Mojtaba Mirtahmasb was born in 1971 in the city of Kerman in Iran. He began and created his artistic life between the years of 1992-95 in University of Art (Mojtame’-e Daneshgāhiyeh Honar) in Tehran during preparation of his BA degree in Visual Art and Handicrafts. University of Art as the first intellectual and modern Art University after Islamic Revolution of Iran and war between Iran and Iraq was the best place for M.Mirtahmasb to meet the other artists in different fields of art, especially visual art such as photography, graphic design, painting, sculpturing, film making….
During 1992-95 he travelled a lot around Iran and did many little field research projects that his BA thesis is the result of these all. From one hand with his personal attraction to the “Shiite Rituals and Ceremonies” and the other hand his experiences in University of Art and preparation of his degree in the field of handicrafts he decided to work on “Iranian Islamic Material Culture”. “Artistic Manifestations of Islamic Culture in the Mourning Accessories of Moharram” is the title of his BA thesis. Beside his researches in university, M.Mirtahmasb always showed his personal talent and creativity regarding Photography and Cinematography.
His academic trainings during four years in University of Art, his personal curiosity and attractions to the “Islamic Visual Art and Cinematography of Iran” were the best reasons and potentials for him to directed first films of his artistic C.V. From 96 to 97 he directed 9 documentary-fiction films about the “Islamic Art and Material Culture of Iranian Shiism” under the global titles of the “Art Stories Series”, for introducing Iranian Traditional Handicrafts to Iranian young generations.
Here he show us his personal enthusiasms and interests to “The Art and Material Culture of Iran” mixed with his scientific knowledge and learning from his studies in University of Art.
In this series he worked on the subjects like ‘Alam (Banner), Qalamkâr (Calico making), Minâ (Art of Glazing, enamel work), Ayeneh-kāri (Mirror work on Islamic Architecture), Gachbori (Islamic lime carving), Kashikāri (Islamic tile work), Qalamzani (Islamic metal engraving), Patteh (Islamic needle work) and Mesgari (copper smith). These series of film financed mostly by Iranian Broadcasting for learn the Islamic Art and Material Culture of Iran to young generations. So it’s why in most of his films, M.Mirtahmasb has one child key personage who wants to learn and understand the function and creation of these traditional handicrafts.
M.Mirtahmasb personally says that this period of his works is mostly the beginning of his Cinematography character and he likes it. On 1997 during his military services as his professional activity in army, he directed three video clips regarding “War and Martyrs”.
Dāstān-e Khoramshahr (The Story of Khoramshahr), Sarzamin-e mādari (Motherland) and Setāreha (Stars) are his video clips of this period that got several national prices.
During 1998 till 2002 he produced and directed many short films about different subjects. Sedāy-e dovom (Back Vocal) and Sāz-e mokhālef (Off Beat) are his two recent films that show us his personal inquiry and thinking for the actual situation of Art, Youth and Gender in Iran. As he knows most of the artists and art producers in Iran, by make interviews and direct talking with these people specially women and young generations in Tehran, he tries to show us new visions and new versions of life in Iran.
M.Mirtahmasb is one of the rare young post-revolutionary generations and artists of Iran who has big names in his Cinematography’s C.V. for participating on their films, the names like Kambozia Partovi (Iran is my Home), Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Kandehar) and Sediq Barmak (Osama). He decided to stay and live in Iran and continue to make documentaries and fictions about the Art and Society in actual Iran.
- ‘Alam “Banner” (documentary), The Children of Iran Series, 1996, 25min, 16mm.
- My Father Was A Calico Maker (documentary), 30min, Beta Cam.
- Minā “Art of Glazing, enamel work “ (documentary), 31 min.
- Āb va Āyineh “Water and Mirror” (documentary), 25 min, Beta Cam.
- Hasanbodu (documentary), 29 min, Beta Cam.
- Kāshi-e Van Yakād (documentary), 28 min, Beta Cam.
- Buy-e gol-e Mohamadi “Smell of Rose” (documentary), 25 min, Beta Cam.
- Patteh (documentary), 31 min, Beta Cam.
- Mahiy-e mesi “The Copper Fish” (documentary), 24 min, Beta Cam.
- Dāstān-e Khoramshahr “The Story of Khoramshahr” (video clip), spring 1997, Beta Cam.
- Sarzamin-e mādari “Motherland” (video clip) summer 1997, Beta Cam.
- Setāreha “Stars” (video clip) fall 1997, Beta Cam.
- The First Presence (documentary), 1999 for UNICEF, 5 min.
- Qalamkār “Stamp” (documentary), 2001, 52 min, D.V. Cam.
- The River Still Has Fish (documentary), 2002, 43 min, D.V. Cam. (and producer).
- Sāz-e mokhālef “Off Beat” (documentary), 2002-03, 35 min, D.V. Cam, in the process of editing. (and producer).
- Sedāy-e dovom “Back Vocal” (documentary), 2002-03, 40 min, D.V. Cam, in the process of editing. (and producer).
- Venice, Dream and Conflict (documentary), 2003, ? min, D.V. Cam, in the process of editing. (and producer).
Dr.Pedram KHOSRONEJAD, Junior Research Fellow at The Middle East Centre
St.Antony’s College, University of Oxford.