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 “Blackboards” 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 Blackboards 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.
Samira Makhmalbaf shot her fourth feature film in Afghanistan titled Two-Legged Horse in 2007, receiving the Grand Jury Awardof San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.
Samira Makhmalbaf has also participated as jury member in reputable film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Moscow, Montreal…
- HEAD OF JURY: Edinburgh International Film Festival, Scotland, 2013
- HEAD OF JURY: Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden, 2013
- Etiuda & Anima International Film Festival, Poland, 2012
- Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, Netherlands, 2012
- Doclisboa International Film Festival, Portugal, 2012
- Docufest International Film Festival, Kosovo, 2012.
- Mumbai International Film Festival, India, 2010.
- Kerala International Film Festival, India, 2008.
- Sao Paolo International Film Festival, Brazil 2008.
- Euro Asia International Film Festival, Turkey, 2006.
- Arab Screen Independent Film Festival in Doha, Gatar, 2001.
- Festival Cinema Tout Ecran in Switzerland, 2000.
- Bombay International Film Festival, India, 2010.
- Moscow Film Festival in Russia, 2000.
- Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, 1998.
- HEAD OF JURY: Montreal word film festival in Canada, 2003.
- Sansebastian International Film Festival, 2009.
- The 54th Berlin International Film Festival 2004.
- Venice Film Festival in Italy, 2000.
- Cannes International Film Festival in France, 2001.
- Two Legged Horse: Special Mention award, Rome International Film Festival, Italy 2008.
- Two Legged Horse: Georges Delerue Award, for best music, Ghent International Film Festival, Belgium2008.
- Two Legged-horse: The Special Jury Prize, From the 56th San Sebastian International Film Festival, Spain, 2008.
- Samira as one of the forty best directors of the world, choosen by Guardien, UK, 2004-2005.
- At Five In The Afternoon: The “Youths’ Cinema” Award in Singapore’s 17th International Silver Screen Film Festival 2004
- At Five In The Afternoon: Golden Peacock, competition (first prize) for Best film at the 34th International Film Festival of India, India 2003
- At Five In The Afternoon: "Grand prize from Society of churches of world", Cannes 2003, France.
- At Five In The Afternoon: “Jury Special award”, Official Competition section of Cannes Film Festival 2003, France.
- Blackboards: “The grand Jury prize”, American Film Institute, USA, 2000
Blackboards: “Special cultural Prize”, UNESCO, paris, 2000.
- Blackboards: “Giffoni’s Mayor Prize “, Giffoni Film Festival, Italy, 2000.
- Blackboards: “Francois Truffaut prize”, Giffoni Film Festival in Italy 2000.
- Blackboards: “Federico Fillini Honor”, UNESCO, Paris, 2000.
- Blackboards: “Jury’s prize”, Official Competition section of Cannes Film Festival 2000, France.
- The Apple:“Audience’s prize”, Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
- The Apple: “Critic’s prize”, Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
- The Apple: “Jury’s Special prize”, Independent cinema Festival 1999, Argentina.
- The Apple: “Jury’s Special prize”, Sao Paulo Film Festival 1998, Brazil.
- The Apple: “Jury’s Special prize”, Thessalonica Film Festival 1998, Greece.
- The Apple: “International Critics prize”, Locarno Film Festival 1998, Switzerland.
- The Apple: “Sutherland Trophy”, London Film Festival 1998, UK.
- Kerala International Film Festival, India, 2008.
- Women’s World International Film Festival, Germany 2008.
- Munich International Film Festival, Germany 2006.
- Karlovy Vary international Film Festival, Czech Republic 2004.