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You are in: Home > 2009. 57th Edition  > Awards and Jury Members > Official Selection Jury Members > Samira Makhmalbaf
Samira Makhmalbaf

Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf won the Special Jury Prize at last year’s San Sebastian Festival for Two-legged Horse. Born in Teheran in 1980, at the age of eight she had a part in The Cyclist, directed by her father, the famous Iranian moviemaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

At the age of 17 she directed her first feature The Apple, becoming the youngest director in the world to participate in the Official Selection at the Cannes Festival. Jean-Luc Godard himself praised the girl on several occasions for her film. Over a period of two years, The Apple was invited to participate in over 100 international film festivals and was screened in more than 30 countries.

In 1999, Samira Makhmalbaf made her second feature film, The Blackboard, set in Iranian Kurdistan. She was selected to compete in the Official Selection at Cannes in 2000, receiving the Special Jury Prize. The Blackboard garnered numerous international accolades, including UNESCO’s Federico Fellini Medal and the François Truffaut Award. It was released throughout the world and was seen in France alone by over 200,000 spectators.

She directed one of the eleven episodes of the movie 11’09”01-September 11 alongside directors like Ken Loach, Shohei Imamura, Youssef Chahine and Sean Penn, among others, premiered at the Venice Festival in 2002.

Her third film, At Five in the Afternoon, was the first to be shot in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime. It competed at the Cannes Festival in 2003, where she landed the Special Jury Prize for the second time.

In 2004, The Guardian newspaper listed Samira Makhmalbaf among the 40 best directors in the world.

Having been refused permission to shoot in her own country by the Iranian Government, Samira Makhmalbaf decided to make her latest movie, Two-legged Horse, in Afghanistan. While filming was underway, a bomb exploded, seriously injuring six people. Despite the difficulties, Samira stayed in Afghanistan until the film was completed.

She has been a jury member at top-line festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Moscow and Montreal, among others.


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