“Standing in the Dust” wins best film award at Fajr festival

February 13, 2016

TEHRAN -- “Standing in the Dust”, a biopic on Iranian commander Ahmad Motevasselian who was kidnapped by the Zionist regime in 1982 in Lebanon, won the Crystal Simorgh for best film at the 34th Fajr Film Festival, the organizers announced on Thursday.

Producer Habib Vaalinejad was not able to attend the closing ceremony, which was held at Tehran’s Milad Tower. One of his colleagues received the award on his behalf and read his message, in which he stated that he wished to watch the movie with Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani, a high-ranking military advisor with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), who was martyred in October during a mission in Syria.

The film’s director/writer Mohammad-Hossein Mahdavian was also presented with the special jury award in the New Look section, which is dedicated to debut films and second directorial films.

In his acceptance speech, Mahdavian thanked his parents and wife and said that the Iranian cinema community should acknowledge filmmakers like Ebrahim Hatamikia, whose political drama “Bodyguard” was competing in the festival.

“Standing in the Dust” is about the life story of Motevasselian who along with his colleagues, Mohsen Musavi and Taqi Rastegar-Moqaddam, and photojournalist Kazem Akhavan was kidnapped by Israelis in 1982 in Lebanon.

The organizers paid a tribute to Motevasselian, but members of his family declined to appear on the stage in protest against producing the biopic with any consultation with them.

Saeid Rustai was picked as best director for his debut film “Life+1 Day”, a story about poverty and drug abuse. He also received the Crystal Simorgh for best screenwriter. The film also won the audience award.

He expressed his thanks to producer Saeid Malekan and added, “The first step was taken after Mr. Malekan put his trust in us, because the screenplay was written two years ago, but no producer even agreed to read it.”

Starring Peyman Moaadi, Parinaz Izaryar, “Life+1 Day” is about a lower-class family suffering from drug addiction and poverty in a deprived neighborhood in Tehran.

The movie brought Izaryar the Crystal Simorgh for best actress and Navid Mohammadzadeh the Crystal Simorgh for best supporting actor.

Izaryar, who was very excited by the award, said, “I am so thrilled that I am afraid of dropping my Simorgh.”

Mohammadzadeh took his place behind the microphone and left there a moment later without saying a word.

Best actor award went to Parviz Parastui for his role in “Bodyguard”.

“I dedicate this award first to [director] Hatamikia and then to the five luminaries of Iranian cinema, Ezzatollah Entezami, Ali Nasirian, Jamshid Mashayekhi, Mohammad-Ali Keshavarz and Davud Rashidi, who are not present at this ceremony,” Parastui said after accepting his award.

Shabnam Moqaddami received the best supporting actress award for her roles in “Breathe” by Narges Abyar and “Spare” by Borzu Nikneajd.

She also dedicated her award to the soul of his father, who died last year.

The special jury award in the official section was presented to Hooman Seyyedi for his “Fury and Furor”.

“A157”, Iran’s Soureh Pictures Company’s powerful documentary directed by Behruz Nuranipur about three Kurdish girls who became pregnant after being raped by members of ISIS, was crowned best documentary.

The Crystal Simorgh for best documentarian went to Mehrdad Oskui for “Daybreak Dreams”, on juveniles at an Iranian detention center.

“Holy List” directed by Mohammad-Amin Hamedani received the Crystal Simorgh for best animation.

In the Art and Experience Cinema section, which are dedicated to art films, the Crystal Simorgh for best film went to “Wednesday” by Sorush Mohammadzadeh.

Following is the list of other winners:

Best editor: Bahram Dekqani for “Life+1 Day”.

Best director of cinematography: Peyman Shadman for “Fury and Furor”.

Best makeup artist: Saeid Malekan for “Life+1 Day”.

Best set and costume designer: Mohammadreza Shojai for “Standing in the Dust”.

Best composer: Mohammadreza Aqili for “Mina’s Choice” and “Daughter”.

Best sound engineer: MOhammadreza Delpak for “Lanturi”.

Best practical special effects supervisor: Iman Karamian for “Standing in the Dust”.

Best computerized special effects supervisor: Seyyed Hadi Eslami for “Bodyguard”.

Photo: Saeid Rustai holds the Crystal Simorgh for best director for his debut about poverty and drug abuse “Life+1 Day” during the closing ceremony of the 34th Fajr Film Festival at Tehran’s Milad Tower on February 11, 2016. (IRNA/Mehdi Ebrahimi)