“Questioning” drama “The Guard” named best at Ammar Popular Film Festival

January 13, 2023 - 19:6

TEHRAN – “The Guard”, a telefilm whose producers claim is questioning about people’s social and political rights, has been picked as best at the 13th Ammar Popular Film Festival.

Directed by Hamid Bayat, the story of the film revolves around the problems coming after a security guard at a funfair decides to declare his candidacy for membership in the city council.       

The closing ceremony of the festival, which was launched in 2010 to honor revolutionary films, was held at Tehran’s Felestin Cinema on Thursday.

“Asma” directed by Mostafa Aqmohammadlu was selected as best short. The film tells the story of a renowned nurse who makes sacrifices to bring back a newborn to life.  

No winner was announced for the TV series category, while “Mr. Judge” by Sajjad Mehregan was awarded an honorable mention.

This series portrays some true legal cases on public issues fictionalized by 12 young screenwriters.    

The Lantern for best documentary went to “New Jersey” by Ali Zoheiri.

Several other films were also awarded in the sideline section of the festival, which also paid tribute to its former president, Nader Talebzadeh, who died in April 2022. 

“Hajji Nader was the sole person I knew in my life, whose behavior was more eloquent than his words,” new festival president Edgardo Robin, who is an Argentinean Muslim cleric, said in a short speech after calling Talebzade his “spiritual father”.

He also described Talebzadeh as a “charismatic figure” who could even attract people, which were against him ideologically. 

The festival also honored filmmaker Jamal Shurjeh, who is suffering from a brain disease.

“I was once one of Mr. Shurjeh’s disciples. When he was working I was his second assistant, and aside from filmmaking, I was learning lessons on faith, morality, and sacrifice from him,” said Cinema Organization of Iran director Mohammad Khazaei.

“We pray for his health and hope he would return to work; he is a role model for those in younger generation, who are working in the revolution’s cinema,” he added.

Sitting in his wheelchair, Shurjeh thanked the organizers and said, “I hope the festival would take in all the world, and Iranian cinema would enjoy a lofty international status so that other countries envy us.” 

Shurjeh is most famous for his movies on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, however, he was selected for his collaboration as an assistant director in “The Men of Angelos” and “Prophet Joseph (AS)”.

He is also the director of “33 Days”, a film on the Israeli 33-Day War of 2006 against Lebanon, and “Ahmed Bey” about the last Ottoman Bey who ruled Algiers during the 19th century.

Photo: Director Jamal Shurjeh (C) accepts an award for his lifetime achievement during the 13th Ammar Popular Film Festival at Tehran’s Felestin Cinema on January 12, 2023. (Mehr/Saeidreza Razavi)


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