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Daryush Shokof (born Ali Reza Shokoufandeh on June 25, 1954) is an Iranian artist, film director, philosopher, writer, art director, and film producer. He was born in Tehran, Iran, but currently lives in Germany.

Contents

Background

Shokof left Iran in the seventies to continue education in the USA where he studied physics and mathematics at Eastern New Mexico University and then industrial management at the University of Texas at Dallas. At the age of 22 he moved to New York, became interested in, and began studying art and film at New York University. In 1985, Shokof moved to Germany, where he became a full-time artist and sculptor. He continued to simultaneously write film scripts and made his first feature film debut seven servants in Germany in 1995. Seven servants was an impressive and daring first attempt on the big screen. Seven Servants is often mentioned as one of the most original movies ever filmed.Even though the fate of the movie was a most unfortunate one in which it never got released for over 13 years, It somehow paved the way for Shokof to continue making movies with his highly unique views of filmmaking and establishing his name as an original and equally important filmmaker.[1]

Beliefs

His obsession with the "Unity" of mankind merged as a prime factor in all his later activities, in his art "Maximalism" (which gave way to his philosophy of Yekishim), in his movie Seven Servants, and in many of his paintings where the harmony and affection amongst people of all races appear to play a main role. In almost all of his films people of different races are the accomplishing force of leading the story.

Art and philosophy

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Maximalism-Yekishim

He coined the term Maximalism[2] (with respect to art) in Cologne, Germany in 1990, and his art was featured along with other artists in art exhibitions titled Maximalisten at the Schulze gallery in Cologne, and Maximalists at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York, in 1991. Many one-man showsand group exhibitions took place under Maximalism and the movement was supported by many artists such as, Mark Kostabi, Milan Kunc, Jan Knapp, Luigi Onatni, Marcello Jori, Wainer Vaccari, Helgi Friedjohnsson, Jeff Koons and many others at the first Exhibition of Maximalists which was held in Gallery Schulze, Cologne, Germany in 1990, and Galleria Verlato in Italy during 1990-1992. Another group show of the works of the Maximalists was shown in the Kunsthaus in New York in 1995-1996. The works of these painters had similar characteristics; they were all figurative and had eroticism and nature as their prime theme, with humor and poetry playing a fundamental role. All the works were socially, politically, and philosophically conscious works of arts. Later Shokof stated that being a Maximalist does not mean being against Minimalism.° His first one-man exhibition was under the title Antenna which showed "antenna" sculptures of many colors and different sizes with fresh, ironic, and philosophically witty conceptual dialogues with God at the gallery Maerz in Cologne Germany in 1989. The show was an instant success and got great reviews and paved the way for him to continue many more exhibitions coming his way in Europe. Shokof helped constructing the concept of New York KunstHall alongside Christian Leigh who was the originator of the concept in New York in 1992. In the first group show at the KunstHall in New York which was curated by Christian Leigh and under the title Psycho with works from great many notable names of the Modern Art scene of the world: Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, Chuck Close, Louise Bourgeois, Rodney Graham, John Chamberlain, Ed Ruscha, Roy Lichtenstein, Heim Steinbach, and many more. Shokof presented Maximalism with a work in this group show as well.

His last major exhibition took place in Berlin, Germany with the Galerie 360 Grad in the historic building known previously as the Koniglichen Direction in 2003. the show was a retrospective of more than 100 works by Shokof dating back to 1985 and was received well.

Shokof wrote a manifest about his thoughts on Maximalism, and said that it covers all creativities that promote harmony, and unity of mankind on Earth. He then continued that both Minimalism and Sufism can be a prime factor for creating works containing such merits, be it music, dance, painting or films. He stated that:

"Unbalancing the chaos = Balance = Life = Maximalism" and concluded that therefore a Maximalist is not a nationalist, or internationalist but a Cosmotionalist.

Cosmotionalist was the title of his one man show at the Galleria Verlato in Milano, Italy, in 1990. The thoughts of Maximalism gave way to many further philosophical theories by Shokof about mankind, Creation, God, his conviction and obsession about "unity of mankind" and Yekishim as the "only" reason for people to be on Earth. Yekishim ("become one") is a word created by Shokof, mixing two Persian words; "yeki" meaning one, and "shim" meaning to become. In his thoughts about Yekishim he states that unity of mankind is the mere reason we live on earth, and explains the reasons with which mankind qualifies as the solution to questions revolving all mysteries about creation in visionary and original details:

GOD is the Eternal energy.there is God until someone proves there is no God.God is the scope of our creativity. the greater is one,s creativity , the more colorful would be that person,s God.

"Religions have only prevented and made it more difficult for people to reach God directly. Every human-being, (even the Atheist) feels God and has constant direct contact to the creator throughout one's life without the pointing fingers of all religions showing the man-kind how to reach or believe in God on Earth. Heaven is not the Final or the highest phase to reach. all those in the heavens do not necessarily know the story of the Creation. it is just a place of rest for all the good deeds on earth. we will only find the "Truth" about the Creation when we Unite Yekishim... Love is only a program planned for us human beings to remain connected to earth, not to commit suicide, not to ask constantly why we are here, and it is elevated as a program to the next phase with having children to solidify our roots and interest to remain further on earth. the true "love" is when we all feel the urge to become "united" and "one" on earth. to reach "yekishim"..." Atomic Energy is the safest and the most advanced type of all energies human being can use to advance to the upper levels of thoughts and movement. however, we human beings are only in early infant stages of technology comprehension and much too immature to fully understand and or use Atomic Energy properly yet. one day soon, all cars and or vehicles would use Atomic Energy to move about without using a drop of oil, and with a speed much faster than that of the light.

His further activities in film, arts and political stands separated him from the rest of the artists and also stopped further exhibitions of the Maximalists and he ended up as the sole person in pursuit of completing more comprehensive thoughts of Maximalism in the years to come. His thoughts and philosophy about life and creation under Maximalism are published in the art books of his one-man shows in Germany, Italy, and the USA.

Films

Shokof made his first movie, a short experimental film called Angels Are Wired, in 1991. Since then he has made over 15 short and feature length films and has written many film scripts, some of which he has used in his own work. He has a recognizable and independent style and does the complete "Mise en scène" of every film he has made so far. The uniqueness of the concepts in his films mean he has never made a mainstream movie. Even his best known film, Seven Servants (1995), starring Anthony Quinn, has not been screened or distributed nearly 12 years after its release (Seven Servants is just now finally released through Pathfinder Distribution, New York, USA). Shokof's films express his own philosophy, thought, politics and world-view which has always been created independent of any contract from studios and political systems. Because of this a Shokof film often looks "Auteur" when watched. Other actors who have worked with Shokof are David Warner and Jack Taylor.

Shokof has used varying screen perspectives in his movies. In his first film, Angels are Wired, the film is shown in two frames, each hanging from one side of a set of scales. The story is played out simultaneously in both frames and they collide both conceptually, and visually. His film Venussian Tabutasco was shot entirely in a glass elevator and Tenussian Vaccuvasco was shot through the windows of an apartment block. The titles to his films are often taken from works of art he has created.

Due to his visionary and unique concepts and point of views on making films with rare cinematic perspectives, Shokof's films are arguably amongst the important films in cinema records due to their originality.regardless of one's liking and or disliking his movies the influence of his works have been a major one ever since he made his first video conceptual short film "Angels are Wired" to his Seven Servants, Magass, and none the least his last movie yet which was an all women Gangster-Gomedy film called Breathful in which he dedicated this off beat comedy to the rights of women worldwide but most specifically to the freedom and rights of women in his own home-land Iran. he believes Iran is currently ruled by a brutal dictatorial Islamic republic Regime ignoring the many basic rights of Iranian women.more daring and innovative and influential is also how he most professionally and skillfully produces these major feature films through financial burdens. that in itself has convinced many young filmmakers to have the courage in making their dreams come true by making movies out of the standards and norms of the main-stream filmmakings.

Destiny One Productions, USA is currently producing Shokof,s latest film Heaven's Taxi in Berlin, Germany. Heaven's Taxi is a daring original semi-documentary story about a young girl who visits her dying brother seconds before he dies(the brother has suffered lethal blows under torture by thugs of Iranian Islamic Republic Regime in prison for having participated in the protests against the fraudulant results of the presidential elections in Iran in 2009).the second promise would be not clear until the end of the film where she succeeds delivery of both promises. this Political-Romantic story is written by Shokof himself. Shokof,s films Iran Zendan and Hiler's Grave are just finished and are ready to be screened exclusively at Anthology Film Archives in New York and Laemmle Theaters, Santa Monica , Los Angeles in February of 2010. Iran Zendan has just been released on utube as a trailer and has shocked the world with extraordinary pictures portraying horrible conditions of political prisoners under the Islamic Republic of Iran today.both films were screened at the UCLA, and Columbia University for panel discussions to a limited crowd.

Political activities

Daryush Shokof has long been a voice and an activist against the Islamic Republic of Iran.He believes this establishment is a dictatorial Regime which has brutally and inhumanely trashed all civilized values, freedom and human rights in Iran for the last 30 years. In August 2005, he went on a seven-day hunger strike for freedom and justice in Iran in front of the headquarters of the German Green Party in Berlin.[citation needed] He has boycotted the Berlin Film Festival and all other major film festivals in the world because they have shown government approved Iranian films.[citation needed] Daryush Shokof is one of the few Iranian artists and filmmakers of International notability who has never made a movie with any financial support from any country. His films have been widely ignored for not representing a certain government and or country.He remains a stateless artist up to this date and continues working completely independent from any state run, controlled, and or funded organization.

Daryush Shokof started a second hunger strike for the world governments not to recognize the legitimacy of Iranian Islamic Republic Regime and the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad due to obvious vote rigging in Iran presidential elections 2009, in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, Germany on Friday 26- 29 June, 2009. Shokof's reason to do so is coded by him in the interview in below that Russian President Medvedev was the first statesman to have recognized the fake and openly manipulated presidential elections in Iran. Shokof continues in his interview with "DW" Deutsche Welle in Germany that it would be a most shameful act for any world leader to shake hands with Ahmadinejad and still be able to look into the eyes of the Iranian nation after the Islamic Republic Regim's Barbaric crackdown on the peacful demonstrations of Iranians against the election that resulted in many dead demonstrators, torturing of over thousands, and imprisoning of so many who still undergo horrendous situations for having participated in the demonstrations.

Shokof has said: "We brought religions to the western societies for over 5000 years, but then, they brought the world democracy and the values of their free societies, and democratic parliaments in only the last 200 years.if we praise and admire the great western societies of our time, it is then our duty to so unselfishly, and humbly admire and learn and yes, even "copy" their wonderful free structures to reach such advanced western world values regardless of many short-comings they still experience in completing their wishful standards and rid ourselves from dictators and inhumane regimes. The first learning of such a step is to respect, and tolerate the existence of free supporting political parties in the same parliaments be it the stands of the communist party to a capitalist party."

Daryush Shokof invites the freedom believers world-wide to join the crowd of people (Iranians and non-Iranians) going on a global Hunger Strike to alert and seek support from the world leaders "not" to recognize the fradulant presidential elecections in Iran and its equally illegal president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on JUly 24th in Berlin, Germany.

Daryush Shokof has refused submitting his latest films Heaven's Taxi, and Iran Zendan to the Berlin Film Festival .Iran Zendan which is 35 minutes long is a dedication to the Iranian freedom movement portraying true situations of the current political prisoners in prisons in Iran .Iran Zendan is made to honor all those political prisoners and or brave people who died in their protests during and after the Iran,s recent mass uprising against the ill-fated Iran,s Presidential Election where is widely proved to have been rigged in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Shokof has written a global open-letter to boycott the Berlinale 2010 and has himself boycotted Berlin Film Festival for again having selected an Iranian film (a German-Iranian Co-Production) for the festival in 2010.In his open-letter Shokof writes that Berlinale has once again chosen to insult and undermine the struggle of Iranaian nation for freedom from under the Dictatorial Regime of Islamic Republic of Iran.

Filmography

This filmography includes only films listed in IMDB [3].

Year Film
1990 Angels are Wired
1991 Dogs are not allowed
1996 Seven Servants
1997 Magass
2000 Tenussian Vaccuvasco
2003 She Would...
2003 Kiss, Long and Close
2004 Venussian Tabutasco
2005 A2Z
2006 Asudem
2007 Breathful
2007 Smoqing
2010 Heaven's Taxi
2010 Iran Zendan

Awards

  • New York International Independent Film & Video Festival 2007 (L.A. festival)
    • Genre Award for Best Feature Film - category Horror Asudem (2006)[4][5]
    • International Film Award for Best Director - category feature for: Breathful (2007)[4][5]
  • New York International Independent Film & Video Festival 2000 (Winter)
    • Feature Film Award for Best Experimental Film - Tenussian Vacuvasco (2000)[6]

References

8. * http://www.international.ucla.edu 9. * http://www.columbia.edu

External links


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