Rouzbeh Rashidi (born in Tehran, 1980) is an Iranian-Irish filmmaker. He has been making films since 2000, at which time he founded the Experimental Film Society in Tehran. He has always worked completely away from mainstream conceptions of filmmaking, striving to escape the stereotypes of conventional storytelling. Instead, he roots his cinematic style in a poetic interaction of image and sound. He generally eschews scriptwriting, seeing the process of making moving images as exploration rather than illustration. His work is deeply engaged with film history.
His films are inspired by, and constructed around, images, locations, and characters and their immediate situations. The stylistic elements that make up his distinctively personal film language include the use of natural light and single light sources, professional and non-professional actors, slow-paced rhythms, abstract plots, static shots, and minimal dialogue. He employs a wide range of different formats and devices to make his films, including video (digital and analogue) especially DSLR cameras (achieving complex visual effects through an elaborate mixture of filters, lenses, and in-camera color grading), Super 8mm, portable lightweight personal cameras (such as GoPro, webcam, and mobile phone). His consistently low-budget work is entirely self-funded and made with complete creative freedom.
Between 2000 and 2008, Rouzbeh Rashidi directed and produced forty no-budget short films. Since 2008 he has focused on feature projects making thirty-one feature-length films, of which twenty-eight were entirely zero-budget and three low-budget productions funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. In 2011 he initiated the Homo Sapiens Project (HSP), an ongoing series of personal experimental video works. Since its inception HSP has undergone a totally organic metamorphosis, drastically mutating from cryptic film diaries and oneiric sketches to fully-polished feature films. As a result, the project has created many different experiences for Rashidi as a filmmaker; yet while HSP is steadily evolving, one thing remains constant: the view to create impressionistic portraits of people and places, suffusing them with an eerie sense of mystery that is perhaps reminiscent of horror and sci-fi cinema. Rashidi has collaborated with a large selection of artists from all over the world and, has so far completed 199 instalments that vary from 1 to 120 minutes in duration. The Homo Sapiens Project has now reached a crucial point in its existence: the 200th instalment will be a major collaborative feature film.
His films have been shown in many film festivals, galleries, and showcases throughout the world, including Iran, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, UAE, USA, Hungary, India, Italy, Greece, France, England, Australia, Croatia, Brazil, Argentina, Philippines, Switzerland, Peru, Chile, Germany, Spain, Poland, Thailand, Russia, Austria, Canada, Portugal and Colombia. Full details HERE.
Rouzbeh Rashidi is the recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland’s ‘Film Project Award’ and ‘Film Bursary Award’ several times for his experimental feature films and Homo Sapiens Project.
‘Spooool.ie’ acclaimed his recent feature, ‘Ten Years in the Sun’, which was premiered at Dublin International Film Festival 2015 (JDIFF), as “a bold and unconventional film … One of the standout films from this year’s JDIFF”.
Rashidi moved to Ireland in 2004 and currently lives and works in Dublin.
For an in-depth account of his work in the context of contemporary Irish experimental film, see ‘New Voices in Irish Experimental Cinema’, an article by Donal Foreman.
In mid-2014, the first comprehensive history of the Remodernist film movement, ‘Le cinéma remoderniste: Histoire et théorie d’une esthétique contemporaine’, was published at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris. It is a 244-page thesis by Florian Maricourt, under the research direction of Nicole Brenez. Read it HERE (in French).
The Experimental Film Society (EFS) is an independent, not-for-profit entity specializing in avant-garde, independent and no/low budget filmmaking. It was founded in 2000 in Tehran, Iran by Rouzbeh Rashidi and has been based in Dublin, Ireland since 2004. It unites works by a dozen filmmakers and associated artists scattered across the globe, whose films are distinguished by an uncompromising devotion to personal, experimental cinema. They have in common an exploratory approach to filmmaking and their films foreground mood, atmosphere, visual rhythms, the interplay of sound and picture, and the nature and subjectivity of the image and the gaze that engenders it, as well as the permeability of the borders between fiction and lyrical filmmaking. Although an international organization, EFS is notably at the centre of a new wave of Irish experimental filmmaking.
Rouzbeh Rashidi archives and produces films by EFS members, as well as arranging, programming, and presenting screenings of this constantly-growing body of work. He also manages all EFS online video hosting (including EFS ‘Video On Demand’) where a selection of short, medium, and feature-length films are available for streaming and download. As a filmmaker in his own right, Rashidi has conceived and produced more than 30 feature films, 200 shorts, and the EFS sound project ‘Cinema Cyanide’. Read the EFS statement HERE.
Rouzbeh Rashidi is the founding editor of EFS Publications, an online journal edited and published by the Experimental Film Society.
Grants, Bursaries & Awards
- 2017 – Culture Ireland Travel Award
- 2016 – Arts Council of Ireland Project Award (Kirkos Ensemble)
- 2016 – Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Bursary Award
- 2015 – Arts Council of Ireland Film Project Award
- 2015 – Arts Council of Ireland Travel and Training Award
- 2015 – Arts Council of Ireland Film Bursary Award
- 2014 – Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (Studio 6 Open / EFS)
- 2014 – Arts Council of Ireland Film Bursary Award
- 2013 – Arts Council of Ireland Film Project Award
- 2011 – Arts Council of Ireland Film Project Award
- 2016 – Lichtenberg Studios (Berlin-Germany)
- 2015 – Lichtenberg Studios (Berlin-Germany)
- 2012 – The Guesthouse (Cork-Ireland)
- 2011 – The Guesthouse (Cork-Ireland)
Film Festival Awards & Nominations
- 2009 – 3 SMEDIAS AWARDS (Best Short Film)
- 2008 – Cork Youth International Film Festival (Best Short Film)
International Film Festival Jury Panel
- 2017 – Bogotá Experimental Film Festival
- 2007 – ST.Kevin’s College, Dublin, H.N.D In Media Production
- 2001 – K.C Javan, Tehran, Certificate of Filmmaking
- 2010 – Filmbase, Dublin, Editing (FCP 200 – Final Cut Pro 7)
- 2017_ Interview with FILM PANIC
- 2016 _ Interview with Émmsen Jafari
- 2016 _ Interview with The Underground Film Studio
- 2015 _ Interview with Dublin International Film Festival
- 2015 _ EFS Interview with Dublin Creative Review
- 2015 _ EFS Interview with Artdigiland Part ONE Part TWO
- 2014 _ Interview with Sam Fitzpatrick for MSc Thesis
- 2014 _ Interview with Celluloid Beatz Magazine
- 2011 _ Interview with Experimental Conversations
- 2010 _ Interview with Shargh Newspaper
- 2007 _ Interview with 7th Art Magazine
- 2003 _ Interview with Mehr News Agency
Press and Writings
- Read HERE
Festivals & Public Screenings
- Read HERE
- 2000 – Present Experimental Film Society
- 2010 – 2014 Rashidi-Devereaux Cinema
- 2010 – 2012 (An)Other Irish Cinema
- 2010 – 2011 Remodernist Film