Hamid Rahmanian

Hamid Rahmanian

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Film - Video

Competition: US & Canada

Hamid Rahmanian is a filmmaker and graphic artist.  He was educated in Tehran, Iran, where he gained his B.F.A. in graphic design from Tehran University. His work as a graphic designer spans more than two decades.  He owned and managed a top firm in Tehran for five years.  In 1992, he received the highest honor and was awarded recognition as the youngest professional designer in Iran.  He has received numerous awards for his achievements and his work has been exhibited in international festivals and competitions. He has continued to work as a graphic designer in the U.S. and has been commissioned to do work for cultural organizations and commercial companies including the United Nations, GQ magazine, Lincoln Center, Tribeca Film Institute, Pacifica Radio/Democracy Now!, Aramex, and Eurasia Foundation.

Mr. Rahmanian moved to the United States and earned a M.F.A. in computer animation in 1997 from Pratt Institute.  He received the First Place College Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was nominated for a Student Academy Award, and was in competition at Annecy International Animation Festival for his animation, The Seventh Day.  According to Barry Newman of the Wall Street Journal, in 1996 he was the youngest recipient ever to receive the National Interest Waiver from the U.S. for his outstanding work as an artist.  After completing his studies, he was hired by Disney Feature Animation Company as a Look Development Artist where he worked on Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Dinosaur.

In 1998, Mr. Rahmanian left Disney and established his own production company, Fictionville Studio.  His first 35mm short film An I Within, received Kodak’s Best Cinematography Award, Best American Short from the LA International Short Film Festival, and Special Achievement Award from the USA Film Festival.  He went on to make three documentaries. Breaking Bread (2000) and Sir Alfred of Charles de Gaulle Airport (2001) were well received by the media and worldwide audiences. Shahrbanoo (2002) first premiered on PBS station WNET where it received the highest rating for an independently produced documentary and has been broadcast on networks around the globe.  His first feature length fiction film, Day Break (2005), premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, went on to screen at festivals and theaters all over the world, including the Venice and Tribeca Film Festivals in 2006, and won numerous international awards.  Variety  called it an “impressive debut feature that works like a ticking time bomb.”  The Glass House (2008), a feature-length documentary, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and International Documentary Festival Amsterdam and was the winner of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Human Rights Award, among other awards.  Variety praised its “superb cinema verite style.”

His films have been used in the NGO sector to combat negative stereotypes about Iranians, to promote anti-capital punishment laws in the U.S., and to raise funds and awareness for the plights of disadvantaged women and girls around the world. His films have been televised on international networks, including PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC, Channel 4, BBC, DR2, and Al Jazeera.

In 2003, Mr. Rahmanian co-founded and was President (2004-2007) of the nonprofit organization ARTEEAST, a leading New York–based nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging a growing global audience with the contemporary arts of the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2009, he wrote and illustrated a graphic autobiography entitled To Myself with Love; illustrations from it formed the exhibition entitled Multiverse at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in 2011.  In 2013, Mr. Rahmanian undertook the immense task of illustrating and commissioning a new translation and adaptation of the tenth-century Persian epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, entitled Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings. This best-selling 600-page art book, which the Wall Street Journal lauded as a “masterpiece,” was published by the Quantuck Lane Press and distributed by W. W. Norton & Company.

He is currently working on a new feature-length narrative film titled Snow (release date: 2015).

Other websites:

Fictionville Studio

The Epic of the Persian Kings


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