A Moon for My Father

It may be that letter writing has become a forgotten art. And yet, as art that demands from the writer both intimacy and intellectual depth, it resembles the art of documentary filmmaking. Like letters, documentary films move between closeness and abstraction.
Iranian filmmaker Mania Akbari draws on this similarity: Together with her partner, London based sculptor Douglas White, she has created a fascinating essay film in form of a correspondence. The letters document their artistic process and provide a strong narrative that accompanies their cinematic collage of personal pictures, images of White’s work, and archival material from Iran. Disturbing sequences about Akbari’s struggle with cancer and a high-risk pregnancy enter into a dialog with White’s creatural sculptures to create a fascinating contemplation about the links between body, object and memory, destruction and reconstruction, violence and hope. Akbari’s and White’s deeply poetic correspondence shows that life needs art as much as art needs life.

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Mania Akbari and Douglas White

Mania Akbari is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker and artist. Her provocative, revolutionary and radical films were the subject of retrospectives at the BFI, London (2013), the DFI, Denmark (2014), Oldenburg International Film Festival, Germany (2014), Cyprus Film Festival (2014) and Nottingham Contemporary (2017). Her films were screened at festivals around the world and have received numerous awards including the German Independence Honorary Award, Oldenburg (2014), the Award for Best Film - Digital Section at Venice Film Festival (2004), the Nantes Special Public Award for Best Film (2007) and the awards for Best Director and Best Film at Kerala Film Festival (2007) as well as for Best Film and Best Actress at Barcelona Film Festival (2007). She also had numerous exhibits around the world in galleries including Tate Modern, London. Akbari was exiled from Iran and currently lives and works in London, a theme addressed in her latest film Life May Be (2014), co-directed with Mark Cousins. This film was released at Karlovy Vary Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary at Edinburgh International Film Festival (2014) and Asia Pacific Film Festival (2014).

Douglas White is a sculptor, known for his use of found objects and materials. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, he has worked and exhibited around the world. Recent exhibitions include Splendor Solis, Eden Rock Gallery, St Barth (2014), Song of the Roustabouts, Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam (2013), New Skin for an Old Ceremony, Paradise Row, London (2011). Recent notable group exhibitions include Feito poor Brasilieros, Cidade Matarazzo, Sao Paolo (2014), Island, Dairy Art Centre, London (2013), Con Amore, ARoS Museum, Denmark (2012), Weizmann Insti-tute, Tel Aviv (2012), London Twelve, City of Prague Gallery, Prague (2012), REHAB, Fondation EDF, Paris (2010), and Natural Wonders, Baibakov Fine Arts, Moscow (2009). He was a recipient of the Man Group Drawing Prize (2005) and the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Award (2005) and has been shortlisted for the Paul Hamlyn Award (2007), Jerwood Sculpture Prize (2005) and Jerwood Drawing Prize (2006). His work is held in significant collections both nationally and internationally including the Saatchi Collection, David Roberts, Frank Cohen, Ernst and Young and Simmons & Simmons. Douglas White is represented by Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam.