TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Hundreds of Iranians gathered Friday at Tehran Cinema Museum to celebrate Asghar Farhadi's recent Academy Awards win for best foreign language film.
The gathering congratulated Farhadi and his film crew on "The Salesman" with a standing ovation.
In his short speech, Farhadi said the film was not a pre-planned project but, he added, "(The Salesman) was not supposed to be made at all. I decided to make the Salesman by chance and out of emotions."
He said he his Oscars win was not a merely personal success, but also an award for those who contributed to his achievements.
Farhadi thanked those in attendance and appealed to them to support the making of his upcoming film, which is being shot in Spain.
"Please pray for me so I can gain the strength to come back to Iran and make movies here again, despite all the problems and smear campaigns. To me, making films in Iran means making films with my heart," said Farhadi.
Earlier on Tuesday hardline newspapers criticized Farhadi's victory, saying "politics" had garnered him the award. Farhadi boycotted this year's Academy Awards ceremony to protest President Trump's now-suspended travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran. Hardliners traditionally oppose any cultural engagement with the West, citing concerns over a "cultural invasion".
A showreel of Farhadi's films was screened at the gathering at the museum.
One attendee, Samaneh Esfahani, a 35-year-old accountant, said she had been waiting for the occasion for weeks.
"I don't know how to explain it. I am terribly happy. I was waiting for this ceremony for months, since Fahadi's film was nominated," said Esfahani.
At the gathering, prominent industry practitioner Hojatalah Ayoubi praised Frahadi's process.
"Farhadi, in first priority, makes film for his people," said Ayoubi, "He is filmmaker of Iranian people. He has roots in this land. He loves his homeland and for these reason the world loves him."
This was Farhadi second Oscar for best foreign language film. He secured Iran's first in 2012 with "A Separation".