A jury consisting of veterans and notables of the film and entertainment industry will judge all entries for creativity, quality and originality.

2021 Jury

Mark Amin – Jury Chair

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, PEACEFUL WARRIOR, and his directorial debut, EMPEROR, which was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, most notably Outstanding Independent Motion Picture. Upcoming projects include NELLIE BLY, starring Chloe Grace Moretz in the leading role, and ZORRO 2.0, a futuristic reboot of the lucrative Zorro franchise starring Gael García Bernal. 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.

Hamed Behdad

Hamed Behdad was born on November 17, 1973, in Mashhad, Iran. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts Acting from the Islamic Azad University of Tehran. His Iranian screen debut was in the film End Of Game, for which he was nominated for a Crystal Simorgh prize in the Fajr Film Festival for Best Newcomer. Since then, he has been performing in numerous memorable roles, including the Iraqi army officer (Mohammad Hossein Latifi) in Th Third Day (2007), which got him his second nomination for the Crystal Simorgh prize, as well as widespread critical praise. Other notable films include No One Knows About Persian Cats, winner of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival “Un Certain Regard” and Crime, by Masoud Kimiai, which won him the best-supporting actor award at the 29th Fajr Film Festival. Other notable awards include the Golden Goblet for Best Actor at the 2019 Shanghai International Film Festival for his leading role in Castle Of Dreams. His other powerful performances were delivered in Hard Makeup, Blockage, and The Girl’s House, just to name a few.   His career path has allowed him to work with some of Iran’s top filmmakers, including Abbas Kiarostami, Naser Taghvai, Masoud Kimiai, and Dariush Mehrjui.

Ali Jaberansari

Born in Tehran in 1981, Ali moved to Vancouver in his teens. In 2008, after spending a year attending Abbas Kiarostami’s filmmaking workshop back in Tehran, he decided to follow his real passion for making films by studying at the London Film School.
His graduation short film, AMAN (2011), was awarded the Cine+ prize at the Premiers Plans Film Festival in Angers, France and the MEO Best Student Film prize at Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival.

His feature film debut, FALLING LEAVES (2013), premiered at Montreal World Film Festival in 2013 and won the Federico Fellini Award for best international newcomer at Tiburon International Film Festival in California USA.

His latest feature film TEHRAN: CITY OF LOVE (2018), premiered at BFI London Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival. It has screened at over 20 film festivals worldwide and has won the Youth Jury Prize at Sofia International Film Festival, Best Actress Prize at Beijing International Film Festival, and Ecumenical Jury Prize at Miskolc International Film Festival in Hungary.

“Tehran: City of Love” – Feature Film (2018, 100 mins, UK/Netherlands/Iran)
“Falling Leaves” – Feature Film (2013, 85 mins, UK/Iran)
“AMAN” – 35mm short film (2011, 27 mins, UK/Iran)

Mehdi Karampour

Mehdi Karampour is an Iranian director, screenwriter, and producer. A top Graduate (M.A) in Cinema Directing, he started his professional career by making short films. He has been actively involved in the Iranian cinema, and has been a member of the Board of Directors Guild of Iranian Cinema (2007-2010), spokesperson of the Board of Directors Guild of Iranian Cinema (2010), the President of the Releasing Committee of Iranian Cinema (2008-2010), and a Member of the Advisors Committee of the Board of the Iranian Alliance of the Motion Picture Guilds (2008-2010).
He is currently a member of the Board of Producers Guild of Iran (since 2016), a member of the Board of Trustees of the Iranian Youth Cinema Society (since 2013), Founding member of the Iranian Short Film Association, and a member of the Academy of Iranian cinema.

In addition to the above, Mr. Karampour has been teaching and holding workshops at universities and film schools all around the world.

Mr. Karampour has been nominated and has won numerous national awards in screenwriting and directing fields, as well as Special Jury Prize at the Golden Minbar Film Festival, and other international film festivals such as Kerala, London, Toronto, Montreal, Mill Valley, Chicago, Sao Paulo, Gybara (Greatest World Movies), Hamburg, Stuttgart, Oberhausen, Rome Independent Film Festival, Valencia, Clermont-Ferrand, Green shot, Durban, and the International Section of the Fajr Film Festival.

Mr. Karampour has been a jury member of several film festivals such as International Tehran Short Film Festival, International Fajr Film Festival, 
Youth Film Festival, Iranian Cinema Feast, and International Tehran Short Film Festival, and many more.

His directorial films include: Somewhere Else (2002)
, Who Killed Amir (2005), 
Tehran, Tehran (2008), 
Wooden Bridge (2011)
, Sophie & the Beast (2017)

In addition to the feature films, Mr. Karampour has directed several TV series such as A Piece of Land, Cloudy Years, OutCast, The Seventh Day, The Eighth Day, Night Shift, and The Waterfront.

Mr. Karampour has also directed several documentary films broadcast on international television networks such as MIS, A City That Was, Pale, Once Again, The River I Loved, Outsider, Matryoshka Inside Out, and French Vision. 

He has also directed Waiting for Godot and Danton’s Death for the stage.

Arian Moayed

Iranian-born, Award-winning actor Arian Moayed is the co-Founder of Waterwell, a civic-minded and socially conscious non-profit art and education company. He is also a Partner of Waterwell Films, a for-profit film and television company.

With the Waterwell non-profit, recent productions include The Flores Exhibits, a series of videos in which artists, lawyers, advocates, and immigrants read the sworn testimonies of children held in detention facilities at the U.S./Mexico border (, The Courtroom: a re-enactment of one woman’s deportation proceedings, named “Best Theater of 2019” by The New York Times, and a dual-language Hamlet (Arian played the title role). Waterwell also created Fleet Week Follies, an annual festival of music, food, and kid-friendly activities, free to military service members and their families.

At the Waterwell Education Program, over 250 students per year receive world-class arts training and education in advocacy at the Professional Performing Arts School, all free of charge. He has been a faculty member for nearly 15 years, currently teaching the Artist as Citizen and Senior Capstone.

With Waterwell Films, Arian has written/directed the Emmy-nominated thriller, The Accidental Wolf, which was acquired by Topic Studios. Current writing projects include 28 Mordad (Playground Pictures), a film version of The Courtroom (Archer Gray/Topic) and a film adaptation of The Man in Red.

Notable acting credits include Broadway’s The Humans (Drama Desk Award), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Tony nomination), Guards at the Taj (Obie Award), Emmy-winning Succession (HBO), and an upcoming Shonda Rhimes’ series, Inventing Anna (Netflix).

Narges Rashidi

Narges was born in Iran, moved to Turkey and on to pursue her acting career in Germany where she is well-known and has worked non-stop. Her international breakthrough moment came when she was cast as the lead in the sensational UK/Iranian film “Under The Shadow” for director Babak Anvari. She is in every frame of the film and was subsequently nominated for Best Actress by the British Independent Film Awards and won Breakthrough Actress at the New York Intl’ Film Festival. The film was recently nominated for a 2017 Film Independent Spirit Award and was also the UK’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Film. The film initially competed at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was bought by Netflix before its premiere. She recently starred in the film “Tigermilch” for German director Ute Wieland and landed one of the series leads on Season 2 of “The Girlfriend Experience” for director Lodge Kerrigan. She was part of the first Season of the Amazon Studios series “Hanna” based off the feature film by Joe Wright. Currently, she can be seen in Gareth Evans’ highly anticipated series “Ganges of London”, opposite Joe Cole as Lale – A fierce Kurdish PKK militant who imports and oversees the selling of heroin in London.