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Today, the Iranian box office is dominated by commercial Iranian films. Western films are not commonly shown in cinemas, but classic and contemporary western films are shown on state television in censored versions, and uncensored versions are easily available in markets. Iranian art films are often not screened officially, and are viewable via illegal DVDs which are easily available. Nevertheless, some of these acclaimed films were screened in Iran and had box office success. Examples include Rassul Sadr Ameli`s "I’m Taraneh, 15", Rakhshan Bani-Etemad`s "Under the skin of the City", Bahman Ghobadi`s "Marooned in Iraq" and Manijeh Hekmat`s "Women’s Prison". Post-revolutionary Iranian cinema has been celebrated in many international forums and festivals for its distinct style, themes, authors, idea of nationhood, and cultural references. Many excellent Iranian directors have emerged in the last few decades, such as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi. Kiarostami, who some critics regard as one of the few great directors in the history of cinema, planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Taste of Cherry in 1997. The continuous presence of Iranian films in prestigious international festivals such as Cannes, the Venice Film Festival, and Berlin Film Festival attracted world attention to Iranian masterpieces, as Iranian films have repeatedly been nominated for or won prestigious prizes at those festivals. In 2006, six Iranian films, with six different styles, represented Iranian cinema at the Berlin Film Festival, and critics considered this a remarkable event in the history of Iranian cinema. An important step was taken in 1998 when the Iranian government began to fund ethnic cinema. Since then Iranian Kurdistan has seen the rise of numerous filmmakers. In particular the film industry got momentum in Iranian Kurdistan and the region has seen the emergence of filmmakers such as Bahman Ghobadi, actually the entire Ghobadi family, Ali-Reza Rezai, Khosret Ressoul and many other younger filmmakers The cinema of Iran (or Persian cinema) is a flourishing film industry with a long history. Many popular commercial films are made in Iran, and Iranian art films have won many international film awards. Iranian film Festivals are held annually around the globe. Along with China, Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the 1990s. Some critics now rank Iran as the world's most important national cinema, artistically, with a significance that invites comparison to Italian neorealism and similar movements in past decades. World-renowned Austrian filmaker Michael Haneke and German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with many film critics from around the world, has praised Iranian cinema as one of the world’s most important artistic cinemas.


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