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Students honor veteran documentarian Kamran Shirdel
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Kamran Shirdel addresses the audience during a ceremony held in Tehran on May 31, 2014 to commemorate the documentarian. Filmmaker Kianush Ayyari is also seen in the photo. (ISNA/Mohammadreza Nadimi)
Kamran Shirdel addresses the audience during a ceremony held in Tehran on May 31, 2014 to commemorate the documentarian. Filmmaker Kianush Ayyari is also seen in the photo. (ISNA/Mohammadreza Nadimi)
TEHRAN -- Veteran documentarian Kamran Shirdel, who is mostly known for “The Women’s Quarter” and “Tehran Is the Capital of Iran”, was honored Saturday for his lifetime achievements during the closing ceremony of the 11th Nahal Student Short Film Festival in Tehran.
 
The ceremony was hosted by student Bahram Omrani, who said that it was hard for the organizers to convince Shirdel to hold the commemoration.
 
“However, he finally agreed after he learned that students are the main organizers of the festival,” Omrani said.
 
Filmmakers Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Kianush Ayyari and a number of other veteran cineastes joined the students at the ceremony, which was held at Eyvan Shams Hall.
 
“Shirdel taught me how to look at issues in context,” Bani-Etemad said in a short speech.
 
“I cannot recall any works by Shirdel… but I learned from him not to imitate anyone in filmmaking,” Ayyari stated.
 
Afterwards, Shirdel, 75, came on the stage and said, “All the remarks mentioned about me are just compliments.”
 
“Anyway, I should say that this night is very important for me,” he added.
 
The New York-based Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi also sent an audio message to the ceremony.
 
“Kamran Shirdel is one of the pioneers of modern cinema in Iran, and in my opinion, he is also one of its victims. He is someone who has thought about cinema every waking moment, but he has not been given the opportunity to work,” Naderi said.
 
He added that if Shirdel didn’t make all things he wanted, but he trained many filmmakers.
 
“He opened my eyes to modern art and I owe a great deal to him,” Naderi stated.
 
The ceremony went on with the screening of a video about Shirdel’s “Women’s Prison” (1965), “Tehran Is the Capital of Iran” (1966-1979), “The Women’s Quarter” (1966–1980), and “The Night It Rained” (1967–1974). 
 
Since the mid-1960s, Shirdel has made bold documentary films that address everyday issues of his native Iran, influencing an entire generation of contemporary Iranian filmmakers. 
 
He was originally hired as a filmmaker for the Ministry of Culture and Art under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in the 1960s, but over the decades his films have at times been banned, censored and confiscated.
  
MMS/YAW
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