Industry Masterclass: Take on Iran

The Movies that Matter Festival 2023 focuses on Iran with a special themed programme. The murders of Mahsa Amini and Hadis Najafi in 2022 were the immediate cause for major demonstrations and protests, both in Iran and internationally. All the more reason for the festival to invite a number of Iranian filmmakers as main guests: Nafiss Nia, Maryam Ebrahimi and Ali Asgari. In this masterclass we have an in-depth conversation with this year’s main guests, led by filmmaker and writer Beri Shalmashi. 

Nafiss Nia is an Iranian-Dutch (script) writer, director and poet. Nafiss studied Cinema in Iran and Script Writing at the Film Academy in Amsterdam. She has directed several films and documentaries and contributed to other films as a producer and screenwriter. Several collections of her poetry have been published.

Swedish-Iranian documentary filmmaker, producer and director Maryam Ebrahimi was born in Tehran in 1976. She studied art and art theory at the Faculty of Arts in Tehran and continued her education in Sweden at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design. She later started working as a producer and director in the field of documentaries. She co-directed No Burqas Behind Bars (winner International Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary) in 2012, set in an Afghan women’s prison, and produced I Was Worth 50 Sheep (2010) and Prison Sisters (2016). Her latest film as director, Stronger Than a Bullet, premiered at IDFA 2017.

Ali Asgari was born in Tehran in 1982 and graduated from Tehran Azad University in 2007. He graduated in DAMS (Cinema and Music and Theatre) from Roma Tre University and he is an alumnus of Berlinale Talent Campus 2013. Two of his short films More Than Two Hours (2013) and The Silence (2016), co-directed by Farnoosh Samadi, were in the Short Film competition at Festival de Cannes. His short film The Baby premiered at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. Disappearance is his first feature film developed at Festival de Cannes’ Cinefondation La Residence, and had its world and North American premiere at the Venice Film Festival and at the Toronto Film Festival 2017. His second feature film Until Tomorrow premiered at the Berlinale 2022. Ali Asgari is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Art.

Beri Shalmashi comes from a family with Iranian-Kurdish heritage, she was born in France and raised in the Netherlands. She wrote and directed several awarded movies and is writing her feature length debut. Shalmashi is a contributor to Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, De Filmkrant and advisor at Nederlands Filmfonds. She is CEO of Avanti, a leading platform for talks, stories and events around social topics, cook book writer and former tutor at Sandberg Institute's Moving Image Master's program Resolution.

Speakers: Ali Asgari, Maryam Ebrahimi and Nafiss Nia
Beri Shalmashi