Cinéma Vérité pays tribute to scholar Akbar Alemi

December 20, 2020 - 19:9

TEHRAN – The 14th edition of Cinéma Vérité, Iran’s major international festival for documentary films, commemorated film scholar Akbar Alemi with a lifetime achievement award on Monday.

Alemi died of COVID-19 in October. He was 75.

Alemi was the dean of the Animation Department at Tehran’s Tarbiat Modares University. He was one of the pioneers of documentary making in the country and a proponent of modern methods in the documentary genre.

He helped revive academic cinema during the years that it was about to fade away in the country with his TV programs “Other Side of the Coin”, “Seventh Art” and “Beyond Cinema” during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He has written and translated many books and was active as a jury member of several Iranian and international film and animation festivals. 

Several friends and documentarians talked about Alemi at the ceremony.

Photographer and filmmaker Seifollah Samadian in his brief words about Alemi said that he always was completely ready to attend to the TV programs.

“There are many precious people in different art and cultural arenas in the country, but Alemi was one of whom many fields in art were proud, and many believed that part of the other activities are known through the name and appearance of Alemi,” Samadian said.

“I got to know that Alemi was the one who lived every moment of his 75 years of life in its real meaning during his research works, his teachings and even in his silence. Whatever I have learned from him I teach the young filmmakers and photographers. The first thing I tell them is that they must first get to know themselves, and believe that no one can take their place, and that they cannot take the place of others,” Samadian said. 

“He avoided any jealousy in his works, he was serious in everything and participated actively in whatever he did,” he added.

Veteran graphic designer Ebrahim Haqiqi was the next to talk about Alemi, calling it a bitter occasion to talk about friends after their death.

“It was a bad year; we lost our dear ones one after the other. All those who knew the cinema of Iran knew that Alemi was one of the unique ones,” Haqiqi said.

He always was a modest person though he had a vast knowledge while trying to say that knowledge is learnable,” Haqiqi said. 

“Our pain in losing Alemi is that we can’t replace such a great man. But we must know that he, like any great artist, will never die,” he concluded.

The award was presented to his family at the end of the ceremony.

The organizers have so far honored several documentarians including Farshad Fadaian, Mahvash Sheikholeslmai and Khosrow Sinai.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Cinéma Vérité is being held entirely online, and the programs are available on Filimo, TVA and Hashure, the Iranian platforms providing video on demand (VOD) service for films.

Every day, several films are being introduced during the event, while a number of top Iranian and international documentarians and critics are holding online workshops and panel discussions. 

The Documentary and Experimental Film Center (DEFC) is the main organizer of the event.

The festival will be running totally online until December 22.

Photo: Film expert Akbar Alemi in an undated photo. (ISNA/Mona Hubefekr) 


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