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Kamran Shirdel. New IFFS Cultural President

kamranKamran Shirdel (Persian: کامران شیردل‎; born 1939 in Tehran) is an Iranian documentarist.

He studied architecture and urbanism at the University of Rome and film direction at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia of Rome, graduating in 1964. He worked as an assistant director with John Huston on The Bible before making his diploma film, Gli Specchi (The Mirrors), in Rome. He returned to Iran and started his career in 1965.

Shirdel is the founder and director of the Kish International Documentary Film Festival which is held yearly in the January in Kish Island in the Persian Gulf. He is also the managing director of Filmgrafic Co. Kamran Shirdel was appointed as Il cavaliere Della Republica Italiana and received the Medals of La stella della solidarieta italiana in a ceremony held in Farmanieh Palace in Tehran on May 2010. He received also some awards from the film society mouvement in Brasil, Italy,…

A Note From Amir Naderi:

These short… and possibly unfinished films… that marked the
beginning of a young filmmaker’s career over half a century ago, clearly
demonstrate the depth of his social insight and the command of his craft in
creating a modern, pure cinematic language. Shirdel’s honest gaze exhibits
his utmost respect and regard for the subject he works with, along with a
poetic, visual violence. His work contains a dark, painful sarcasm as he took
risks to create images with his camera. These images remain on a firm
footing, despite the passage of so many years. We are therewith warned that
if this filmmaker would have continued his work, he would have followed a
rich path and how he could have paved new ways for our fledgling cinema at
that time.
Kamran Shirdel was young at that time. With deep family roots and
education in the core of Italian neorealist cinema during the early 60’s, and
with a virgin knowledge in all artistic fields, he was deeply influenced by the
current events of those tumultuous years. Under the guidance of masters,
such as Rosselini, DeSica, Visconti, Antonioni, Nany Loy, Olmi and others,
thirsty and full of energy, he studied well, saw well and returned to his
country filled with love and a steadfast goal to continue the neorealist path
of his master Rosselini with all honesty and on his own terms, in the
fledgling cinema of his own country….

With these few short films, he blossomed, and blossomed well… such
that with these first few steps, they initially stood in his way, ultimately
stopped him, and confiscated his films on the spot. This untimely attack at
the beginning of the marathon of his filming career, broke his legs and his
hopes. Since he was young and sensitive, it also shattered his filmmaking
ambitions forever. I was a witness, more or less, of his sad and painful days
because he could not make the films he wanted to make or finish those he
had started.

With the rage that consumed him as a result of this injustice, like a
witness without wanting to be so, he sat and only watched. And during those
years, he helped other young filmmakers as much as he could, with the
knowledge he had of this craft, and paved the way for them and gave them
the courage to make films, and I was one of them, who learned from his
cinematic and artistic knowledge, for which I am forever indebted to him.
His incomplete films are finally finished after so many decades and
generations, and are being shown at different festivals and museums and
universities, and are seen and celebrated in different countries. But I don’t
know if this will give him any satisfaction with the weight of time over his
shoulders. For these films have cost him the best years of his life and a heavy

For me as someone who knows and respects him, the painful revelation
is that now when these films are available for screening and understanding,
the brilliant films that he could have made during the different stages of his
life, are missing from the body of work in today’s Iranian cinema that is
being celebrated around the world. This is truly unjust. And I don’t know if
anyone will ever have an answer for so much ruthlessness…

But concerning the four films that we are going to see together in the
Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, I must say that so far,
many have written in celebration of these works, but that finally, they have
reached Japanese cinematic culture after half a century. As a student of this
director, I am filled with pride. It is very important for me to witness the
reaction of young Japanese audiences to these films, and I wish that Kamran
Shirdel could somehow be here at this festival. But anyhow after the
screening of these films, I will be with you in the theater and we can discuss
them together. The only thing that I can say is that watching these films is a
pure and amazing cinematic experience.

These films shall remain eternal because they speak with the language
of cinema. It does not matter when and where, and in which culture or
language they will be seen….


Amir Naderi

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This entry was posted on November 25, 2019 by in Uncategorized.


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