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Bahman Ghobadi

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Bahman Ghobadi
بهمن قبادی
Bahman Ghobadi at a press conference at San Sebastián Film Festival (2006)
Born (1969-02-01) February 1, 1969 (age 55)
EducationIran Broadcasting University
Occupation(s)Director, producer, writer

Bahman Ghobadi (Persian: بهمن قبادی; Kurdish: به‌همه‌ن قوبادی, romanized: Behmen Qubadî; born 1 February 1969) is an Iranian Kurdish film director, producer and writer. He belongs to the "new wave" of Iranian cinema.[1][2]


He was born in Baneh, a Kurdish city in Iran. His family moved to Sanandaj in 1981. Ghobadi received a Bachelor of Arts in film directing from Iran Broadcasting College. After a brief career in industrial photography, Ghobadi began making short 8 mm films. His documentary Life in Fog won numerous awards. Bahman Ghobadi was assistant director on Abbas Kiarostami's The Wind Will Carry Us.[3]

Bahman Ghobadi founded Mij Film in 2000, a company with the aim of production of films in Iran about its different ethnic groups. His first feature film was A Time for Drunken Horses (2000), the first Kurdish film produced in Iran.[4] The film won the Caméra d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. His second feature was Marooned in Iraq (2002), which brought him the Gold Plaque from the Chicago International Film Festival. His third feature, Turtles Can Fly, followed in 2004, winning the Glass Bear and Peace Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.[5]

In 2006, Ghobadi's Half Moon won the Golden Shell at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Iran's renowned actors Golshifteh Farahani, Hassan Poorshirazi and Hedyeh Tehrani acted in this movie. The music of the movie was made by Iran's musician Hossein Alizadeh. The film, which was a collaborative project by Iran, France, Austria and Iraq, was shot fully in Iranian Kurdistan. However, it narrates the story of a group of Iranian Kurdish musicians who would like to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan and organize a concert there.[6]

In 2006, Index on Censorship gave Ghobadi an Index Film Award for making a significant contribution to freedom of expression through his film Turtles Can Fly.[7]

In May 2009, his film No One Knows About Persian Cats won an Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize ex-aequo when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. This film chronicles the hardships facing young Iranian musicians seeking to evade censorship.

In 2012, his next film Rhino Season was released at San Sebastian Film Festival. In this film he worked with Monica Belluci and combined an international cast.

Following critical success of this film, he also took part as one of the directors in anthology film Words with Gods directing the segment Kaboki.

In 2015, his feature documentary A Flag without a Country was released. The documentary that premiered at Sundance Film Festival is about Kurds, middle-east war and "Kurdistan", a nation with about 45m population and still without a country.

Following this documentary, he got back on fiction and directed The Four Walls in which he again assembled an international cast featuring Amir Aghaee, Funda Eryiğit and Denizhan Akbaba.

He is currently writing, directing, and producing, and actively participating in supporting human rights and freedom of speech all around the world.


Ghobadi at the presentation of his film Nobody Knows About Persian Cats in San Sebastián 2009

As director[edit]

Film Date
Golbaji 1990 short film
A Glance 1990 short film
Again Rain with Melody 1995 short film
Party 1996 short film
Like Mother 1996 short film
God's Fish 1996 short film
Notebook's Quote 1996 short film
Ding 1996 short film
Life in Fog 1997 short film
The Pigeon of Nader Flew 1997 short film
Telephone Booth 1997 short film
A Time for Drunken Horses 2000 feature film
Marooned in Iraq 2002 feature film
War is Over 2003 short film
Daf 2003 short film
Turtles Can Fly 2004 feature film
Half Moon 2006 feature film
No One Knows About Persian Cats 2009 feature film
Rhino Season 2012 feature film
Words with Gods, segment Kaboki 2014 feature film
A Flag without a Country 2015 documentary
The Four Walls 2021 feature film

As actor[edit]

Ghobadi made a cameo appearance in the 2019 film The Irishman, where he portrayed a prison cook who serves Jimmy Hoffa an ice cream sundae. While Ghobadi does not enjoy acting, he says he appeared in the film out of respect for Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino.

Jury Duties[edit]

Ghobadi has served as jury president or jury member in many international festivals.[8]


Ghobadi, as an exile filmmaker, started many campaigns for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. In 2021, he wrote a letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science to create an initiative to give exile directors possibility to submit their work for best International Film category.[9]

He has also played an important role on social media during the protests in Iran following the event of Mahsa Amini's death in September 2022. He informed public and followers about the incidents happening in Iran, supporting the cause of Iranian people standing for themselves and against oppressive Iranian regime. He has also written an open letter to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science to invite the film industry to support the democratic cause of his people.[10]


  1. ^ "Iranian New Wave, by Jeffrey M. Anderson". Greencine.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  2. ^ The Iranian New Wave, Iranian filmmakers enjoy a golden age Archived February 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Full cast and crew for Bad ma ra khahad bord, IMDd. Retrieved November 10, 2012
  4. ^ Peter Scarlet. Kurdish Director, Stuck Between Iraq and Iran, The New York Times, December 16, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2012
  5. ^ Awards for Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand, IMDd. Retrieved November 10, 2012
  6. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis. Harsh Realities and Mystical Power, The New York Times, December 14, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2012
  7. ^ "Freedom of Expression Film Award for Turtles Can Fly". www.mijfilm.com. Archived from the original on November 4, 2006.
  8. ^ "BAHMAN GHOBADI – MijFilm".
  9. ^ "Iran's Bahman Ghobadi calls for Oscar recognition for directors in exile".
  10. ^ "Iranian Filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi Asks Academy to Support Mahsa Amini Protests". September 24, 2022.

External links[edit]