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Enterprising Cineastes Honored at Fajr Film Festival

Enterprising Cineastes  Honored at Fajr Film Festival Enterprising Cineastes  Honored at Fajr Film Festival

The 36th Fajr Film festival opened on Thursday at Milad Tower’s Convention Hall in Tehran by honoring three veteran cineastes, Akbar Abdi, Manouchehr Esmaeili, and Mohammad Ali Najafi, and paying tribute to late film producer and publisher Ali Moallem, who passed away last March.

“We lost Ali Moallem but his wife Azar Memarian has proved that she continues on his path by organizing the ‘Hafez Celebration’ last year (in August),” host of the ceremony Ehsan Karami said.

Moallem organized 16 editions of the Hafez Celebration, Iran’s only private ceremony to award the best of TV and cinema annually since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Regarding the celebration, Moallem’s elder son Omid said, “I will never cease to continue on my father’s path”.

A graduate of cinema, Ali Moallem established Donya-ye-Tasvir (Picture World) magazine 26 years ago that soon became popular among film fans. Besides his journalistic activities, he produced several films including ‘Hemlock’ (2000), ‘The River’s End’ (2004), ‘Marriage, Iranian Style’ (2006) and ‘Aal’ (2010).

The opening ceremony continued by commending veteran director Mohammad Ali Najafi who was the first cinema official after the revolution.

Najafi, 72, has made 15 short, feature and documentary films as well as TV series. He directed the popular historical TV series ‘Sarbedaran’ in 1983.

Graphic designer Ebrahim Haqiqi and director of House of Cinema Manouchehr Shahsavari presented Najafi a commemoration plaque.

Next to be honored was voice actor Manouchehr Esmaeili for his distinguished services. Esmaeili, 85, began his career as voice actor when he was 18. He is known for his special talent in speaking for several characters in a single film. In the popular TV series ‘ Hezar Dastan’ (1978-1987) directed by Ali Hatemi, Esmaeli voiced four characters.

“When dubbing a foreign language film, Esmaeili was able to imitate the exact voice of the film’s character in Persian,” voice actor Abolhasan Tahami, 79, said about Esmaeili. “I have been honored to work with him for 60 years and learn a lot from him.”

  Most Versatile Artist

The last part of the event was honoring the popular actor Akbar Abdi. In nearly four decades, Abdi, 57, has played a variety of roles (mostly comedy) in over 50 TV series and 80 films.

Filmmaker Ahmadreza Motaemdi, 56, who cooperated with Abdi in his 2007 movie ‘Rule of the Game’ and has cast him for his new film ‘Misunderstanding, said, “with over 30 years of instructing cinema in my career, I can say with certainty that Abdi is the most versatile artist and most capable actor of Iran cinema”.

Filmmaker Masoud Dehnamaki presented the commemoration plaque to Abdi.

“I have been honored to work with great directors such as Nasser Taqvai, Davoud Mirbaqeri and Ali Hatami, and the only filmmaker I have collaborated with in six movies is Dehnamaki,” Abdi said.

Abdi played in Taqvai’s ‘Oh Iran’ in 1990, Hatami’s ‘Mother’ in 1991 and Mirbaqeri’s ‘Snowman’ in 1995.

The accomplished actor had a brilliant performance as a mentally-challenged person in ‘Mother’ for which he won his first Crystal Simorgh for the best supporting actor at the 8th Fajr Film Festival.

Referring to the film, Abdi said, “Manouchehr Esmaili put his voice on my character in the film which matched my acting. He made up for my deficiencies in the film and improved the quality of the role with his voice,” and added that it was a great honor for him to be commended at the same ceremony with Esmaili.

The annual Fajr Film Festival is underway in Tehran and some other provincial centers through February 11 with 25 films. Winners will be awarded the Crystal Simorgh (Iranian legendary bird) awards at the closing ceremony.

 

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