Censorography, Ayat Najafi
In “Censorography” Ayat Najafi speaks on the systems of censorship and self-censorship that exist everywhere, also in the West. He warns against glorifying and victimizing artists working under difficult conditions and argues that engaging and learning from artists in Iran, and seeing them as equal partners, would be a much more fruitful way of collaborating. Highlighting the courageous ignorance of censorship, which is the key to their success, as well as encouraging creative minds in Iran to fight censorship, taking on the rules face-to-face, is more important and honest than putting too much emphasis on the “freedom” of the “free world.” Collaboration instead of pity will fight censorship in the long-term.
Ayat Najafi was born in Tehran in 1976. He established a youth theatre company in college in 1995, while getting professional experience as an intern and participating in several workshops, with masters and professors of Iranian theatre. He participated in a number of different theatrical productions as an assistant director, author, actor, and set designer. Since 2000, he realized his own directorial work. In 2003, he established the Arta Atelier, focusing on an interdisciplinary, multimedia approach to theater, as well as experimental short and documentary film. Ayat participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus 2005 with his short film, “Move It” (2004). “Football Under Cover”, his 1st feature documentary, co-directed by David Assmann, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2008, and has participated in several other festivals, winning several awards. He is a fellow at the International Research Center, Free University of Berlin and a cultural-scientific alumnus of the University of Constance where he presented his theater production, “Stories of Women with Mustaches and Men in Skirts”. “Lady Tehran”, his second theater production in Germany with an international cast and crew, was performed in Berlin in 2009. In 2011 he followed with “Rasht- City of Women,” also performed in Berlin. He currently lives in Berlin and Tehran.