SOAS University of London

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad was awarded an Honorary DLit by SOAS in 2008 in recognition of her work as an acclaimed documentary and film maker and screen writer. Not only are her films popular in her native Iran but they have also won international recognition by addressing social issues, particularly in reference to women.

Beginning her career as a film student at the University of Tehran, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad joined Iranian TV in 1973 and progressed quickly from scriptwriter through to assistant director, producer and manager. In 1983 she directed her first feature film, Off the Limits, having already made several documentaries for Iranian television.

In 1991 she became the first woman to win the Best Director award at the Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran for Nargess. The awards continued with the Bronze Leopard at the 1995 Locarno Film Festival for The Blue Veiled, and the Prince Claus Prize from the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development in 1998 in recognition of her complete works.

Released in 2006, Mainline is her ninth feature film, for which she has won a number of awards including Achievement in Directing at The Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize - Best Fiction Film at the Festival International De Film De Femmes De Creteil in France.