Special Features
About the Film
Educational Resources
Site Index
Shop PBS
Return to Home
Return to Home

Making of the Film
About the Producer
About the Assistant Director
About the Art Director
Art Director

Majid Mirfakhraei
One of the most important elements in the production of Islam: Empire of Faith was the work of the Art Director Majid Mirfakhraei, one of the foremost art directors working in Iranian cinema today. As chief creative partner to the director Robert Gardner, he was responsible for designing the extensive historical reenactments in Islam: Empire of Faith. Mirfakhraei oversaw the creation of more than 300 period costumes — among them Bedouin tribesmen, Mongol soldiers, Crusaders knights, seventh-century Arab soldiers, ninth-century scholars and scribes of Baghdad, the people of 11th-century Jerusalem, and the royal robes of Suleyman the Magnificent and his harem. He supervised sets and locations created and dressed for the Arabian Desert, Mecca, seventh-century Medina, ninth-century Baghdad, Crusader era Jerusalem and the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

"More than anyone else, Mirfakhraei is responsible for the very distinctive look of the film — and for the extraordinary level of authenticity the locations and costumes represent," says director Rob Gardner. "He was tireless in his efforts to find the best location, no matter how remote, to fastidiously remove every power-line, automobile or other evidence of the modern day from a village scene, to dress and re-dress actors until their costumes had the right combination of wear, dirt and grit to communicate the authentic. We simply could not have done it without him."

Mr. Mirfakhraei's talents are in high demand in his native country of Iran. His current projects include a feature film about the life of the Imam, Iran's most important historical personality of the century, and Molla Sadra, a television series that tells the story of a famous medieval Iranian philosopher. In addition, Mr. Mirfakhraei teaches production design at the Art University of Tehran, the Iranian Radio and Television University, and Tehran University.