2018 CineIran Jury

Godfrey Cheshire


Godfrey Cheshire is a film critic, journalist and filmmaker based in New York City. A native of North Carolina, he co-founded Raleigh’s Spectator Magazine and began writing film criticism professionally in 1978. After moving to New York in 1991, he served for a decade as chief film critic for New York Press; his writings have also appeared in The New York Times, Variety, Film Comment, The Village Voice, Interview, Cineaste and other publications. He has also won three Arts Criticism awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Cheshire’s areas of special interest include Iranian film, the conversion to digital cinema and cinematic representations of the American South. He is a former chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle and a member of the National Society of Film Critics.
(Biography taken from rogerebert.com)

Babak Payami

Babak Payami Head Shot-100.jpg

Babak Payami is an acclaimed filmmaker of Azerbaijani-Iranian descent. He was born in Tehran, Iran in 1966, spent his childhood years in Afghanistan until after the Soviet invasion, studied in Germany during the mid 1980’s and moved to Canada where he studied Cinema at the University of Toronto and began his filmmaking career. He made his first feature film One More Day (2000) in Iran which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival Panorama Special and earned him the best artistic contribution award at the Tokyo International Film Festival. His Second feature film Secret Ballot (2001) premiered in Competition at the Venice Film festival where he won several awards including the Silver Lion for Best Director. His third feature film The Silence Between Two Thoughts (2003) premiered at the Horizonti section of the Venice Film Festival and won the Best Feature Film Award at the Newport Film Festival among others. In 2016, he produced and directed Manhattan Undying with Hollywood actors Luke Grimes and Sarah Roemer that was released by Paramount Pictures and e-One. He is currently in pre-production for his second Hollywood feature titled Rattlesnake. Babak Payami has also taught in leading film institutions such as the Ludwigsburg Film Akademie in Germany, conducted numerous workshops on filmmaking in Europe and Canada and served as Artistic Director of Tirgan, the largest Iranian Arts and Culture festival outside of Iran. He was also the creative director of the media division at Fabrica, a communication arts research facility for the Benetton group.

Marjan Alizadeh


Born in Tehran, Marjan Alizadeh, who holds a BA in law, started her work in the industry in 2000 as a film promoter at CMI (International department of Cima Film). In 2013, she established the International distribution department of Iran Novin Film, which has been an instrumental factor in introducing talented, young filmmakers to a worldwide audience. Marjan is a renowned writer of novels & haikus and has made two films. Her first collection of haikus was titled “Night on the Ground”. and her first novel, published in October 2015, was titled “Some Months and Eights Days”.  She made her filmmaking debut in the year 2007 with a fiction film titled "Men Understand Each Other”, for which she received award in the Best Short Film category from the Sundance Film Festival for her short drama. In 2009, she directed her first feature documentary, titled “Persian Catwalk”. The film was screened at more than 30 international festivals to much acclaim. She won the award for Best Directing and Best Documentary from the Vesoul International Film Festival in France, among many others. She has subsequently written more than 11 screenplays for other filmmakers, including Mehrdad Farid’s Bita’s Impatience. She has directed a feature documentary "Women & Violence" in Toronto for Elspeth Heyworth Center in 2017. In the same year, she launched ArtHouse Cinematheque in Canada. ArtHouse Cinematheque is an arthouse international sales agency focused on tracking and accompanying high-profile, director-driven independent films.

Arsalan Baraheni


Arsalan Baraheni is an Iranian-Canadian filmmaker and the founder of Minima Films in Toronto, a film production company that produces independent documentary and fiction art films. His films have an experimental, poetic, philosophical and social quality and play with the formal language of cinema and narrative structures. They reshape genres and blend fact and fiction, documentary and drama. Exilic Trilogy is a collection which features three of his docudramas, and premiered on Persian BBC, and has been shown at festivals, theatres, and universities around the world. Arsalan has also shot a feature film called Actors of God, a film within a film about the process of making an indie film and the characters in exile who are trapped in the script of the writer. His upcoming feature is called Silent Birds Fly, a multilingual Canadian film in English, Russian, Chinese and Persian. He won the best documentary director prize at the Amsterdam Film Festival and was awarded the National Ethnic Press and Council Media of Canada for his contributions in media.