Jury of the Golden Apricot 2008 Feature Section
Dariush Mehrjui (Iran)
As an Iranian New Wave cinema icon, Mehrjui is regarded to be one of the intellectual directors. Dariush Mehrjui was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1939. As an adult, he moved to the United States and entered the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Department of Cinema. He switched his major to philosophy and graduated from UCLA in 1964. Returning to Iran in 1965, he almost immediately embarked on a filmmaking career. He made his debut in 1966 with Diamond 33. His second featured film, Cow (1969), brought him national and international recognition. In 1971, the film was smuggled out of Iran and submitted to the Venice IFF, where, without programming or subtitles, it became the largest event of that year's festival. The film was a turning point in the history of Iranian cinema. The public received it with great enthusiasm, despite the fact that it had ignored all the traditional elements of box office attraction. In 1973 Mehrjui began directing what was to be his most acclaimed film. The Cycle was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture but encountered opposition from the Iranian medical establishment and was banned from release until 1977. It was universally admired abroad. The film won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin IFF in 1978. In 1981, he traveled to Paris and remained there for several years, during which time he made a feature-length semi-documentary for French TV, Voyage au Pays de Rimbaud (1983). Feeling homesick, he returned to Iran to film The Tenants (1986), a comedy of conflict between apartment tenants and a realtor seeking to throw them out. In Hamoun (1989), a portrait of an intellectual whose life is falling apart, Mehrjui sought to depict his generation's post-revolutionary turn from politics to mysticism. The '90s also found Mehrjui releasing films dealing with women's issues. Banoo (1991, released in 1998) more or less brought Luis Buñuel's Viridiana to Iran. Sara (1993) did the same for Ibsen's A Doll's House. Pari (1995), a transplanting of Salinger's Franny and Zooey, attracted the attention - and the threat of a lawsuit - from the reclusive author. Leila (1996) was all Mehrjui's own and the first to receive any sort of wide theatrical release in the West. The story of a marriage undone by infertility and a meddling mother-in-law, it earned Mehrjui raves. Outside of festivals and a career-spanning retrospective by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in late 1998, his films remain largely unseen outside Iran, an oversight that will hopefully be corrected with the passing of time.
Ulrich Seidl (Austria)
Born November 24, 1952 in Vienna. Ulrich Seidl is the director of numerous award-winning documentaries such as Jesus, You Know, Models and Animal Love. His work methods, achieving the greatest possible authenticity and showing people in the most solitary and personal moments, has aroused intense debate. His first fiction feature, Dog Days, won the Grand Jury Special Prize at the 2001 Venice IFF. Seidl’s second feature film Import/Export has been sold to 20 countries. The film has won three prizes (Bangkok, Golden Apricot – Yerevan (Armenia) and Palic Tower (for the best acting ensemble Palic (Serbien). The film has been invited to about 80 festivals so far: for example Munique, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Jerusalem, Sarajevo, Toronto, London, Kopenhagen, Sao Paolo, Seoul. Two retrospetives (in La Rochelle and Sarajevo) have shown Ulrich Seidls previous work, two further retros in Belgium and Sweden.
Goran Paskalevic (Serbia)
Born in 1947 in Belgrade, one of the most distinguished directors from the former Yugoslavia, is a member of the so-called “Prague school” of FAMU graduates. He became known for his short documentaries, but it was his feature films which classed him among leading European directors, whose style, themes and tragicomic aura bore traces of the influence of the Czech New Wave. He received international recognition particularly for his films Beach Guard in Winter (1976), Special Treatment (1980 – Golden Globe nomination), Twilight Time (1983 – Main Prize at the Chicago IFF), The Elusive Summer of ‘68 (1984), Guardian Angel (1987), Time of Miracles (1989), The Powder Keg (1998 – FIPRESCI prize at the Venice IFF), How Harry Became a Tree (2001) and Midwinter Night’s Dream (2004 – Grand Jury Prize at the San Sebastian IFF). His new film The Optimists was premiered in the autumn of 2006.
Azize Tan (Turkey)
Born in 1971 in Istanbul. She received her MA degree from Bosphorus University in Istanbul. She works for the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts organizing five international festivals (Film, Theatre, Music, Jazz and Biennial) since 1993. She worked as the coordinator of the 5th, 6th and 7th Istanbul Biennials and became the deputy director of the Istanbul IFF in 2003. She is the director of the Istanbul IFF since 2006. She also organizes the Istanbul Autumn Film Week for the last seven years. She is a member of NETPAC and Asia Pacific Screen Awards Nominations Council.
Ashot Adamyan (Armenia)
Born in 1953 in Yerevan. Adamyan studied at the Department of Architecture, the Vocational School after Alexander Tamanyan in 1968-1972. In 1972-1974 Adamyan served in the Soviet Army. He graduated from the Department of Direction, School of Culture, the Yerevan Pedagogical University (class of Henrik Malyan) in 1979. Adamyan worked as an actor, stage director and artistic manager in the Theater after Henrik Malyan from 1981 to 1998. In 1988-1991 Adamyan took the Advanced Courses for Film Directors in Moscow (the class of Rolan Bykov). Adamyan is a cinema actor beginning 1978 having played in more than two dozens of films including characters as noticeable as that of Torik (in A Piece of the Sky [Ktor my yerkinq] directed by Henrik Malyan), Oberon (The Song of the Old Days [Hin oreri yergy] by Albert Mkrtchyan) and the Driver ( Calendar by Atom Egoyan).