As a part of the 2013 Carnegie International, the Carnegie Museum of Art sponsored the first ever visit of controversial Iranian filmmaker, Kamran Shirdel, to the United States.
“Kamran Shirdel's films have been censored, banned and celebrated for documenting hidden parts of Iranian society — the plight of Tehran's prostitutes, the desperation of female prisoners, and the reality behind false heroes,” writes Kevin Begos for the Associated Press.
Shirdel began his career studying film in Italy under the likes of Roberto Rossellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini. When he returned to Iran in the mid-1960s, he was given a job creating films for the Ministry of Culture and Art, though he was soon expelled for failing to portray the prosperous images the Shah was hoping to propagate. He went on to create several documentaries exposing the margins of life in Tehran.
Until now, Shirdel’s work has not been well known in the United States. A professor of Iranian Film at Northwestern University, Hamid Naficy says his work will be eye-opening for Americans who don’t know much about Tehran.
Though Shirdel’s engagement in Pittsburgh has ended, he will be travelling to California and New York for speaking engagements at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University.