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FAJR 2019 Awards

A Russian Youth comes out on top at the 37th Fajr International Film Festival

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- Wackersdorf, Irina and Before the Frost were also among the winners of the emblematic Iranian international film event, which has managed to withstand harsh financial sanctions

A Russian Youth comes out on top at the 37th Fajr International Film Festival
Cinematographer Ayrat Yamilov receiving the Golden Simorgh for Best Film awarded to Alexander Zolotukhin's A Russian Youth (© Ali Chashnigir)

The Fajr International Film Festival, Iran’s biggest film gathering and one of the most important events in the Middle East, wrapped its 37th edition on 25 April with its awards ceremony, which was held at Vahdat Hall in Tehran. Celebrating independent, arthouse, documentary and animated films from across the globe, the festival started on 18 April and will officially come to a close on 26 April.

The main award, the Golden Simorgh for Best Film, was bestowed upon Russian filmmaker Alexander Zolotukhin for his debut feature, A Russian Youth [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
. The film, which was co-produced by Eduard Pichugin and Alexander Sokurov, also scooped the trophy for Best First Feature Film.

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The International Competition (Cinema Salvation) jury, comprising Chinese film director Wang Xiaoshuai, Dutch filmmaker Mike van Diem, Turkish actor Muzaffer Özdemir, Iranian actor Navid Mohammadzadeh, Macedonian actress-producer Labina Mitevska, acclaimed German filmmaker Peter Fleischmann and Iranian writer-director Narges Abyar, awarded first-time local filmmaker Soroush Sehat with the Silver Simorgh for Best Director for his drama Dance With Me!, with the film also scooping the Diploma of Honour for Best Actor, for Ali Mosaffa.

The rest of the international awards were mainly pocketed by European titles. The German drama Wackersdorf [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Oliver Haffner picked up Best Script for the director and Gernot Kraa. Bulgarian thesp Martina Apostolova snagged the Best Actress Award for her leading role in Irina [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Nadejda Koseva, while Denmark’s Jesper Christensen was crowned Best Actor for his performance in Michael Noer’s period drama Before the Frost [+see also:
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
film profile
]
. The Special Jury Prize for Best Costume Design went to the Chinese title Spring Sparrow by Jingxiang Li.

In the Asian Film Awards section, Without My Friend by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Ali Talebi won Best Film, Afghanistan’s Jamshid Mahmoudi received the Diploma of Honour and the Interfaith Prize for Rona, Azim’s Mother, and China’s Huo Meng was dubbed Best Asian Director for Crossing the Border.

Acclaimed filmmaker Reza Mirkarimi, who is in his fourth term as Fajr IFF director, mentioned that the unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran have targeted not only the country’s economy, but its culture as well. Nevertheless, despite these financial difficulties, a successful event was organised, and a plethora of international professionals, filmmakers, critics and scholars were in attendance in Tehran to show their support for Iranian cinema.

Here is the complete list of winners at the 37th Fajr International Film Festival:

International Competition (Cinema Salvation)

Golden Simorgh for Best Film
A Russian Youth [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
– Alexander Zolotukhin (Russia) 

Silver Simorgh for Best Director
Soroush Sehat – Dance With Me! (Iran)

Silver Simorgh for Best Script
Gernot Kraa, Oliver Haffner – Wackersdorf [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (Germany)

Silver Simorgh for Best Actress
Martina Apostolova – Irina [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (Bulgaria)

Silver Simorgh for Best Actor
Jesper Christensen – Before the Frost [+see also:
trailer
interview: Elliott Crosset Hove
film profile
]
 (Denmark)

Diploma of Honour for Best Actor
Ali Mosaffa – Dance With Me!

Silver Simorgh Special Jury Prize (for Best Costume Design)
Spring Sparrow – Jingxiang Li (China)

Silver Simorgh for Best Short Film
Excess Will Save Us – Morgane Dziurla-Petit (Sweden)

Asian Film Awards

Trophy for Best Asian Film
Without My Friend – Mohammad Ali Talebi (Iran)

Diploma of Honour for Best Asian Film
Rona, Azim’s Mother – Jamshid Mahmoudi (Afghanistan)

Trophy for Best Asian Director
Huo Meng – Crossing the Border (China)

Trophy for Best Short Film
Sacrifice – Mehdi Mahmmad-Nejadian (Iran)

Other awards

Best First Film Award
A Russian Youth – Alexander Zolotukhin

Muhammad Al-Ameen Award
Hamid – Aijaz Khan (India)

Certificate of Peace
Amina - Iyma

International Critics’ Award
The Announcement [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun
film profile
]
 – Mahmut Fazıl Coşkun (Turkey/Bulgaria)

Interfaith Prize
Rona, Azim’s Mother – Jamshid Mahmoudi

NETPAC Prize
Narrow Red Line – Farzad Khoshdast (Iran)

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