Art And Culture

‘Mobarak’ in French Annecy Festival

‘Mobarak’ in French Annecy Festival
‘Mobarak’ in French Annecy Festival

The Iranian animated film ‘Mobarak’ directed and produced by Ali Najafi Emami with Elnaz Shakerdoost in the lead role has been selected for the 2016 Annecy International Animated Film Festival (AIAFF) in France.

“The animation is a blend of realism and animatronics, a dual work of modernity and tradition, and is among the few Iranian films with this technique,” Mehr News Agency quoted Emami as saying.

The film is an effort to introduce the culture, art, and history of Persian literature through the mythical characters of the national epic ‘Shahnameh’ (literally the Book of Kings, a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE) and “can be a good medium to promote Persian culture on the international stage.”

“I have been in children’s animation field for 18 years, and I planned for this production to be on par with animation films in Hollywood,” he said.

Mythical characters so far have not been properly portrayed in most works. Rakhsh (horse of Shahnameh’s epic hero Rostam) and ‘Mobarak’ (the traditional herald of the Iranian New Year or Nowruz who often appears in Iranian puppet show ‘Siah Bazi’) materialize in the animation as they try to rescue Rostam when he is abducted by the ghouls.


Emami was inspired with the idea in 2013 “by the joyful and dynamic character” of the late Sadi Afshar (renowned Iranian Siah Bazi performer) and started shooting in 2014.

“Initially, the protagonist was supposed to be a boy, but Shakerdoost connected with the animated characters so profoundly that I decided to have her play the lead role,” he said.

On how much support the animation received at the Fajr International Film Festival, the director said “Mobarak was nominated in both national and international categories, but neither was helpful in accrediting the film.”

AIAFF was looking forward to having the film this year, but it will participate in the next year’s edition since it was still going through the production process. The motion picture will be locally screened as of September 2015 concurrent with the start of the new school year.