ACTOR SHAUN TOUB RECEIVES 2014 REZA BADIYI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT THE NOOR FILM FESTIVAL
7th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival Announces Award Winners at Closing Ceremonies
I had a nice time covering the Noor Film Festival. One of my first fellow Persian peeps that I interviewed in show business was Shaun Toub, so it was really nice to see him be honored with the prestigious Reza Badiyi Achievement Award. “It’s definitely an honor to receive this award from my people and especially since it’s named after a great legend like Reza Badiyi,” said acclaimed film and television star Shaun Toub (“Iron Man”, “Crash”, “The Kite Runner” and “Homeland”). The 7th Annual Noor Iranian Film Festival (NIFF) honored Toub with its NIFF is 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.
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. “And to have the award presented to me by someone like Bob (Yari) whom I’ve had the honor of working with on “Crash” is wonderful. I will also be working with Bob again on “Papa,” so it feels great. It’s a wonderful small business in that you come across the same people” said Toub.
“Shaun you represent your people very well and we’re all very proud of you. I’m proud to have worked with you on “Crash” and “Papa,” but I’m even more proud to call you my friend,” said Yari. Bob was bestowed this prestigious award a few years back. “I remember as a child being 13 years old making 8mm movies and watching TV and I saw this Iranian name show up in the credits and I was so impressed with Reza Badiyi and it gave me a little bit of hope that I could enter this small club” added Yari.
Actor and comedian Maz Jobrani (“True Blood,” “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero”), who is also a good friend of Toub’s also honored him with a humorous speech. “I’ve known Shaun for 20 years and we both had a little more hair back then,” joked Jobrani who referred to Toub as “the Persian Jason Statham.”
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 writer, director, producer and 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 such as actor and comedian Ali Pourtash (“The Stoning of Saraya M.”), actor Ali Saam (“Argo”) and actor Navid Negahban (“Homeland”, “The Stoning of Soraya M”) among others.
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 talented actors such as Mahnaz Afshar (“Shirin”, “Cease Fire”, “The Wooden Bridge”); Omid Abtahi (“ Argo”, “Those Who Kill”, “The Boys of Abu Ghraib”); and Catherine Dent (“The Shield”, “Gang Related”, “The Mentalist”, “Castle”), who is also an award-winning director (“Silk”).
“At the Noor Film Festival, you see a lot more than just amazing films, passionate filmmakers and raw talent. You see the richness of the Iranian culture, ” said Sheba Khodadad, publicist for the festival and owner of http://www.6degreesdeep.com/ who did an outstanding job of handling the bustling red carpet and bringing great media to the event. It was the first time this roving reporter saw hint bottled water for members of the press, which was a nice perk.
“At the awards night and closing ceremonies, you feel the warmth of our people and the love that never seizes in celebrating one another. It is a real “community,” she added.
“Shaun is paving the way for others through his work. In a tell-all interview that night, he disclosed his secret to success: persistence. Like many visionaries before him, Shaun attributes his remarkable success to never giving up or giving in. He added that ‘life is about getting lucky but it leads nowhere if you’re not prepared to take it on’. As the saying goes, luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” added Khodadad.
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
The winning films will travel on to Daytona Beach, Florida January 2015.
About Shaun Toub:
Through a chance encounter with David Wilder, an astute and well regarded 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 made for television movies. 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. More info on this talented journeyman actor at http://www.shauntoub.com/
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 (“Septembers of Shiraz,””Sons of Anarchy”) 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 more information, please visit www.noorfilmfestival.com.