LOS ANGELES (October 24, 2014) – The 7th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival (NIFF) — a non-profit, non-religious, and non-political organization that educates the non-Iranian community about the culture and heritage of Iranians through the medium of cinema — honored film and television actor Shaun Toub of “Iron Man”, “Crash”, “The Kite Runner” and “Homeland” with 2014’s Reza Badiyi Achievement Award on October 22nd. The closing night and red carpet awards ceremony was held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. BAFTA-nominated film producer Bob Yari, whose films include “Crash” and “The Illusionist”, presented the award. Actor and comedian Maz Jobrani also honored Toub with a speech.
Festival co-founder & director Siamak Ghahremani said, “Each year NIFF recognizes talent who are outstanding trailblazers for the Iranian community. Shaun has demonstrated twenty seven years of exemplary work in TV and film, playing the lead role of inspiring others.” Shaun was surprised just before receiving his award with video messages by his fellow industry members, including actor Jon Favreau, actress Nazanin Boniadi, “Homeland” creator Alex Gansa, actor Aasif Mandiv and mentalist Gerard Senehi.
Shaun Toub expressed, “As an Iranian-American actor, receiving the Reza Badiyi Achievement Award is of great significance. That night as I sat and watched glimpses of my work throughout the years, I got to appreciate the great journey I've been on, and how blessed I am to be afforded the opportunity to do what I love and had dreamt of since I was 5 years old.”
Over 350 guests, VIPs, filmmakers and distinguished guests were in attendance. Influencers from the Iranian-American community included: actor and comedian Ali Pourtash (“The Stoning of Saraya M.”); actor Ali Saam (“Argo”); actor Navid Negahban (“Homeland”, “The Stoning of Soraya M”); actor, writer and director Arian Moayed; actress Vida Ghaffari (“Cross My Heart”), and many more.
Screenings were held from October 17th – 22nd at the Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills. The 2014 event was presented by festival co-founder, director and producer Siamak Ghahremani and sponsored Pars Equality Center, Javanan Magazine, Radio Javan and KIRN 670AM. This year’s jury included: Iranian actress Mahnaz Afshar (“Shirin”, “Cease Fire”, “The Wooden Bridge”); Iranian American actor Omid Abtahi (“ Argo”, “Those Who Kill”, “The Boys of Abu Ghraib”); and actress and director Catherine Dent (“Silk”, “The Shield”, “Gang Related”, “The Mentalist”, “Castle”).
Past jury members have included prominent industry VIPs: Marshall Manesh, Dennis Haysbert, Farajallah Heidari, Frances Fisher, Rainn Wilson, Brooke Adams, Esai Morales, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Reza Badiyi, Bai Ling, Omid Djalili, Ever Carradine, Natasha Henstridge, Maz Jobrani, Corey Feldman, Max Martini, Kami Asgar, Harry J. Lennox, Shaun Toub, Kyle Secor, Habib Zargarpour, Tony Plana, Kristoff St. John, Homa Sarshar, Navid Negahban and Behrouz Vossoughi
2014 NIFF winners are as follows:
Best Short Film: “More Than Two Hours” by director Ali Asgari
Best Short Film Director: Ethan Rains for “Still Here”
Best Animation: “The Hard Dream” by director Behrouz Bagheri
Best Documentary: “Out of Iran: Iran’s Unwanted Sons and Daughters” by director Farid Haerinejad
Best Documentary Director: Ayat Najafi for “No Land’s Song”
Best Feature Film: “When the Lemons Turned Yellow” by director Mohammadreza Vatandoust
Best Film Director: Desiree Akhavan for “Appropriate Behavior”
Best Story/Idea: “Boys with Broken Ears” by director Nima Shayeghi
Audience Favorite: “Nowruz: Lost and Found” by director K-Von Moezzi
About Shaun Toub
Through a chance encounter with an astute talent agent, Shaun broke into the Hollywood scene with hope in his heart and a natural talent to entertain. Toub has received accolades for several of his appearances in over 100 television episodes including Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Castle, NCIS, Chuck, Lost, Charmed, ER, Just Shoot Me, JAG, Married with Children and various movies made for television. His filmography includes his memorable performance in Bad Boys, Broken Arrow, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, Iron Man, The Last Airbender and the Oscar-winning film Crash. His recent work includes playing Majid Javadi in Season 3 of Homeland and the upcoming film Papa, the life story of Ernest Hemingway, in the role of Evan Shipman the poet. Shaun was raised in Manchester, England and moved to America at the age of 16 to continue his education. He is very proud of his Persian heritage. Through various charity events and public speaking engagements, he inspires the community to embrace the arts, as the arts enhance everyday life.
A non-profit, non-religious, and non-political organization, the Noor Iranian Film Festival (NIFF) was created to shed light, or ‘noor,’ on Persian culture, helping to express the beauty of a culture that is commonly misperceived due to its portrayal in the media. In 2005, Iranian-born Siamak Ghahremani co-founded the festival with actor Anthony Azizi and the inaugural international event premiered in 2007. Two years of planning and orchestration were required due to this being the first competition Iranian Film Festival outside of Iran, as well as the first Iranian-American Red Carpet event. The festival’s mission is to educate the non-Iranian community about the culture and heritage of Iranians around the world through the medium of cinema. Not without challenges, the festival supports filmmakers whose voice cannot be heard inside of Iran and around the world. For seven days, the NIFF hosts premieres, networking events, and panel discussions, culminating in the closing night Awards Ceremony held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California. The event is also dedicated to cultivating and promoting Iranian-American talent in Hollywood. Screenings are held at the Laemmle Music Hall (9036 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California).