Born on February 15,1980 in Tehran. At the age of eight, she played in "The Cyclist" directed by her father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf the celebrated Iranian filmmaker.
At the age of 17, she directed her first feature titled "The Apple" and She went on to become the youngest director in the world participating in the official section of the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. She was praised on different occasions by the legendary Jean-Luc Godard for her film. The Apple was invited to more than 100 international film festivals in a period of two years, while going to the screen in more than 30 countries.
In 1999, Samira made her second feature film titled “The Blackboard” in Kurdistan of Iran, and for the second time was selected by the Cannes Film Festival to compete in the official section in 2000. She was granted the Special Jury Award. The Blackboard received many international awards including the “Federico Fellini Honor Award” from UNESCO and “Francois Truffaut Award” from Italy. The film was widely released across the world and more than two hundred thousand people watched the film in France alone.
Samira alongside other prominent director like Ken Loach, Shohei Imamura, Youssef Chahine, Sean Penn…. made one of the eleven episodes of the film “September 11”. The film was premiered at Venice International Film Festival in 2002.
The third feature by Samira Makhmalbaf titled “At Five in the Afternoon”, the first feature film shot in Afghanistan post Taliban. The film was selected for the competition section of Cannes Film Festival in 2003, receiving the Jury’s Special Award for the second time.
In 2004, she was selected as one of forty best directors of the world by Guardian newspaper.
Since the Iranian Government did not give the permeation to shoot in Iran to her, Samira Makhmalbaf shot her last film in Afghanistan titled Two-Legged Horse in 2007. Her shooting in Afghanistan was disturbed by thrown of a bomb into her scene which resulted in severe injuries of 6 people. Despite all the difficulties she faced, Samira did not leave Afghanistan untill she finished her film.
Samira Makhmalbaf has also participated as jury member in reputable film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Moscow, Montreal,…
1) The Apple
2) The Blackboard
3) 11 September ( Short Film)
4) At Five in the afternoon
5) Two-legged horse
As a Jury:
1- Cannes International Film Festival in France, 2001.
2- Venice Film Festival in Italy, 2000.
3- The 54th Berlin International Film Festival 2004.
4- Sansebastian International Film Festival, 2009.
5- HEAD OF JURY: Montreal word film festival in Canada, 2003.
6- Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, 1998.
7- Moscow Film Festival in Russia, 2000.
8- Bombay International Film Festival, India, 2010.
9- Festival Cinema Tout Ecran in Switzerland, 2000.
10- Arab Screen Independent Film Festival in Doha, Gatar, 2001.
11-Euro Asia International Film Festival, Turkey, 2006.
12- Sao Paolo International Film Festival, Brazil 2008.
13- Kerala International Film Festival, India, 2008.
14- Docufest International Film Festival, Kosovo, 2012.
15- Doclisboa International Film Festival, Portugal, 2012
16- Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, Netherlands, 2012
17- Etiuda & Anima International Film Festival, Poland, 2012
18- HEAD OF JURY: Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden, 2013
1.The Apple: “Sutherland Trophy”, London Film Festival 1998, UK.
2.The Apple: “International Critics prize”, Locarno Film Festival 1998, Switzerland.
3.The Apple: “Jury’s Special prize”, Thessalonica Film Festival 1998, Greece.
4.The Apple: “Jury’s Special prize”, Sao Paulo Film Festival 1998, Brazil.
5.The Apple: “Jury’s Special prize”, Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
6. The Apple: “Critic’s prize”, Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
7. The Apple:“Audience’s prize”, Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
8. The Black Board: “Jury’s prize”, Official Competition section of Cannes Film Festival 2000, France.
9. The Black Board: “Federico Fillini Honor”, UNESCO, Paris, 2000.
10. The Black Board: “Francois Truffaut prize”, Giffoni Film Festival in Italy 2000.
11. The Black Board: “Giffoni’s Mayor Prize “, Giffoni Film Festival, Italy, 2000.
12. The Black Board: “Special cultural Prize”, UNESCO, paris, 2000.
13. The Black Board: “The grand Jury prize”, American Film Institute, USA, 2000
14. At Five In The Afternoon: “Jury Special award”, Official Competition section of Cannes Film Festival 2003, France.
15. At Five In The Afternoon: "Grand prize from Society of churches of world", Cannes 2003, France.
16. At Five In The Afternoon: Golden Peacock, competition (first prize) for Best film at the 34th International Film Festival of India, India 2003
17. At Five In The Afternoon: The “Youths’ Cinema” Award in Singapore’s 17th International Silver Screen Film Festival 2004
18. Samira as one of the forty best directors of the world, choosen by Guardien, UK, 2004-2005.
19.Two Legged-horse: The Special Jury Prize, From the 56th San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain, 2008.
20.Two Legged Horse: Georges Delerue Award, for best music, Ghent International Film Festival, Belgium2008.
21. Two Legged Horse: Special Mention award, Rome International Film Festival, Italy 2008.
A Retrospective of Samira’s Works:
1) Karlovy Vary international Film Festival, Czech Republic 2004.
2) Munich International Film Festival, Germany 2006.
3) Women’s World International Film Festival, Germany 2008.
4) Kerala International Film Festival, India, 2008.