Director Majid Majidi named Cinema Department’s president at Iranian Academy of Arts

May 18, 2021 - 18:46

TEHRAN – Oscar-nominated Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi has been selected as the director of the Cinema Department at the Iranian Academy of Arts (IAA).

The decision to appoint Majidi to the department was made during IAA director Bahman Namvar-Motlaq’s recent meeting with the filmmaker, the IAA announced on Tuesday.

Majidi replaced Mohammad-Mehdi Heidarian, former director of the Cinema Organization of Iran.

Majidi’s “Children of Heaven” earned Iran’s first Oscar nomination in 1999 and his “The Song of Sparrows” was nominated for a Golden Bear award for best film at the Berlin film festival in 2008. Reza Naji won the festival’s Silver Bear for best actor for his role in the film.

His latest child labor drama “Sun Children” was Iran’s submission to the foreign-language film category at the 93rd Academy Awards. However, it failed to receive a nomination to the shortlist.

The movie had its Iranian premiere during the 38th Fajr Film Festival in Tehran in February 2020, garnering the Crystal Simorghs for best film, script and set design.

Numerous international events, including the 77th Venice Film Festival, have also screened the movie. The festival honored the film’s star Ruhollah Zamani with the Marcello Mastroianni Award. 

The 33rd International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Isfahan also awarded Majidi as best director and Zamani as best actor.

He is the director of the controversial movie “Muhammad (S), the Messenger of God” about the childhood of the Prophet of Islam (S).

Majidi made “Beyond the Clouds” in India. The film, which is set in the slums of Mumbai, represented India at several international film festivals.

New director at IAA

On March 9, President Hassan Rouhani selected Namvar-Motlaq, a comparative literature graduate of Blaise Pascal University in France, to helm the IAA as a new director of the academy, which was established in 1998 “to safeguard national Islamic art and cultural heritage.” 

He is also the dean of the Farshchian University of Iranian-Islamic Arts established by the Islamic Azad University in 2018.

Earlier last week, he also appointed actor Ali Nasirian to the IAA Drama and Dramatic Literature Department.       

Photo: Director Majid Majidi in an undated photo.

MMS/YAW

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