ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

Born on the 22nd of June, 1940 in Teheran, Iran. From 1960 to 1968 he started his cinematographic career designing credits and directing advertisements. With a friend in 1969, Kiarostami founded the Cinematographic Department of the Institute for Children and Young Adults Intellectual Development (Kanun) that, in the course of the years, has produced a relevant number of high quality Iranian movies, by directors such as: A. Naderi, B. Beyza, D.Mehrjui, E. Forozesh, Dj Panahi, Sobrah Sh. Saless... Nowadays hes considered one of the most visionary figures in international cinema, whose films both challenge viewers' expectations of modern filmmaking and expound a deeply humanist philosophy. Using a deceptive simplicity to explore very complex issues, Kiarostami stresses the importance of material over technique. Taking his inspiration and story ideas from the people around him and the observations of everyday life, and stressing a natural, improvisational approach from his actors, he has said, "I think that technique for technique's sake is a big lie, as it doesn't answer real feelings and real needs." The well-deserved international recognition came by the end of 1980s: in 1989 he won the Bronze Pardo at Locarno Festival; in 1992 he won the Rossellini Prize at Cannes for his career; in 1997 "The Taste of Cherries" obtained the Golden Palme at the Cannes Film Festival; "The Wind Will Take Us Away" won the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival in 1999. On the 13th of November, 1997 Unesco bestowed upon him the "Fellini" medal.

ROSS MCELWEE

Ross McElwee grew up in North Carolina. He graduated from Brown University and later from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received MS in filmmaking in a program headed by documentarian Richard Leacock. His career began in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina where he was a studio. He was a cameraman for local evening news, housewife helper shows, and "gospel hour" programs broadcast by the local television station. Later, he worked freelance shooting films for documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and then John Marshall, in Namibia. McElwee started producing and directing documentaries in 1976. Ross McElwee has made six feature-length documentaries as well as several shorter films. Most of his films were shot in his homeland of the American South, among them the critically acclaimed "Sherman's March," "Time Indefinite," "Six O'Clock News, " and "Bright Leaves." "Sherman's March" won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. It was cited by the National Board of Film Critics as one of the five best films of 1986. Time Indefinitewon best film award in several festivals and was distributed theatrically throughout the U.S. Six O'Clock News won best documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival. These three films were broadcast in the U.S. over PBS and nationally in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia. McElwee's films have been included in the festivals of Berlin, London, Vienna, Rotterdam, Florence, Sydney, and Wellington. Retrospectives include the Museum of Modern Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the American Museum of the Moving Image, New York; and tats gnraux du film documentaire, 1997, in Lussas, France. McElwee has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute, and the Massachusetts Arts Council. He has twice been awarded fellowships in filmmaking by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000, "Sherman's March" was selected for a Cinma du Rel retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and four of his films were featured in a selection of western documentaries shown for the first time in Tehran, Iran. Sherman's March was also chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000 as an "historically significant American motion picture." Ross McElwee has been teaching filmmaking at Harvard University since 1986 where he is a professor in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies.

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