04 – 08 DECEMBER 2019


The 8th Persian International Film Festival was presented in partnership with Palace Cinemas and showcased the largest film program dedicated to Persian cinema internationally. The 8th Festival was dedicated to women from the Persian-speaking communities and paid tribute to their strength, courage and artistic expression through screening films by women or with women in leading roles, depicting some of the challenges and difficulties they endure and overcome.





Parviz Shahbazi



Alireza Motamedi





Dr Michelle Langford

Michelle Langford is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her research spans the cinemas of Iran and Germany. Her research on Iranian cinema has focussed on gender, allegory and aesthetics and had appeared in leading film studies journals including Camera Obscura, Screen and Screening the Past. Her forthcoming book is entitled Allegory in Iranian Cinema: The Aesthetics of Poetry and Resistance (Bloomsbury). Her current research project looks at the German films of Iranian filmmaker Sohrab Shahid Saless.

Professor Shohini Chaudhuri

Shohini Chaudhuri is a Professor in the Department of Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Professor Chaudhuri’s main research and teaching area is World Cinema, with particular interests in film and human rights, film-philosophy, feminist and postcolonial theory. Her work develops transnational and comparative frameworks to explore links between different film cultures. She has written three books including Cinema of the Dark Side: Atrocity and the Ethics of Film Spectatorship (2014) and her current research seeks to transform our understanding of freedom of expression by exploring creativity and constraint in contemporary filmmaking in Iran and the Arab World. 

Dr Mahsa Salamati

Mahsa Salamati completed her PhD in Film Studies at the University of New South Wales. Her research is concerned with the dynamics and politics of transnational film circulation in the Iranian context. Her work focuses on cultural policies, the international film festival circuit and piracy. Mahsa is also the programs coordinator at Persian Film Festival.

Persian Cinema Near and Far: Creativity and Controversy

The Persian International Film Festival is now the largest festival dedicated to showcasing Persian films from Iran, Afghanistan and beyond. Join Professor Shohini Chaudhuri, Dr Michelle Langford and Dr Mahsa Salamati as they explore some of the ways that these filmmakers have approached questions of creativity. Along side this, they will look at some of the controversies that have emerged as these films have circulated the globe.

Time: Sunday 08 December 10:30 AM
Place: Palace Central
Cost: Free (RSVP Essential)


Time: Sunday 08 December 11:30 AM
Place: Palace Central
Cost: Cost: Free (RSVP Essential)

The Persian Film Festival is pleased to celebrate the launch of Michelle Langford’s new book, Allegory in Iranian Cinema: The Aesthetics of Poetry and Resistance (Bloomsbury, 2019).


Iranian filmmakers have long been recognised for creating a vibrant, aesthetically rich cinema whilst working under strict state censorship regulations. As Michelle Langford reveals, many have found indirect, allegorical ways of expressing forbidden topics and issues in their films. But for many, allegory is much more than a foil against haphazardly applied censorship rules. Drawing on a long history of allegorical expression in Persian poetry and the arts, allegory has become an integral part of the poetics of Iranian cinema. Allegory in Iranian Cinema explores the allegorical aesthetics of Iranian cinema, explaining how it has emerged from deep cultural traditions and how it functions as a strategy for both supporting and resisting dominant ideology. Allegory in Iranian Cinema explains how a centuries-old means of expression, interpretation, encoding and decoding becomes, in the hands of Iran’s most skilled cineastes, a powerful tool with which to critique and challenge social and cultural norms.


At the Closing Night of the Festival Jury members announced the winners of the 2019 GOLDEN GAZELLE AWARD for Best Feature, Best Documentary and Best Short Film.

  • Winner of Best Feature: SEVEN AND A HALF by Navid Mahmoudi. Special Mention in the Feature Film Category went to AFRICAN VIOLET by Mona Zandi Haghighi.
  • Winner of Best Documentary: SHOUTING AT THE WIND by Siavash Jamali and Ata Mehrad. Special Mention in the Documentary Category went to BELOVED directed by Yaser Talebi.
  • Winner of Best Short Film: TATOO by Farhad Delaram. Special Mention in the Short Film Category went to MANICURE directed by Arman Fayaz.


Susan Prior works extensively in film, television and theatre. She received an AACTA Award for David Michod’s film, The Rover. Other films include: Jasper Jones, Animal Kingdom, Book Week, Rising Wolf, Aim High in Creation, Not Suitable for Children, A Cold Summer (co-writer) Idiot Box. She starred in the Oscar-nominated short The Saviour, and Jennifer Kent’s Monster. On television: The Gloaming, Les Norton, Glitch, Riot, Safe Harbour, Top of the Lake, Rake, Puberty Blues (AACTA Award nomination). She has written articles for Inside Film magazine as well.
Robert Mackenzie is an Australian supervising sound editor who has been enriching the film world with his creative soundscapes for over twenty-five years. He body of work includes Animal Kingdom (2010), The Hunter (2011), Lore (2012), Felony (2013), The Grandmaster (2013), The Rover (2014), Deadline Gallipoli (2015), Partisan (2015), Lion (2016), and critically acclaimed war-drama film Hacksaw Ridge (2017), for which he received two Academy Award nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Most recently Rob has completed work on The Nightingale and Mystify, Judy & Punch, Top End Wedding, and in addition to David Michôd’s medieval epic, The King.
Rachel Ward is an actress, screenwriter and film and television director. She is known for The Thorn Birds (1983), Sharky’s Machine (1981) and Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982). She garnered nomination for ‘New Star of the Year’ award at the Golden Globe for playing Dominoe in the film ‘Sharky’s Machine’. Her portrayal of Meggie Cleary in the television miniseries ‘The Thorn Birds’ fetched her a second Golden Globe nomination, afterwhich Rachel Ward featured in several screen productions and feature films. She won several directors awards for ‘The Big House’. Her directorial works also include the film ‘Martha’s New Coat’ and ‘Beautiful Kate’.
Bonnie Elliott is an award-winning cinematographer who works across drama, documentary and video art. Bonnie’s work has screened at major international festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Tribeca, Rotterdam, Sydney & Melbourne. She has received recognition from the Australian Cinematographer’s Society on numerous occasions. Bonnie shot her debut feature film in Iran. MY TEHRAN FOR SALE, directed by Granaz Moussavi, premiered at the 2009 Adelaide Film Festival, and screened at international film festivals including Toronto, Pusan and Rotterdam.
Mojean Aria is an Australian actor, writer and director who won the 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship award. He attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) at the age of fourteen. In 2004 he won a scholarship to The McDonald College High School of Performing Arts. In 2005 he landed a lead role in the feature film Cross Life directed by Claire McCarthy, which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival. He later relocated to Los Angeles. His work has been screened at; Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and more.


Mitzi Goldman is a Producer of Good Pitch² Australia and currently CEO of the Documentary Australia Foundation, bringing philanthropists and filmmakers together to create social change. Mitzi has written, produced, edited and directed award-winning international documentaries for over 25 years. From 2002–2008 Mitzi was Co-Head of Documentary at AFTRS. Her production company, Looking Glass Pictures Pty Ltd, specialises in social impact documentary. Mitzi holds a BA from University of Sydney and a Phd in Cultural Studies.
Stefan Moore is a producer/director and executive producer of documentaries in the USA, Britain and Australia. His documentaries have received four Emmys and numerous other awards. In the US, he was co-director of TVG Productions in New York, a series producer at WNET and a producer for the prime time CBS News magazine program 48 HOURS. In the UK Stefan worked as a series producer at the BBC, and in Australia he was an Executive Producer for Film Australia and the ABC where he commissioned a slate of critically acclaimed films and series.
Megan McMurchy is an independent film and television producer with more than 50 hours of television credits. Most recently she executive-produced the two-part documentary Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare for ABC TV. She co-produced feature documentary Tyke Elephant Outlaw (BBC, Netflix) and produced the web series I Luv U But. Her award-winning documentaries include Sadness, Mr Patterns, Mystique of the Pearl, For Love or Money, and the series Fine Line and Hybrid Life. She also produced the feature films Footy Legends, Talk and Breathing Under Water.

Tom Zubrycki is a filmmaker and producer whose award winning documentaries have earned an international reputation for their truthfulness, realism and humanity. For the last 40 years, his work has mapped Australia’s changing social and political landscape. He has written and directed 15 documentaries, most of them feature-length, and produced another 22 with mostly early career filmmakers. He also has been actively involved in a number of industry organisations including the Australian Directors Guild and OZDOX, the Australian Documentary Forum.