Business players

Amir Esfandiari, market director

Esfandiari began his government career as head of Farabi's co-production department and by the mid-1990s was head of international affairs, setting up the Fajr International Film Festival market in 1997. The key government figure charged with taking Iranian cinema abroad.

Contact: Farabi,

Mohammad Attebai, producer, distributor

Attebai, who produced Jafar Panahi's The Circle among other international hits, heads up Iranian Independents, producer-distributor for some of Iran's most innovative young directors. Attebai is currently in pre-production on Parviz Shahbazi's Answer To Letters, selected for the Pusan Promotion Plan, and distributing new features by Manijeh Hekmat (Three Women) and Mani Haghighi (Canaan).

Contact: Iranian Independents,

Behrooz Hashemian, producer

Hashemian set up Paris-based Silkroad Production with Setareh Farsi in 2000, specialising in co-productions; recent successes include Kambozia Partovi's Cafe Transit, sold by Magrytte Films, and Bahman Ghobadi's Golden Shell-winner Half Moon. Hashemian is currently in production on Behnam Behzadi's Tehran-set We Only Live Twice.

Contact: Silkroad Production,

Katayoon Shahabi, producer, distributor

Working with established and upcoming directors (including Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Mania Akbari and Mohammad Rasoulof), Shahabi's Sheherazad Media International (SMI) is resolutely international in its outlook. New projects include Poorya Azarbayjani's Unfinished Stories, about three young women living on the streets of Tehran. The company has also produced several documentaries, usually working with Amsterdam's Idfa.

Contact: SMI,


Mani Haghighi and Asghar Farhadi, writers, directors

Haghighi (Abadan, Men At Work) and Farhadi (Beautiful City) co-wrote Farhadi's Fireworks Wednesday, winner of Chicago's Gold Hugo Award, and are now collaborating on Haghighi's new film Canaan (in production), about an affluent Tehran couple on the brink of divorce, produced by Hedayat Film.

Contact: Mani Haghighi,

Mohammad Shirvani, writer, director, producer

Shirvani followed several award-winning shorts with experimental indie feature Navel and quirky documentary President Mir Qanbar, about a rural cleric running for office; new feature Alibaba, His Wife And Motorcycle (in development) again has support from the Hubert Bals Fund. Seven Blind Female Film-makers, co-produced by Shirvani's company RoyAbeen Media, premieres at Fajr.

Contact: RoyAbeen Media,

Kambozia Partovi, writer

As a writer, Partovi's credits include Jafar Panahi's The Circle, Alireza Raisian's The Deserted Station and Niki Karimi's One Night. Director of Iran's 2006 Foreign Oscar entry Cafe Transit, he is now in negotiations with Merchant Ivory to adapt Terence Ward's 2002 novel Searching For Hassan.


Mohsen Amiryoussefi, director, writer

Amiryoussefi's pithy black comedy Bitter Dream, about a funeral director facing his own death, won a Camera d'Or special mention at Cannes in 2004; he is now editing his second feature, Manly Secret, and working on a new screenplay. Agent DreamLab Films is looking to develop both this project and Heaven's Gate by Saman Salour, winner of the special jury prize at Locarno for A Few Kilos Of Dates For A Funeral, as Iranian-European co-productions.

Contact: DreamLab Films,