Hengameh Panahi Obituary – Death: Revered Celluloid Dreams Sales Agent Who Handled Films Of Takeshi Kitano, Jacques Audiard, Jafar Panahi & François Ozon Has Passed Away At 67
Renowned French-Iranian sales agent and producer Hengameh Panahi, a trailblazer in the global film industry, has passed away at the age of 67, leaving behind a legacy that profoundly influenced the world of cinema.
The news of her passing was shared by Paris-based press attaché Viviana Andriani, who revealed that Panahi succumbed to a long-standing illness on November 5, marking the end of a courageous battle.
Born in Iran, Panahi journeyed to Belgium as a young adult to pursue her education, ultimately finding her footing in the film industry as the head of international at Brussels-based animation studio Graphoui. Demonstrating her keen eye for emerging talent early on, she forged connections with the likes of John Lasseter and Tim Burton during their early years in the 1980s.
Panahi established herself as a pioneering figure in the realm of film sales, founding Celluloid Dreams in Brussels in 1985 before relocating the company to Paris in 1993. Over three decades, the company flourished, promoting the works of numerous esteemed directors and contributing to the global recognition of their films.
Her commitment to nurturing emerging talent was evident through the successful promotion of initial works such as Bruno Dumont’s “The Life Of Jesus,” François Ozon’s “See The Sea,” Gaspar Noé’s “I Stand Alone,” and Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” among others.
Despite facing challenges during the global economic crisis, Panahi remained undeterred, seeking innovative ways to finance and distribute feature films, including her partnership with Efe Çakarel in launching the indie cinema VoD platform, The Auteurs, which later evolved into the renowned global distributor and production company, Mubi.
While she gradually scaled back her activities in 2014, Panahi continued to make a significant impact on the festival circuit, further solidifying her status as an influential figure in the world of cinema. Her enduring legacy includes significant accolades earned by films under her guidance, including top prizes at the Berlin, Cannes, and Venice Film Festivals. Her remarkable journey in the film industry will forever be remembered and celebrated by the global film community.