Art and Experience:  The Cinema Cinema Academy, Iran’s first private film academy based in Tehran, has launched the Mehrgiah annual awards, which can be considered to be the Iranian equivalent of the Oscars.

The first edition of the awards was held at Tehran’s Enqelab Hotel on Sunday evening.

“Love caused such a gathering to be organized,” the 67-year-old filmmaker Kianush Ayyari, who is the founder and director of the academy, said at the beginning of the awards ceremony.

“This celebration has been organized independently in order to show its love for cinema,” he added.

The organizers have named the award “Mehrgiah” (mandrake), which is considered to be a mythical plant and the symbol of fertility, love and unity in Iranian culture. The award made of bronze represents a mandrake with five leaves placed on a rock-shaped stand.

The first of the new honor was presented to the U.S.-based Iranian director Amir Naderi, who could not attend the ceremony.

In his brief speech about Naderi, documentarian Mohammdreza Aslani praised Naderi for his great steady progress and said, “Amir Nader can be a well-established role model for the young generation of Iranian filmmakers.”

Veteran writer Mahmud Dowlatabadi called Naderi energetic and praised him for his diligence. “He has come from the depths of society and I like his films,” he added.

The Mehrgiah for best film was awarded to “Subdued” by director Hamid Nematollah who was also named best director for the film.

“Amir Naderi had said that five persons would be filmmakers following his ‘The Runner’,” said Nematollah and added, “It is a great honor for me that I am one of the five.”

Comedy actor Reza Attran was named as the Leading Figure of the Year, which was selected by journalists’ votes.

The award for best screenplay went to “No Date, No Signature” co-written by Vahid Jalilvand and Ali Zarnegar.

Jalilvand who is also the director of the film said, “I dedicate this award and the souls of other awards that have been won to Davud Kianian who is not allowed to produce a work. It’s a pity that the country, and especially our children, is deprived of his theatrical performances.”

Navid Mohammadzadeh was picked as best actor for his role in “No Date, No Signature” and Leila Hatami won the award for best actress for her role in “Subdued”.

Ehsan Biglari received the award for best first-director film for “My Brother, Khosro”.

“Finding Farideh” co-directed by Azadeh Musavi and Kurosh Atai won the award for best documentary and “Animal” co-directed by the Ark brothers, Bahman and Bahram, was crowned best short film.

Over 100 films produced over the past year were judged by a jury of 60 cineastes and films critics, who are from the members of the academy.

Source: Tehran Times