The world has lost Hengameh Panahi, the French-Iranian producer and sales agent who started Celluloid Dreams and played a crucial role in introducing works by auteurs such as Todd Haynes, Jacques Audiard, Marjane Satrapi, François Ozon, and Jafar Panahi (no relation). Her age was 67.
After working with Panahi for many years, Viviana Andriani, a press attaché, reported on Thursday that Panahi passed away on November 5th following a protracted illness.
Launched by Panahi in 1985, Celluloid Dreams was a ground-breaking production and sales firm that contributed to the development of the international arthouse cinema market.
Celluloid, a Paris-based company, packaged and distributed over 800 films over the course of three decades, including several notable films such as the debuts of François Ozon (See The Sea), Gaspar Noé (I Stand Alone), Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), and Bruno Dumont (The Life of Jesus).
Born in Iran and immigrated to Europe at the age of twelve, Panahi was among the first sales representatives to recognise the potential of Asian arthouse directors on a global scale.
Panahi combined his love of films with a creative finance and production style. Serving as an executive producer on films, she helped establish new international development and co-financing models and aimed to unite the independent marketplaces of the United States and Europe.
Even if she has reduced her output recently, Panahi is still a mainstay on the international festival circuit and represents certain films from some of her favourite directors.