Discovering the Next Generation of Iranian Filmmakers©

Coming: 13th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco: September 19-25, 2020

Welcome to the 13th Annual Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco, the first independent Iranian film festival outside of Iran. This year, the festival presents a record-breaking 52 films, in two days, from Iran, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Sweden…ranging from fiction, documentary, short, animation…to music video. We are happy and proud to continue our mission to discover and support the next generation of Iranian filmmakers living and working around the world, while we honor the veteran filmmakers for their distinguished careers. Please join us to celebrate the outstanding works of Iranian filmmakers.

Please Note: Due to the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival will be Virtual this year. For that reason, we expanded the festival to 7 days [September 19-25, 2020] to accommodate everyone in different time zones, in order to watch the films wherever they are around the world. The links, on every page, will take you to the Virtual Theater platform where you can sign up and watch the films. Tickets Are on Sale Now.


Winners of the 2020 ‘Sepanta Awards’

Best Film: Labyrinth
Best Director: Amir Hossein Torabi for Labyrinth
Best Actor: Shahab Hosseini for Labyrinth
Best Actress: Mina Vahid for One Night in Tehran
Best Screenplay: Tala Motazedi for Labyrinth
Best Cinematography: Farshad Mohammadi for We Are All Together
Best Documentary: The Bridge of Victory by Yaser Talebi
Best Children’s Film: Ocean Behind the Window by Babak Nabizadeh
Best Short Film: Mandatory by Javad Khorsha
Best Director for a Short Film: Javad Khorsha for Mandatory
Best Screenplay for a Short Film: Panah khodayari for Pendulum
Best Documentary Short: Gelak by Siroos Kaffash
Best Actor in a Short Film: Reza Mirhashemifor The List
Best Actress in a Short Film: Sadaf Asgari for Exam
Best Cinematography for a Short Film: Parviz Rostami for Fifth Narcissus
Best Children’s Short Film: The Feast of the Goat by Saeed Zamanian
Best Music Video: Kiss by Payam Ghorbani
Best Animation Film: Noise by Mahdi Barqzadegan
Best Experimental Film: The Sixth Unit by Ali Afshari


Animation Films

History of animation films in Iran goes back to 1950’s, decades after it was invented. Since then, despite all the obstacles from lack of equipment to lack of knowledge, the animation films still were made by aspiring filmmakers all the way through the present time. With the latest technology and dedicated filmmakers, the highest number of animation films are being made today in Iran. Iranian Film Festival dedicates its Spotlight on Animation Cinema in Iran, created by a group of talented artists by showing: Her Eyes, Sharp as Stone, Noise, Boat No. 5, Inversion, Rotation…


Documentary Films

Aside from the fiction, Iranian Film Festival pays special attention to the documentary genre with some of the best young talents Iranian cinema can offer. Films such as: The Last Shah [story of the Shah with strong ideals and ending in bloody turmoil], Scenes From A Separation [a behind the scene how Asghar Farhadi made his Oscar winning film], Of Kings and Paintings [about the history of paintings during the Qajar Dynasty], Women According to Men [about the history of Iranian cinema from male point of view], Poozhgan [about music and dance in Torbat-e Jam, Khorasan], The Bridge of Victory [about the construction of railway in Iran]…


Short Films

The genre of short films, if we can call it that, is a platform for the filmmakers to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end in a short amount of time. While they can be under time pressure to tell their whole story, but it gives them the time management to work within that time frame. For that reason, the short films are always the jewel of filmmaking, and we are happy to present a fraction of a large number of short films we received this year, among them: The Exam, Mandatory, The Feast of the Goat, The world’s Last House, American Bull, Pendulum, The Sixth Unit…
The Shorts Programs are scheduled on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20 at 11:00 AM.


Music & Dance

This year, the Iranian Film Festival received the highest number of music videos showing that the music is alive and well in the hearts of Iranian people specially the younger generation. Among those chosen are: Sahara Flow from South Africa, Smile, Kiss by creative team of Payam Ghorbani, and Poozhgan, a music documentary about the music and dance in Torbat Jam in Khorasan, Sadaf [from France], about an Iranian female boxer, The Unseeable Seeable, about Shahram Nazeri a prominent icon of Kurdish and Persian classical Sufi music…


Films for Children & Young Adults

For the past few years, the Iranian Film Festival – San Francisco, has paid more attention to the films made by or about the children and young adults. These are some of the films that are elected for this year: The Feast of the Goat about a boy who finds out his Goat has been deceived and he tries to bring it back to life in his memory, American Bull, about a teenage boy who owns the only male American bull in the village to serve for breeding, Asho, about a young boy and his passion for Hollywood cinema, Neda, about a small girl who vanishes during the shopping for the new year, A Letter to God, about a girl whose mother is dealing with Corona virus and she writes a letter to God asking for help, Fifth Narcissus, about a teenage boy who sells flowers on the side of the road until he meets the girl of his dream…


Poster Contest

Iranian Film Festival- San Francisco holds a contest for its annual poster in order to introduce some of the best graphic artists working in the field in Iran. The winner of this year’s poster contest is Omid Khazra Jafari, who created his design based on the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, using the colors of the Iranian flag.


Sepanta Award

When the Iranian Film Festival decided to give awards, the first name came to mind was Abdolhossein Sepanta [1907-1969], the father of sound in Iranian cinema. Sepanta, was also a director, screenwriter and producer who made The Lor Girl (1931), Ferdowsi, Shirin-o-Farhaad, Black Eyes, and Leyli o Majnun (1936). In honor of his role in Iranian cinema, the Iranian Film Festival chose his name for its awards in 2013, and presents the Sepanta Award every year in various categories.


Support Us

If you like what we do, to continue bringing the best of independent films made by or about Iranians from around the world, support our efforts by sponsoring, advertising, and your contributions. We, Iranians, need to have a strong voice in our host country by unity and representing the best talents any community can offer. This support can be in variety of ways but for sure it benefits the Iranian community.


Join Us

We know there are many talented Iranian artists out there, aside from those in film that can share their talent with us in visual art. If you are a photographer, graphic artist, musician…join the festival and participate in whatever capacity the festival can offer you. Drop us a note and be a part of our festival.


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