It may be one of the world's most elusive countries, but thanks to film art, people now have a sneal peek into Iran.
The upcoming 26th edition of the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) will pay tribute to one of the greatest storytellers the Islamic Republic have produced.
The festival will confer acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf with an honorary award in recognition of his lifelong dedication and contribution to cinema. And as part of the programme, there will be a retrospective of his works.
“Makhmalbaf’s films have been a regular feature in the history of SGIFF, with 'Gabbeh' opening the festival in 1997, and 'Kandahar' in 2002,” said SGIFF executive director, Yuni Hadi.
“His unyielding efforts in conveying the untold stories of a region through film, in honest and profound ways, are unmatched,” she noted. “We celebrate and pay tribute to his perseverance, fervour and conviction as both artist and advocate, and strongly believe that he will inspire future generations of filmmakers to continue telling our Asian story.”
Festival chairman Mike Wiluan said Makhmalbaf is "a man who has used cinema profoundly as a tool to create change and convey hope".
The festival honoured Korean filmmaker Im Kwon-taek during its 2014 edition.
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Born in Tehran in 1957, Mohsen Makhmalbaf has directed more than 20 feature films since 1983, and is known as one of the most influential filmmakers and founders of the new wave of Iranian cinema in the world today.
Many of his films have been well-received across the globe, earning him more than 50 international awards from prestigious film festivals such as Cannes, Venice and Locarno. His film 'Kandahar' has been chosen as one of the top 100 best movies in the history of cinema by Time magazine.
The Iranian government has banned Makhmalbaf's works and has threatened his safety over the years. Since leaving Iran in 2005 in protest against the pressure of censorship, he is now based in London and Paris.
The SGIFF Honorary Award will be presented at the Silver Screen Awards at Marina Bay Sands on 5 December 2015.
The showcase of his works will include his latest feature, 'The President' (2014), about the life of a dictator and his six-year-old grandson as they flee from revolutionaries; and award-winning films 'The Cyclist' (1987), 'Salam Cinema' (1994), 'Gabbeh' (1995) and 'A Moment of Innocence' (1995).
At Makhmalbaf's masterclass, he will share his personal experiences in filmmaking and his constant attempts to reinvent its form. This will be preceded by a screening of the documentary, 'Daddy’s School, by Hassan Solhjo'o, about Makhmalbaf and his family’s film school.
The 10-day festival runs from 26 November to 6 December, taking place across various venues, including Marina Bay Sands.
Other screening venues are National Museum of Singapore, Shaw Theatres Lido, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, The Projector and The Substation.
Ticket sales for SGIFF will begin end-October 2015.