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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Teen director up for top film award
Hana Makhmalbaf
Hana grew up around film sets. Photo: Makhmalbaf Film House
A film by a 14-year-old Iranian director is up for one of the main awards at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Hana Makhmalbaf comes from Iran's most successful film family. Both her father and older sister are acclaimed directors.

Her first full-length film, Joy of Madness, will compete for the 100,000 euro (71,000) prize for best debut.

It is a documentary about her sister, Samira Makhmalbaf, making her latest film in Afghanistan, and has been chosen for the festival's critics' week.

Hana Makhmalbaf grew up on film sets and her first short film, made when she was eight, was screened at the Locarno Film Festival.

Samira Makhmalbaf at Cannes in 2000
Samira competed for the Cannes Palme d'Or at the age of 20
She was credited as an assistant producer on her sister Samira's breakthrough film, The Apple, two years later.

In 2000, Samira - then aged 20 - became the youngest director to have a film up for the Palme d'Or at Cannes with Blackboards.

Joy of Madness is about the making of Samira's follow-up, At Five in the Afternoon, which was also in competition at Cannes.

But Samira has said Joy of Madness is better than both At Five in the Afternoon and Kandahar, an international arthouse hit directed by their father Mohsen.

The success of Hana's film is said to be down to the fact that she was able to wander the city alone with a digital camera - although she was reportedly almost kidnapped on one occasion.

The Venice Film Festival runs from 27 August to 6 September.

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