Archive for April 20th, 2009

Director Ramin Bahrani is coming to NWFF

April 20, 2009

Northwest Film Forum is pleased to host award winning filmmaker Ramin Bahrani and a first look screening of his latest film, Goodbye Solo, on Wednesday, April 29, at 7pm. Bahrani will also lead a Master Class at NWFF on Thursday, April 28, at 6 pm, during which he will discuss making truthful cinema about the immigrant experience.

Through a set of seemingly disenfranchised characters, writer/director Ramin Bahrani uncovers the rich lives of those living on the edge in the contemporary United States. By working with non-actors and a small crew, he captures an intense intimacy that borders on documentary. Bahrani was born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Iranian-born parents. He made several short films including Backgammon (1998) before spending three years in Iran working on his thesis film for Columbia University Strangers (2000). He received a BA in Film Studies from Columbia where he now teaches.

Following Strangers, he lived in Paris before returning to the U.S. to begin work on his first feature film Man Push Cart (2005). Man Push Cart premiered at the Venice International Film Festival (2005) and later screened at the Sundance Film Festival (2006). The film won over 10 international prizes, including the FIPRESCI international critics prize at the London Film Festival (2005), before being released around the world to wide critical acclaim. It was nominated for a Breakthrough Director Gotham Award (2006), and for three Independent Spirit Awards (2007): Best First Film, Best Lead Actor (Ahmad Razvi), and Best Cinematographer (Michael Simmonds). His assured direction and original neorealist screenplay earned him accolades such as the “Someone to Watch Award” at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards.

Bahrani’s second film, Chop Shop (2007), was co-written by Bahareh Azimi and produced by Lisa Muskat (George Washington) and Big Beach Films (Little Miss Sunshine). It premiered during the Director’s Fortnight at the 2007 Cannes International Film Festival and screened as an official selection at both the Toronto Film Festival (2007) and the Berlin Film Festival (2008). It has its Seattle premiere at Northwest Film Forum in 2008. Chop Shop was released worldwide to universal critical acclaim, winning several prizes, including the Acura “Someone to Watch” Independent Spirit Award (2008) for Bahrani. In 2008, lead Actor Alejandro Polanco was nominated for a Gotham Breakthrough Acting Award, and Bahrani key collaborator Michael Simmonds was again nominated for Best Cinematographer at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards, where Bahrani was also nominated as Best Director. Chop Shop was on countless top 10 lists for 2008, including critic Roger Ebert’s, who hailed it as a masterpiece. Ebert also commented, “After only three films, Bahrani has established himself as a major director.”

In 2008, Bahrani premiered his third feature film, Goodbye Solo, as an official selection of the Venice Film Festival where it won the prestigious FIPRESCI international critics prize for Best Film. The film’s North American premiere was at the Toronto Film Festival and producer Jason Orans received an Independent Spirit Award nomination (2009) as “A Producer to Watch.” Bahrani was recently awarded the prestigious Guggenheim award.
Events involving Ramin Bahrani at Northwest Film Forum are as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 28 at 6pm
    Master Class with Ramin Bahrani
    $20 ($15 NWFF members)
    Meet with visiting artist Ramin Bahrani and join a discussion about making truthful cinema. Ramin started his production company, Noruz Films, to make cinema with artistic independence as its mandate. His films feature stories that are set on a background that examines the dynamics of ethnicity in urban America. We invite you to bring short samples of your films and your ideas to discuss and learn how Ramin approaches filmmaking to raise issues about the outsider experience.
  • Wednesday, April 29 at 7pm
    Goodbye Solo
    Introduced by director Ramin Bahrani
    The differences in age and family culture create an interesting conflict in Bahrani’s latest film. While Senegalese taxi driver Solo’s winning joie de vivre is embraced by everyone he meets, he can’t charm 70-year-old William, a mysterious fare he picks up late one night in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. When he asks to be taken to a location where many suicides have taken place, Solo attempts to discover why the man is so troubled. (2008, 35mm, 91 minutes.)

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