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Report on Iranian National Awards Ceremony for Documentary Films

With Tributes to Kiarostami and the Late Sarhangi, prizes for documentary films were awarded
The 15th ceremony for the presentation of prizes for documentary films was held with tribute programs for Bahman Kiarostami and the late Mohammad Reza Sarhangi.
On Saturday, September 3, Shams Hall was the venue for one of the independent ceremonies of the House of Cinema. The ceremony, attended by active members of the documentary cinema as well as feature films, was run by Alireza Shoja Noori.

Group wisdom brought about unity among documentary filmmakers: Pourahmad
Kiumars Pourahmad, secretary of the 15th National Awards ceremony stepped on the stage as the first speaker, and said: “There were objections, both respectfully and unceremoniously, by different groups to the organization of the documentary section of the ceremony. In consideration of the ceremony we kept silent so as not to intensify misunderstandings. About three hours ago an unsigned letter appeared on the Fars News Agency. And in my opinion the very fact that it was unsigned is the best proof for its unworthiness. Why should the letter be unsigned if there is any truth in it. The jury may provide further response if they deem it fit.”
He continued: “I wish to thank both documentary guilds associated to the House of Cinema, for they were able to reach unity through group wisdom. I suggest that the unity becomes organizational and that next year we will be dealing with a single documentary film guild, and as Mr. Kamal Tabrizi said during the short films ceremony, I hope that next year we will have an independent House of Cinema.”
Heidari Farouqi
Ramin Heidari Farouqi, coordinating manager of the documentary films ceremony, said about this edition of the ceremony: “The greatest and most important report on this edition of the ceremony is the fact that documentary filmmakers created documentaries and thus provided criticism of the society. 335 films provided ample opportunities for a group to select films. We all have our own special tastes and we should thank God for having created us each with his own special features and tastes. No one can gather a group who would be lauded by everyone. The selection committee and the jury did fine jobs. I am grateful to people who put their trust in us, and I hope that those who did not trust us will gain that trust.”
 Then Farhad Towhidi joined Heidari Farouqi to appreciate the efforts of Hamid Soheili, the coordinating manager of the previous edition of the ceremony.
Tribute to the late Sarhangi
 Part of the ceremony was devoted to the tribute program for the late Mohammad Reza Sarhangi. Fereshteh Taerpour and Morteza Razzaq Karimi stepped on the stage and presented the tribute plaque to Rozhan Sarhangi, daughter of the late Sarhangi.
Fereshteh Taerpour said to the daughter of the late Sarhangi: “It is not easy to talk about a whole collection of memories. Your father was always full of energy and a positive attitude. On `Golnar’ he had just returned from France and acted as the production manger of the film. He was never tired, neither in that year nor at any other time of his life.”
She continued: “Your father left behind the most valuable inheritance for you and the Iranian children. As a producer of films for children I am proud of this inheritance, and I hope that government authorities will some day provide opportunities for the films to be seen by everybody.”
Razzaq Karimi also talked about the late Sarhangi: “I met Mr. Sarhangi in 1993 through a friend at the Arts Bureau. He visited Dega film and we talked about several projects, including the project on the Iranian children series. Another instance of our cooperation occurred in 1999 during the establishment of the Association of Documentary Film Producers and his presence in the board of founders and the board of directors.”
He continued: “The late Sarhangi spared no efforts in the production of his films. He even sacrificed the well-being of his family for this purpose.”
Rozhan Sarhangi also read a short text on the collection of films “The Iranian Children” and expressed regret that the valuable collection has not yet left the sound laboratories of the national television.
Documentary filmmakers lead us from idealism to realism: Asgarpour
The managing director of the House of Cinema came forward as the next speaker and said: “I am grateful to the documentary film directors and producers who did their best to manage their independent ceremony in a short period. I also thank God that the unity formed in the past year helped to preserve the guilds unity as best as could be wished.”
Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour said: “After any momentous event in a society, which in our country could be the Islamic revolution and the 8-year war, an idealistic mood sets in. This can be observed in revolutions in all countries. After this idealistic period we enter a period of realism. Only societies that can make the transition from idealism to realism with the least extent of damage can be successful”
He remarked: “The elite in the society can help to minimize the hazards of the transition from idealism to realism in view of the opportunities provided for them by governments. Usually in countries with a significant film industry filmmakers perform a great role, and documentary filmmakers can perform the most effective role.”
The managing director of the House of Cinema said: “The provision of a suitable atmosphere by the government for the expression of different points of view can help greatly in reducing the wayward behavior in the passage from idealism to realism. This is quite different from the statement of a friend who said if you want to make a serious documentary film, make films about the provincial trips of the President. This is the most superficial way of looking at the issue.”
Presentation of two prizes
Then Aziz Saati and Shahabeddin Adel stepped on the stage and presented the diploma of honor for best camera work to Heshmat Narenji and Mohammad Nouri for the documentary “The Height of Hope”.
And Hassan Zahedi presented the diploma of honor for best sound to Mehrshad Malakouti for the documentary “Qamar Khanom’s House”.
Tribute to Kiarostami
Bahman Farmanara came forward for the tribute to Bahman Kiarostami, and Kiarostami who refused to stand in front of camera for the video clip about himself, kept silent on the stage and received the special medal of the Association of Documentary Filmmakers from Farmanara.
Farmanara also presented the prize for best editing to Bahman Kiarostami for the film “Veil Within Veil”, and said: “I am glad that contrary to the general rule in the national television where tributes are arranged only for those who are about to retire, the documentary films section of the ceremony has arranged a tribute program for a young filmmaker who seems to have inherited his talented father’s capabilities and can hopefully continue to work for many years to come.
Prize Presentations
Dr. Hojjat and Roya Teimourian stepped on the stage and presented the prize for best research to Orod Atapour and Saeed Malih for the documentary “The Persian Gulf”. Dr. Hojjat remarked that research is the connecting factor between the Utopian cinema and the reality.
Mohammad Reza Moqaddasian and Saeed Rashtian presented the statuette of merit and diploma of honor for best director of a short documentary to Hassan Naqashi for “Mehr”.  Referring to objections raised by some documentary filmmakers about the nominees for the ceremony, Naqashi said: “We should resolve differences among the guilds which could only make the adversaries happy.”
Farhad Varharam and Morteza Nedaee presented the prize for best short documentary to Zahra Marjani for the film “The Earth and the Vine”.
Kiumars Pourahmad and Houshang Golmakani presented the prize for best direction of medium-length documentary to Mohsen Ostad Ali for the documentary “We Get Used”, and Golmakani said: “I hope conditions will be provided for the public screening of documentary films, and I suppose documentary filmmakers should try to find out why this category of films can not have public screening.”
Ebrahim Mokhtari and Roya Nonahali presented the prize for best medium-length documentary film to Zeinab Tabrizi and Jamshid Khoshdel for “Kings of the Streets”. Mokhtari expressed the hope that the requirement of obtaining production license for documentary films will be lifted and that a special fund for support of documentary filmmaking will be created.
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Hossein Torabi presented the prize for best direction of a full-length documentary film to Aida Panahandeh for the film “Qamar Khanom’s House”, and Asgarpour and Haroun Yashayaee named “The Persian Gulf” produced by Orod Atapour as the best documentary of the ceremony.   





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