What is Maajara Film School?

Launched in 2021 by the award-winning Iranian director Behnam Behzadi, Maajara Film School initially thrived under the leadership of Iranian art director and brand manager Mahdi Shahsavar as CEO and the Iranian female filmmaker Sepide Berenji as the educational administrator. Since 2023, Sepide Berenji has taken the helm as CEO, with a team of young, innovative artists working alongside her.

Maajara Film School uses cutting-edge tools and innovative teaching methods to bring top-notch filmmaking education to young talents and avid enthusiasts all across Iran and around the world. Maajara aims to build a global network of talented film instructors to teach the next generation of filmmakers, with a special focus on making these opportunities accessible to those who might not otherwise have them.

Maajara Film School fosters a truly inclusive environment, welcoming students from diverse backgrounds – age, nationality, and gender – including enthusiastic teenagers who learn filmmaking with educational plans specifically made for their age group. Maajara’s faculty is equally diverse, boasting a dynamic team of experienced filmmakers alongside young instructors brimming with innovative ideas. This unique blend cultivates a multi-generational exchange of knowledge and ensures the curriculum remains fresh and relevant. Furthermore, the school prioritizes a hands-on approach, believing that filmmaking is best learned by doing. Each semester unveils new and innovative project-based learning methods, ensuring all students actively engage in the creative process.

Even during the isolating times of COVID, Maajara refused to let the creative spirit be confined. By leveraging state-of-the-art online teaching methods, they brought together a global community of artists. Building upon their foundation of "classic courses" – filmmaking, screenwriting, and editing taught by esteemed Iranian instructors – Maajara forged exciting new collaborations. Students from around the world had the unique opportunity to learn from renowned French dramatic arts teachers, enriching their filmmaking journeys with a diverse international perspective. This innovative approach defied the limitations of the pandemic, fostering a vibrant learning environment that transcended borders.

Educational Cycle

Maajara's educational cycle fosters a comprehensive and immersive filmmaking experience. Students start by delving into the foundational pillars through "classic courses" in filmmaking, screenwriting, editing, and more learning from some of the best Iranian film instructors.

Simultaneously, they embark on personalized journeys through individual mentorship programs. Here, students choose an experienced instructor to hone their skills in one-on-one sessions, applying their classroom knowledge and forging a path toward professional success with dedicated guidance. Mentorship programs often revolve around filmmaking projects.

Finally, during two weeks, Maajara's unique annual filmmaking and acting camps equip students with advanced techniques. Following a specially designed syllabus, they delve into the intricacies of production and performance, culminating in a collaborative student-led film project.

With instructors' support, students bring their vision to life, showcasing their final project on the big screen at independent film theaters and even contending for recognition at prestigious international festivals like Cannes Cinefondation. This dynamic cycle equips aspiring filmmakers with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience, preparing them to confidently navigate the world of cinema.

Maajara Film Production plays a crucial role in Maajara’s annual camps. This innovative production subsidiary, boasting over a dozen student and semi-professional films already under its belt, provides the resources and support to turn student ideas into gripping realities, granting full creative control for these first forays into directing. This practical approach not only hones technical skills but fosters a sense of ownership and creative confidence, setting students on a path to cinematic success.

Film Mentorship

Maajara is the first Iranian film school to have mentorship programs in the field of cinema. We, at Majara Film School, know that training courses are not enough to help film students become professionals and artists. They need to practice what they have learned and master them with the guidance of an experienced mentor, so they can achieve their filmmaking goals without getting sidetracked by mental barriers and external obstacles. In our mentorship programs, with the support of experienced guides, film students design and produce successful projects and create their own professional stories beyond the limitations of film education.

What do Maajara’s film students get from mentorship?

  • Regular one-on-one or group sessions with an experienced mentor.
  • They strengthen and expand their personal and professional skills through regular practice and purposeful conversations.
  • They define their filmmaking goals, find out what’s standing in their way, and make specific action plans to achieve their goals and remove the obstacles.
  • They gain more knowledge about the industry and art field in which they work or wish to work.
  • In the form of well-defined projects, they experience practical work in the field of cinema and face its real charms and challenges.
  • They find new ways to deal with their artistic fears and frustrations.
  • They might be introduced to film professionals for work or internships and join teams and groups working in their favorite field of cinema.

Some of the mentors at Maajara Film School

Behnam Behzadi

Behnam Behzadi

(an internationally acclaimed Iranian director whose films have received multiple awards from national and international film festivals. His latest feature film Inversion (2016) appeared in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival's official selection.)

Arian Vazir Daftari

Arian Vazir Daftari

(an Iranian film director whose short films have won numerous awards from international film festivals and his debut feature Without Her screened at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in the Horizons Extra section.)

Soheila Golestani

Soheila Golestani

(an Iranian actress and filmmaker who has directed several films including a VR film (360 degrees) called "Don’t Let Me Go" and the documentary "Ali Akbar Sadeghi (Iranian painter). “Don’t Let Me Go” won the first prize at the Tampere Film Festival (2017), the best film award from the Digital Arts Festival (2017), the American HollyShorts Film Festival (2017), and others)

Masoud Amini Tirani

Masoud Amini Tirani

(an Iranian award-winning cinematographer who won the title of Best Cinematographer at the Asian Film Award for his work on The Wasteland (2020) and was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival for his work on The Sun of that Moon (2021).)

Majid Barzegar

Majid Barzegar

(an Iranian film director, producer, screenwriter, and photographer. He established his own film company Rainy Pictures in 2005 intending to stimulate independent film production in Iran.)

Shadi Karamroodi

Shadi Karamroodi

(an Iranian actress, director, and screenwriter who is mostly known for her acting in the supportive role in the feature film “Without Her” which was released in 2022 at the Venice International Film Festival. She has participated in making 4 award-winning short films as director, producer, or screenwriter.)

Sepide Berenji

Sepide Berenji

(an Iranian-based scriptwriter, poet, and film director whose debut short film Raya (2020) made its way to many major film festivals, all around the world)

Amir Saharkhiz

Amir Saharkhiz

(an Iranian animation writer, director, producer, and visual effects artist who is the founder and CEO of AXTAAR Animation Studios, an award-winning Tehran-based animation studio specializing in creating original animated content for various platforms and audiences)

Some of Maajara’s Courses & Workshops

Behnam Behzadi

Acting and Directing Actors for the Camera

Behnam Behzadi

Majid Barzagar

Directing for Beginners & Advanced directing

Majid Barzagar

 Meysam Molaei

Editing Narrative Films

Meysam Molaei

Zohreh Aliakbari

Sound Design for Beginners

Zohreh Aliakbari

Arian Vazirdaftari

First Draft (Screenwriting for Beginners)

Arian Vazirdaftari

Zahra Abdi

Creative Writing

Zahra Abdi

Maziar Eslami

Philosophy and Contemporary Cinema

Maziar Eslami

Soheila Golestani

VR Filmmaking Workshop

Soheila Golestani

Aliyar Rasti

How to Make a Music Video?

Aliyar Rasti

Shadi Karamroodi

Online Acting Workshop

Shadi Karamroodi

Nader Davoodi

Photography for Beginners

Nader Davoodi

Sepide Berenji & Peiman Naimi

Let’s Make a Film This Summer! (for Teenagers)

Sepide Berenji & Peiman Naimi

Maajara International

Online Courses

This Is Not An Acting Class

1st international online camp for actors with Iranian and French acting and filmmaking instructors

French Instructors:

  • Anne See

    actress, professor of acting at the Paris National Conservatoire

  • Jean-Yves Ruf

    director, and professor of acting at the National School of Strasbourg

  • Olivier Lopez

    theater director, artistic director of La Cite company

  • Fabrice Adde

    actor and acting teacher at the Royal School of Acting in Liege

  • Thomas Germaine

    actor and lecturer at Paris 8 University and Rouen Conservatoire

  • Felix Lefebvre

    actor and graduate of Bordeaux National School

This Is Not An Acting Class II

2nd international online camp for actors with Iranian and French acting and filmmaking instructors

French Instructors:

  • Fabrice Adde

    actor, and teacher at the Royal School of Acting in Liege

  • Sandy Ouvrier

    actor, director, and professor of acting at the Paris National Conservatoire

  • Jean-Pierre Dupuy

    French actor, writer, and director

  • Yannick Butel

    critic, playwright, and lecturer at the University of Aix-Marseille, France

What students gained from the acting camps:

  • They get to know some of the best and most professional film and acting instructors from Iran and France.
  • They understood and experienced the importance of teamwork and expanding their network as actors in a multi-cultural context.
  • They gained a new perspective on the theories of acting and putting them into practice.
  • They came to a better understanding of their inner strengths and weaknesses as actors and found ways to improve their abilities.
  • They got acquainted with different acting approaches and learned how to become a unique actor by accepting their contradictions.
  • They had an online performance that showcased their acting skills and the culmination of their learnings at the camp. This innovative performance used cutting-edge new-media storytelling methods and technologies, drawing the attention and judgment of film professionals from Iran and France.

Events / Workshops

3 Day

How to Tell A Story with Film Editing?

instructors:
Walter Murch
Walter Murch is an American film editor and sound designer who has won three Academy Awards.
instructors:
Taghi Amirani
Iranian-born English physicist and documentary filmmaker
1 Day

How to generate script ideas from images?

instructor:
Edward R. O’Neill
author of several cinematic books who’s been working with Standford, USC, and Yale and teaches online courses in screenwriting

The Path of International Success for Young Filmmakers

(short film screenings and educational Q&A with filmmakers)
Honorary Guest:
Ary Zara
(a transgender artist and activist, excelling in the roles of writer, director, and performer. He studied Cinema at Lusófona University in Lisbon. His first short film won several awards and was shortlisted for Oscars.)
Honorary Guest:
Tang Yi
(Hong Kong's first Palme d'Or Short Film winner at Festival De Cannes 2021 for “All the Crows in the World.”)
Honorary Guest:
Dania Bdeir
(an award-winning Lebanese filmmaker whose latest short "Warsha", had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won the Jury Prize for Best International Fiction)

Low-budget Filmmaking Camp

This filmmaking camp empowers you to bridge the gap between vision and production. Traditional filmmaking can be a financial hurdle, burdened by equipment and location limitations but in Maajara's Low-Budget Filmmaking Camp, we focus on the raw power of storytelling, equipping you to craft compelling narratives with readily available resources.
Filmmaking and acting students collaborate in a dynamic environment with the help of filmmaking instructors who provide expert guidance in scriptwriting, directing, actor-director collaboration, and cinematography. From initial concept development to the final cut, you'll receive personalized mentorship throughout the filmmaking process and build your potential team for a creative career.

In this annual Low-Budget Filmmaking Camp, participants delve into core scriptwriting and filmmaking principles through intensive workshops while simultaneously developing their ideas for the final project. Last year's camp saw our students create seven impressive short films. These films gained recognition at a screening event attended by the public and esteemed Iranian cinema professionals, and they're currently in the stage of international distribution.

Maajara Club

Maajara Club is a vibrant hub for Maajara Film School’s community, fostering a collaborative spirit online and in person. It's a space where film students, industry professionals, and everyone in between can connect. This unique community provides a platform for learning, sharing ideas, and working together. Whether you're a budding filmmaker seeking guidance or a seasoned pro looking to connect, Maajara Club offers a chance to grow your network and develop your craft.

Each month and throughout the seasons, Maajara Club curates a program of engaging online and in-person gatherings featuring a diverse range of national and international film professionals. These events transcend borders, bringing together established names and rising stars from various cinematic disciplines. But Maajara recognizes the immense value of homegrown talent. In addition to the international spotlight, the club has consistently hosted Q&A sessions, interviews, and workshops with award-winning Iranian professionals. This dedication to showcasing Iranian voices is especially evident in the club’s recent events (film screening and interview) featuring two highly admired Iranian filmmakers:

Panah Panahi

Panah Panahi

(an Iranian director and writer, known for Hit the Road (2021), 3 Faces (2018), and Días de Cine (1991). Panahi’s feature-length directorial debut, Hit the Road (2021), was nominated for Caméra d'Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, and it won several awards including the Best Film award at the Official Competition of London Film Festival, and the Golden Gate Award for a New Director at 2022’s San Francisco International Film Festival and many others)

Firozeh Khosravani

Firozeh Khosravani

(an Iranian female filmmaker who made her debut with Life Train (2004). In 2011, she collaborated with three directors from three different continents on a Spanish production about the concept of beauty and women’s physical appearance, called Espelho Meu, which won the Best National Documentary award in Documenta Madrid. She directed, among others, Rough Cut (2007) Fest of Duty (2014), and Radiograph of a Family (2020) which won Creative Use of Archive and Best Film at IDFA.)