"Makhmalbaf Film House"
In early 1996, Samira Makhmalbaf left ordinary school to study cinema. Learning cinema from the available universities was the worst option. Iranian universities have rarely been successful in teaching cinema, as none of the famous and important filmmakers ever graduated from such schools. Forough Farrokhzad who made "Home is black" ("Khaneh Siah Ast"), the female poet who passed away at the age of 30 and made in my opinion the best Iranian film having effected the contemporary Iranian cinema, never went to a college to study cinema. Amir Naderi made the important films of "The Runner" and "Water, Wind, Dust" never went to college. He started in photography and the college he attended was the "difficulties of life". Kiarostami studied Graphic Arts. Mehrjui studied philosophy and Beyzayi never went to any college to learn. The days others spend in college, I spent in jail as a political prisoner. Thus, to train filmmakers, some other school was need, which we established: The Makhmalbaf Film School.
With 14 feature film, 3 short films, 28 books and 22 film editings, I was the most active Iranian filmmaker at that time. My mind was full of ideas, and my heart bursting from the thrill of creation. Having just finished making "A Moment of Innocence", my favorite film, I stopped working and spent four years on teaching the arts of cinema. Instead of creating films, I was going to create filmmakers.
I informed the Iranian ministry of culture of my plans to accept 100 students of cinema through a selection exam, and to use new methods to train them for 4 years. But the ministry of culture of the time did not accept. They feared the generation of a new wave of young filmmakers making films in favor of democracy, thus officially announced that one dangerous filmmaker like me was enough for one country and that one hundred others like me were not needed. As an example, they expressed that if the human population (claiming to be movie fans) who striked in the "Salam Cinema" were to be trained as filmmakers, there would be no way to keep the Iranian Cinema in control. And so we established the Makhmalbaf Film School with eight of my family and friends, and having no place to make a school, used our own house as school.
The school lasted 8 hours a day, which sometimes extended to as long as 16 hours. The oldest student was one of my friends who later filmed "The Apple" and "The Door". The youngest one was Hana, my eight year old daughter.
Our curriculum was not limited to cinema, it also included parts life and art. For example in sports, it consisted of cycling, swimming and skating. A filmmaker needs to be physically strong. From everyday life, we instructed on driving, traveling alone outside the country, urban navigation, cooking, computer science, and foreign language, as a filmmaker needs methods of communication. The following were subjects were also included: From other arts, an introduction to painting, photography, poetry and music, and from cinema, Film Economics, Production Programming, Screenplay Writing, Acting, Camera Operation (Filming), Editing, Sound Mix, Decoupage, History of Cinema, and Film Analysis.
Our method of training included focusing on one subject every month. For example, we would only skate and ride bicycles for eight hours a day and for one month so by the end of the month, every single student, even eight year old Hana, could easily cycle for a distance of 50 kilometers. Later, we would spend a month only flipping pages of painting books, introducing students to the painting styles used all over the world. We would spend a month on the local Iranian music, introducing students to the most primal tones of different Iranian regions. Four months would be spent behind the editing table, learning how to edit films. So, a minimum of one month with a minimum of 8 hours per day would be concentrated on each subject. During this period of 4 years, several films were produced as practical training. Marziyeh, my wife, made a three-episode film titled "The day I became a woman". Samira made "The Apple" and "The Blackboard". Maysam who majored in Photography and Editing, handled the still photography of "The Apple", "The Silence", "The Blackboard", and "The day I became a woman" while editing two short films: "The Door" and the first episode of "The day I became a woman" and making a video production about Samira and her filmmaking which he titled "How Samira made The Blackboard". Hana used the video camera to make a short film titled "The day my aunt was ill". And they all experienced being an assistant director in "The Silence" which I directed. As all these films were produced in an office that was none other than our house, "Makhmalbaf Film House" was named as the producer of these titles. In fact, the "Makhmalbaf Film House" is the production department of the "Makhmalbaf Film School". In one house, we established both a school and a film production company, but further strikes of fate awaited this house. "A Moment of Innocence" was detained by the government. This was the first film I produced by taking a loan and I had promised to sell my house to pay the debts, was the film to be detained. And that's what happened. The ministry of culture told me to cut out some of the scenes if I wanted the film to go to the screens. I went home and discussed the matter with my family, I asked them if they preferred owning a house, or our own thought and art? One option was to let "A Moment of Innocence" be cut to pieces, as our thought and art would be, yet be the owners of a house. Another option was to sell the house and return the debt my film had caused, let the film be permanently detained, but not cut into pieces and lost its meaning and sense. All member of my family, including Hana who was the youngest one, said they didn't want the house and that owning the name would suffice. And that we would use the name of the house from that moment on, to title all our productions. That is how we sold the "Makhmalbaf House", product of 15 years of our filmmaking and writing, to choose the name of "Makhmalbaf Film House" as our only asset at the time as well as our permanent mark. From the mentioned school, one student graduated as a Cameraman, another as a Sound Recordist, one as a Set Designer, three as Directors, and one as a Still Photographer and an Editor.
June 7, 2000
A retrospective of Makhmalbaf Film House in Festivals :
1) Pusan International Film Festival, South Korea 2000.
2) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA 2000.
3) Moscow International Film Festival, Russia 2001.
4) City of London 2002
5) National Gallery and American film institute, USA 2002
6) Osian's - Cinefan, the Asian Film Festival, India 2004
7) Retrospective of Makhmalbaf Film House in House of cinema in Bishkek, kyrgyzstan, 2005
8) Yerevan Film Festival, Armenia, 2006
9) Munich Film Festival, Germany, 2006
10) Europe Asia Film Festival, kazakhstan, 2006
11) Tiblis Film Festival, Gorgia, 2006
Makhmalbaf Family International Awards:
1. The prize of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA 2000 for the presentation of the first Ilex Prize for excellence and innovation in cinema.
2. The Cyclist: Best Film - Rimini Festival (Italy) 1989.
3. The Cyclist: Best Film - Hawaii Festival (USA) 1991.
4. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Film - Taormina Festival (Italy) 1992.
5. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Film - Karlovy vary Festival (Czechoslovakia) 1992.
6. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Film - Fiprachi Critics - Karlovy vary Festival (Czechoslovakia) 1992.
7.Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Best Director - Karlovy vary Festival (Czechoslovakia) 1992.
8. Once Upon a Time, Cinema: Special Jury Prize - Istanbul Festival (Turkey) 1993.
9. Collection of Works: Press Award - Sao Paulo Festival (Brazil) 1995.
10. Salam Cinema: Best Film - Munich Festival (Germany) 1996.
11. Gabbeh: Best Artistic Film - Tokyo Festival (Japan) 1996.
12. Gabbeh: One of 10 selected films by critics - Times (USA) 1996.
13. Gabbeh: Best Director - Sitguess Festival (Spain) 1996.
14. Gabbeh: Special Critics Award - Sitguess Festival (Spain) 1996.
15. Gabbeh: Best Asian Feature Film - Singapore Festival (Singapore) 1997.
16. A Moment of Innocence: Special Jury Award - Locarno Festival (Switzerland) 1996.
17. A Moment of Innocence: Youth Golden Award - Locarno Festival (Switzerland) 1996.
18. A Moment of Innocence: Among Top Ten Films of the Decade - Awarded by International Festival Directors and Critics 1999.
19. Silence: Golden Prize of Italian Parliament - Venice Festival (Italy) 1997.
20. Collection of Works: "Ville d'yssingeaux", France 1998.
21. Silence: Human, Art and Nature Award - Venice Festival (Italy) 1997.
22. Marshall of Art and Literature, (France) 1998.
23. Kandahar: Grand prize from Society of churches of world, Cannes 2001 (France)
24. Kandahar: "Federico Fillini Honor" from UNESCO in Paris, 2001 (France)
25. Kandahar: The best movie from Ajaccio Film Festival, (France) 2001
26. Kandahar: "Public Prize" from Festival des Cinemas du Sud, (France) 2001
27. Kandahar:"Best Director Award" from Riga International Film Forum Arsenals,Latvia 2002
28. Collection of Works: "Francois Truffaut prize", Giffoni Film Festival in Italy 2002.
29. Thessaloniki 4th festival, Honorary Humanitarian Award (Greece) 2002
30. The Afghan Alphabet:"Best Film Award"from Document ART International Film Festival, (Germany) 2002.
31. The 2003 Asian Filmmaker Award from Pusan Film Festival,(South Korea) 2003.
32. One Of "The Best Hundred Films" Of History Of Cinema, Choosen By Times, (USA), 2005
33. Kandahar: "Best Film" Fiprachi Critics From Thessaloniki (Greece) 2001
34. Sex & philosophy,Tica Film Mediale International Film Festival, Italy,2005
35. Sergei Parajanov Awards for outstanding Artistic contribution to the world cinema, Yerevan Film Festival, Armenia, 2006
36. "Clermont-Ferrand Medallion", the city medallion granted to the legendary Mohsen Makhmalbaf, France, 2006.
37. Jury Special Mention Award for "Scream of the Ants" and life time achivement as a filmmaker, The Granada Film Festival CINES DEL SUR, Spain, 2007
38. "Golden Stag" award for life time achievement through his works and career as an outstanding artist, 37th Kyve (Molodist) International Film Festival, Ukraine 2007
39. "Alhambra" award for his artistic and humanitarian films, CINES DEL SUR International Film Festival, Spain, 2008
40. "Golden Dinosaur" award for establishment of Makhmalbaf film school ETIUDA&ANIMA International Film Festival
41. The Day I Became A woman: Prize to the best first feature film assigned by the young jury of CINEMAVENIRE from 15th.International week of film critics, Venice. Italy.2000
42. The Day I Became A woman: Prize ISVEMA of 100,000,000 Italian lira of commercial promotion on the private televisions associated with Isvema itself, assigned by the jury of the national Syndicate of Italian Film Critics, for its: "poetical representation of woman condition in nowadays Iranian society" from 15th.International week of film critics, Venice. Italy.2000
43. The Day I Became A woman: Prize CICT-UNESCO of the International Council of Cinema and Television within UNESCO has awarded its prize for the following motivation: "for its honesty and for the quality of vision on the woman condition in Iran" from 15th.International week of film critics, Venice. Italy.2000
44. The Day I Became A woman: The Volkswagen Discovery Award from Toronto International Film Festival. Canada. 2000
45. The Day I Became A woman: The gold plaque for Best First Film from Chicago International Film Festival.USA. 2000
46. The Day I Became A woman: The Best Asian Film from Pusan International Film Festival.Korea.2000
47. The Day I Became A woman: The Prize of the International Film Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) from Films from the south Festival. Norway.2000
48. The Day I Became A woman: Special Jury award from Festival des Trois Continents (Nantes) France, 2000.
49. The Day I Became A woman: Special young Jury award from Festival des Trois Continents (Nantes) France, 2000
50. The Day I Became A woman: Golden Plaque of ville De Nantes from Festival des Trois Continents (Nantes) France, 2000
51. The Day I Became A woman: Best Director Award from Thesaloniki International Film Festival, Greece. 2000.
52. The Day I Became A woman: First prize from Novo Cinema International Film Festival, Belgium, 2001
53. The Day I Became A woman: Cine Tirol Verleiher Preis from Innsbruck International film festival, Austria, 2001.
54. Stray Dogs: Unicef Award, Venice, Italy, 2004
55. Stray Dogs: The Silver Camera Award (for cultural and artistic communications) Venice, Italy, 2004
56.Stray Dogs: Fipresci Prize, Singapore Film Festival, 2005
57.Stray Dogs: Best Film, Bermuda Film Festival, Bermuda 2005
58.The Apple: "Sutherland Trophy", London Film Festival 1998, UK.
59.The Apple: "International Critics prize", Locarno Film Festival 1998, Switzerland.
60.The Apple: "Jury's Special prize", Thessalonica Film Festival 1998, Greece.
61.The Apple: "Jury's Special prize", Sao Paulo Film Festival 1998, Brazil.
62.The Apple: "Jury's Special prize", Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
63. The Apple: "Critic's prize", Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
64. The Apple:"Audience's prize", Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
65. The Black Board: "Jury's prize", Official Competition section of Cannes Film Festival 2000, France.
66. The Black Board: "Federico Fillini Honor", UNESCO, Paris, 2000.
67. The Black Board: "Francois Truffaut prize", Giffoni Film Festival in Italy 2000.
68. The Black Board: "Giffoni's Mayor Prize ", Giffoni Film Festival, Italy, 2000.
69. The Black Board: "Special cultural Prize", UNESCO, paris, 2000.
70. The Black Board: "The grand Jury prize", American Film Institute, USA, 2000
71. At Five In The Afternoon: "Jury Special award", Official Competition section of Cannes Film Festival 2003, France.
72. At Five In The Afternoon: "Grand prize from Society of churches of world", Cannes 2003, France.
73. At Five In The Afternoon: Golden Peacock, competition (first prize) for Best film at the 34th International Film Festival of India, India 2003
74. At Five In The Afternoon: The "Youths' Cinema" Award in Singapore's 17th International Silver Screen Film Festival 2004
75. Samira as one of the forty best directors of the world, chosen by Guardien, UK, 2004-2005.
76. Two Legged-horse: The Special Jury Prize From the 56th San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain, 2008.
77."Georges Delerue Award" for Two Legged Horse best music in Belgium.ghent 2008.
78.Rome's "Special Mention" award granted to "Two Legged Horse"
79. Joy of Madness: The youngest filmmaker on the world from Venice international Film Festival 2003.
80. Joy of Madness: Special Mention Award from Associazione Cultrale le tre Ghinee in Venice Film Festival 2003.
81. Joy of Madness: the Special Jury Prize in the 4th International Film Festival of Tokyo Filmex 2003.
82. Buddha collapsed out of shame: The Special Jury Prize From the 55th San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain, 2007.
83. Buddha collapsed out of shame: The TVE Award "La Otra Mirada" by Spanish TV, San Sebastian International Film Festival 2007.
84. Buddha collapsed out of shame: Unicef "Paolo Ungari" special award, Rome International Film Festival 2007.
85. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Daniel Langlois Innovation Prize", Festival du nouveau cinÃ©ma in Montreal 2007.
86. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Woman & Equality Award", Thessaloniki Film Festival, Greece, 2007.
87. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Discovery Prize", Sarlat Film Festival, France, 2007.
88. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Crystal Bear", Berlin Film Festival, Germany, 2008.
89. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Special Peace Award", Berlin Film Festival, Germany, 2008.
90. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Special Award", Association Club de las 25, Spain, 2008.
91. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "ENI Windows on the World Prize" for the Best Feature Film, African Asian and Latin American Film Festival of Milan, Italy, 2008.
92. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Best Film FIPRESCI Award", 11th Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival Ankara, Turkey, 2008.
93. Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Special Jury Prize", 14th International Film Festival of Cinema Author, Morocco, 2008.
94- Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Founders Prize", the 4th Traverse City Film Festival, USA, 2008.
95- Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Silver Mirror" The South Film Festival, Norway, 2008.
96- Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Golden Deer" the 38th Molodist Film Festival, Ukraine, 2008.
97- Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Cine-club" (FICC jury) the 38th Molodist Film Festival, Ukraine, 2008.
98- Buddha collapsed out of shame: "Ecumenical jury" the 38th Molodist Film Festival, Ukraine, 2008.