TEHRAN — Nader Talebzadeh, a renowned filmmaker and television producer who rose to fame as a symbol of groundbreaking programs and events of the past two decades, died Friday at the age of 69.
He was admitted to a Tehran hospital last week with a chronic heart condition and eventually died on Friday evening, Persian news agencies said.
Talebzadeh was the president of the popular Ammar Film Festival, which he co-founded with several Iranian revolutionary figures.
He was also a co-founder of Ofoq, IRIB’s documentary film channel, and worked as a television host and producer presenting programs on political issues, media and film.
He was born into a military family whose father was a high-ranking officer during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah, the last monarch of Iran.
After graduating from high school, he left Iran to study English Literature in the United States of America. He earned a film degree from Columbia University in New York.
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he returned to Iran and started his film career with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
At the start of the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, he joined Iranian troops on the front line to make documentaries for the IRIB.
He also worked with Morteza Avini, a renowned filmmaker famous for his war documentaries. He directed “Fajr and Poppy” and “25 Hour” for Avini’s popular documentary series “The Narration of Triumph” (“Revayate Fat’h”).
As a documentarian he also went to the Balkan wars of the 1990s and his films are kept in the IRIB archives.
In 2007, he made his first feature film “The Messiah”, which depicts the story of Jesus Christ told from an Islamic point of view. The film was made into a TV series that aired on IRIB in 2010.
Subsequently, he concentrated on directing television programs, including “Asr” and “Raaz”, for which he received titles such as “head of the cultural front of the revolution”, “flag bearer of the front culture of the revolution” and “example of a revolutionary artist” by his sympathetic friends and Iranian officials.
He also launched the New Horizon conference, inviting figures from around the world who oppose US policies.
Speaking on a TV show, Talebzadeh once said he survived an attempted ‘biological terrorism’ during the Arbaeen rally in 2016. He said his suitcase was confiscated by gunmen in Najaf. The suitcase was returned to him in Karbala a few days later, but after handling it, he began to suffer from asthma and continued to suffer from insomnia.
Talebzadeh’s death came as a shock, triggering a flood of messages of condolence from his friends and officials, including filmmaker Ebrahim Hatamikia and President Ebrahim Raisi.
Hatamikia, the director of ‘Damascus Time’, called Talebzadeh “the most exceptional person” he has known in the cinema, and added: “It is unlikely that anyone will be able to fill his place in the cinema”.
In his condolence message, Raisi said, “The death of the revolutionary artist and influential figure on the cultural front of the Islamic Revolution, the late Nader Talebzadeh, has caused artists and cultural figures much grief.”
“This jihadist on the front line of soft war has made many brilliant documentary films and television programs, and as a media activist, cultural manager and expert on international issues, he has opened new horizons for awakening and struggle. against cultural invasion,” he added.
Talebzadeh’s funeral procession will depart from IRIB’s Bilal Mosque on Sunday and he will be buried at Behesht Zahra Cemetery in Tehran.
Pictured: Filmmaker and television producer Nader Talebzadeh in an undated photo.