etemad said: “I have to thank the short films association for having accepted my application for membership. I am delighted to be considered as worthy of receiving this medal. I am glad to be with Naser Taqvai and Jafar Panahi, and I would have been happier if Panahi could make films.”
She continued: “ I would still be happier if the film authorities thought about the fact that the unique filmmaker Naser Taqvai has not been making films for several years. And happier still if misunderstandings about Marziyeh Vafamehr were dispelled and her hard days would end.”
Panahi, however, only said that he could say nothing in the presence of two great people of the cinema. Concerning Bani-Etemad, Taqvai said: “In our youthful filmmaking days we often wished there was a lady filmmaker in the country. We had pinned our hopes on Forough Farrokhzad and her `The House Is Black’ but that did not materialize. The next generation, however, has Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, a first rate lady filmmaker.”

Request for the restoration of Uncle Napoleon’s house and the presentation of other prizes
Razavian requested Tehran municipality to restore Uncle Napoleon’s house in which Taqvai had shot his durable TV series and Parvin Etesami’s home.
Farhad Towhidi and Fereshteh Taerpour presented the prize for best script to Anahita Qazvinizadeh for the film “Released”, and Mohammad Esmaili received the statuette of high quality and diploma of honor for best experimental film for “Newsif” from Kamal Tabrizi and Houshang Golmakani.  In a short speech Tabrizi said: “Independent filmmaking is the title deserving of the short films. It means independence from everything. Many of the rules we encounter in the professional cinema were first discovered in the short films. I hope we can some day add the adjective to the title of House of Cinema.”
Golmakani called Esmaili a competent filmmaker who will become an important figure in the Iranian cinema.
Kiumars Pourahmad and Homayoun As’adian presented the prize for best short feature film to Naser Zamiri for the film “Bitter Milk”,  and Asgarpour and Gholamreza Mousavi presented the statuette of the best film of the 4th short film ceremony to Anahita Qazvinizadeh for “When Children Were Children”.



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