May 28

SAIC Alumna and “Master of Metaphor” Wins Top Prize at Cannes Film Festival

Needle, “a sharp, nearly perfect 21-minute short movie,” by SAIC alumna Anahita Ghazvinizadeh (MFA 2013) received first place in the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Cinefondation student film competition, announced the Chicago Tribune on May 25. Needle triumphed over 1,550 entries submitted from 277 schools worldwide, earning the Iranian filmmaker a prize of $19,500. Ghazvinizadeh “is a born master of metaphor and displays a natural, inquisitive instinct for close-ups and what a face can reveal in terms of a character’s interior life,” says writer Michael Phillips. Academy Award-winning director Jane Campion announced the prize following a unanimous decision among the competition’s five-person jury, reported Crain’s Chicago Business on May 28. “Needle’s got beautiful precision and the most exciting thing about it is that I can feel a very unique flavor to this filmmaker’s voice,” Campion told Variety magazine. “It’s got subtle observations and it’s also very modern.” Ghazvinizadeh joins filmmakers Apichatpong Weerasethakul (MFA 1998) and Hong Sang-soo (MFA 1989) as an SAIC-educated recipient of a top Cannes prize in the last four years. Her first-place prize also guarantees a future slot in the Cannes program for her first feature, noted the Hollywood Reporter on May 24.