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Iranian nominated for Oscar

By Payman Khorsandi
British Iranian Business News
February 2000

Director Mehdi Norowzian's Killing Joe has been nominated for the Best Short Picture award at the Oscars. He said he felt proud when he was informed that he has joined a clutch of British talent at this year's ceremony, including American Beauty director Sam Mendes.

Killing Joe, a 45-minute film set in 1963, tells the story of a 13-year-old boy in London who shares John F. Kennedy's initials and is fascinated with the president's life. The £100,000 movie was not made to "make money as such", according to 40-year-old Norowzian, but it heralds his switch to feature films from commercials directing, where his works ranks currently ranks among the world's best.

Norowzian speaks fluent Farsi and came to Britain when he was a teenager. He is the fourth Iranian to be nominated for an Oscar, following Hossein Amini (Jude, 1996), Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, 1998) and Majid Majidi (Children of Heaven, 1999). Iranian cinema, however, is not something he jumps up and down about.

"There's been a few good films but none of them receive wide distribution, like other foreign films," he said. He has no plans for incorporating his Persian cultural roots into his work until he is well established as a feature film director. "First you have to make your name, then you can do the personal stuff."

Norowzian lives in north London with his family.


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