Noor is the Arabic word for "light". The Noor Iranian Film Festival (NIFF) seeks to do just that: shed light on Iranian culture and heritage through the medium of cinema. The festival allows filmmakers to create dialogue on a global scale, express themselves, and to build a community of Iranians and non-Iranians who will help preserve and promote the beauty and essence of Iranian culture. The festival also cultivates and promotes Iranian-American talent in Hollywood.
Now in its sixth year, NIFF continues its tradition of giving an achievement award to an individual who embodies the festival's mission. This year's award recipient will be Oscar-nominated Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Aghdashloo is a trailblazer and role model. As the first Iranian actress to successfully cross over into mainstream Hollywood cinema, Aghdashloo went on to receive Hollywood's highest honor: an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2003 drama House of Sand and Fog.
Aghdashloo's acting career began in the late 1970s in her homeland of Iran where she starred in a number of prominent and award-winning films. After leaving her country during the Islamic Revolution and completing her education in England, she relocated to Los Angeles to pursue her love of acting.
Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, she worked tirelessly to solidify herself as a serious actress, and overcome Hollywood’s limiting stereotypes toward performers of Middle Eastern descent. Aghdashloo now has a prolific and successful career on both the stage, and in TV and film. In 2010, she received the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) Career Achievement Award. Recently, she filmed director Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, and The Last Knights opposite Morgan Freeman and Clive Owen.
Her autobiography, "The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines" is available via Kindle and hardcover.
"The Noor Film Festival is an incredible educational tool for Iranians and non-Iranians alike.We have such a rich cultural heritage that goes far beyond the stereotypes of Iran that are constantly seen in the news media," Aghdashloo said. "I am so pleased to be honored by the festival so that we can work together to raise awareness about the multi-faceted beauty of the Persian culture through cinematic exploration."
Aghdashloo will receive her award on Thursday, October 24 during NIFF's closing awards ceremony at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, in Los Angeles.
This year’s NIFF will offer screenings of 35 features, documentaries and shorts from October 18th – 23rd at Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills. Each film weaves a theme about Iran and/or Iranian talent—either in front or behind the camera.
Tickets are available online at the NIFF website or by calling the NIFF office at (310) 281-5575. Prices range from $12.00 per screening to $130.00 for the VIP All Access Pass. Red Carpet Awards Ceremony tickets are available for $75.00 (regular admission) and $85.00 (VIP/priority seating and admission).
For a complete 2013 festival line-up and schedule, please visit the NIFF website.