After the United States, Iran boasted the highest number of officially-selected films in the 2016 Atlas Awards International Film Festival. Out of the nine Iranian films selected for the festival, three received Atlas Awards this past weekend:
- The Atlas Award for Best Cinematography was awarded to The Story of a Rainy Night (directed by Mehdi Fard Ghaderi) for the work of Aref Namvar.
- Saman Hosseinpuor won his second Atlas Award for Best Director, becoming the only filmmaker to win the award two years in a row — and the only filmmaker to win multiple Atlas Awards in multiple years.
- The Atlas Aeris Prize for the year’s best film of any genre went to Angels Die in the Soil by Babak Amini. It is the first international film to win the prize.
Short films from Iran selected for the festival ranged greatly in subject from the quiet psychological mystery of Ghaderi’s The Story of a Rainy Night to the playfulness of Hosseinpuor’s Autumn Leaves and Fish and the innocent imaginings of children depicted by Zahra Jafari in The First Smile After and Touch of the Rain. Amini’s Angels Die in the Soil, Ali Erfan Farhadi’s I, You, We, and Teymour Ghaderi’s Hug featured darker themes: the shadow of war, childhood innocence juxtaposed with environmental degradation, life juxtaposed with death. And Abbas Rafei’s narrative feature Oblivion Season, which features as its lead actress Sareh Bayat — recipient of the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011 for her role in Asghar Farhadi’s acclaimed A Separation — followed the travails of a former sex worker in present-day Tehran whose story offers criticism and hope for a changing Iran. ■
For the full 2016 festival schedule with film synopses, visit this year’s festival page.
For more information about the Atlas Awards, visit our Awards page.