Samira Makhmalbaf

Active - 1998 - 2008  |   Born - Feb 15, 1980   |   Genres - Drama, Culture & Society

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Biography by Tom Vick

The daughter of famed Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Samira Makhmalbaf has become -- at an astonishingly young age -- one of the world's most lauded directors in her own right. At the age of 18, she became the youngest director ever invited to the Cannes Film Festival for her film The Apple (1998). Two years later, she became the youngest director ever to win the jury prize at Cannes for Blackboards, a feat she repeated in 2003 with At Five in the Afternoon. Makhmalbaf made her movie debut at a very early age, acting in her father's film The Cyclist when she was just seven-years-old. At 14, claiming that her instructors had nothing more to teach her, she quit school and began learning the craft of filmmaking from her father, who established the Makhmalbaf Film House, a sort of family-run film school and production company that has produced films not only by Samira, but her mother Marzieh Meshkini (The Day I Became a Woman), her brother Maysam, and her younger sister Hana, each of whom have made video documentaries about Samira's filmmaking activities. Makhmalbaf's films combine a deep concern for social justice with a poetic style reminiscent of her father's work. Her debut feature, The Apple, was based on the true story of two developmentally disabled girls who were kept cooped up in their tiny Tehran home for the first 12 years of their lives, and used actual family members to play themselves. It was invited to more than 100 film festivals and screened in over 30 countries. Makhmalbaf continued her success with Blackboards, which addresses the condition of Iran's Kurdish population through the adventures of two itinerant teachers. She made history again in 2003 with At Five in the Afternoon, the first film made in post-Taliban Afghanistan. A fixture at film festivals worldwide both as a juror and participant, Makhmalbaf has been both an outspoken political provocateur and a deeply talented filmmaker.

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