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TheWIFTS FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL VISIONARY AWARDS
DEC 1st 2012
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Shohreh Aghdashloo 
Humanitarian Award
  
 
About Shohreh Aghdashloo
Actress
  
For over 30 years Shohreh Aghdashloo has been an activist for women's rights in Iran. She left her native country in the late 70's for London, England where she earned a degree in international relations. On the verge of acccepting a position at a newspaper, a friend presented her with a play called "Rainbow", about the Iranian Revolution and its discontents. Shohreh Aghdashloo put her journalism career on hold - for what would turn out to be an indefinite length of time. "Rainbow” was such a success it toured the United States, where Aghdashloo was reunited with Drama Workshop colleague Houshang Touzie. The two married in Los Angeles, in the late 80s. This experience not only brought her and her husband to the United States, but showed her how powerful a medium for social change her art could be -- so she continued to act and perform in theatre and films, as a means of social protest. She performed in both Farsi Theater and Film productions, for an exile audience longing for change in their home country.

It was her work on film, in topical dramas such as "America So Beautiful" and "Maryam" -- both about the struggle of Iranian immigrants in the U.S. -- that caught the attention of director Vadim Perelman, who was looking to cast the supporting role of Nadi in his big-screen adaptation of the bestselling book, "House of Sand and Fog." Aghdashloo's subtle, simmering performance brought her kudos from the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics Associations, all of which named her 2003's Best Supporting Actress. The Academy followed suit, nominating Shohreh Aghdashloo as an Oscar contender. She was recently awarded a 2009 Emmy Award, for her supporting role on the HBO original miniseries, House of Saddam.

Her continued devotion to affect change brought her to the attention of director Cyrus Nowrasteh who offered her the crucial role of "Zahra", the voice of justice, in his film THE STONING OF SORAYA M. His film was the runnerup for the audience award to SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE at the Toronto Film Festival and winner of the Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Released this past summer, THE STONING OF SORAYA M., is a powerful indictment of the practice of stoning which continues in the Islamic Republic of Iran and other countries around the world. Shohreh Aghdashloo's commitment to the film and its cause brought her to the attention of such organizations as Vital Voices and Moral Courage, when she spoke out in Washington about the plight of women in Iran. These outspoken allegations against her own country put her in severe jeopardy for her life and career. Her most recent act of defiance was when she appeared on national television in support of the women demonstrating in the streets of Iran during the recent election. It is for her courage and determination to use her brilliant art to affect change that TheWIFTS Foundation Humanitarian Award 2009 is awarded to Shohreh Aghdashloo.








 
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