Dr. Jamsheed Akrami is a scholar of Iranian cinema. A former editor of Iranian film magazines, he has published extensively, presented numerous lectures, curated film series, and produced a number of films, including the feature-length documentaries The Lost Cinema, on political filmmaking under the Shah, and Friendly Persuasion, on Iranian cinema after the 1979 revolution. The films were screened in international film festivals and enjoyed theatrical runs and television screenings in US and Canada. A Cinema of Discontent completes Jamsheed Akrami’s trilogy on Iranian cinema. Mr. Akrami is a film professor at William Paterson University, where he teaches Film as a Medium, Film as Cross-cultural Communication, and Film and Civic Engagement. He was also a visiting professor of film at Columbia University for several years.
Mark Amin is currently the CEO of Sobini Films, a motion picture production and financing company. Through Sobini Films, Amin has produced a diverse slate of feature films, including The Prince & Me and Peaceful Warrior. Recent films include Eliza Graves, starring Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Kate Beckinsale and Jim Sturgess, based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe. Girl Most Likely is his most recent film released theatrically during the summer of 2013. Mr. Amin served as Vice Chairman and member of the board of directors of Lionsgate Entertainment from 2000 to 2009. Prior to his work with Lionsgate and Sobini, Amin founded Trimark Holdings, Inc. and served as the company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Under Amin’s leadership, Trimark soon developed into one of the entertainment industry’s leading independent production and distribution companies. Amin’s past credits include the critically acclaimed Eve’s Bayou and Frida, which was nominated for five Oscars and won two. In addition to film production, he is actively involved in the acquisition and development of pistachio and almond orchards in central California, with more than 8,000 acres under management. Mr. Amin holds a BA degree in Economics from the University of Kansas and an MBA from UCLA.
Rakhshan Banietemad started to make documentaries for the Iranian National Television immediately after graduating from the University of Dramatic Arts, Tehran. In 1987, she directed her first feature film Off The Limits, and in 1991, she became the first woman recipient of the Best Director award at Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran for Nargess. In 1995, she won the Bronze Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival for The Blue Veiled. Her next film, Under the Skin of the City, was the highest grossing film in Iran in 2000. That film, along with Gilaneh (2005) and Mainline (2006), garnered major awards in more than 50 film festivals. While Banietemad’s feature films have been acclaimed and honored worldwide, her documentaries have also been successful and popular internationally. Our Times, was the first documentary ever to be released in Iranian movie theaters. It was also shown in highly prestigious and prominent festivals and TV channels such as IDFA, Sundance Film Festival and ARTE.
Born in Tehran, Sepideh Farsi moved to Paris to study mathematics, but soon drifted towards film. After some shorts, her documentary Homi Sethna Filmmaker won several awards. Followed by Harat and Tehran Without Permission, which both premiered in Locarno. Her first two features Derams of Dust and The Gaze premiered in Rotterdam. She then directed The House Under Water, followed by Red Rose, which premiered in TIFF 2014 and has just finished Despo, Labros, Spyridoula & Papandreou.
Bahram Radan is an award-winning Iranian actor. While studying Business Management in college, Radan signed up for acting classes where he was discovered as an emerging talent. He got his first break when he was given an opportunity for his first role starring in the movie The Passion of Love. The movie achieved great success at the Iranian box office and was one of the top grossing movies of 2000. Radan has since starred in many films and has become a popular household name in the Middle East, often referred to as one of the top five superstars of Iranian cinema. His extreme popularity caused Iranian authorities to ban his images from billboards in 2008. In 2010, he was chosen by United Nations as the first Iranian UN Ambassador Against Hunger.