Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the praise of critics and audiences around the world for his intimate and challenging stories of family conflict, including "Dancing in the Dust" (2003), "About Elly" (2009) and the Oscar-winning "A Separation" (2011). Born May 7, 1972 in the province of Isfahan, Iran, Farhadi developed an interest in moviemaking during his teenage years and made his first films - 8mm and 16mm projects - in 1986 as a member of the Youth Cinema Society of Esfahan. In 1998, Farhadi earned his bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Tehran before gaining his MA in stage direction from Tarbiat Modares University. From there, he wrote and directed television programs for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the media corporation that oversaw his country's radio and television industries. In 2002, Farhadi made his debut as a feature film screenwriter by collaborating with director Ebrahim Hatamikia on the critically acclaimed "Erterfae Past" ("Low Heights," 2002). The following year, he directed his first feature film, "Dancing in the Dust" (2003), which, like many of his pictures, examined the legal and social challenges faced by Iranians through the prism of familial turmoil. Its story concerned a divorced man reduced to hunting snakes in the desert as a means of paying back in his in-laws for his wedding. In its follow-up, "Shahr-e-Ziba" ("Beautiful City," 2004), Farhadi explored the intricacies of Islamic law by following the efforts of a woman to free her brother from a death sentence. It earned critical praise on the festival circuit, but was surpassed by Farhadi's third film, "Chaharshambe Soori" ("Fireworks Wednesday," 2008), which followed a domestic worker embroiled in her employers' marital troubles. The film was a major success at various international film festivals. Farhadi's fourth film, "Darbâreye Eli" ("About Elly," 2009), was an unsettling drama about a group of middle-class friends whose group vacation goes terribly wrong when their nanny disappears without a trace. The film elevated him to prominence by winning the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 59th Berlin Film Festival and other accolades, including submission for the Best Foreign Award at the 82nd Academy Awards. Two years later, its success was eclipsed by an even greater triumph with "Jodai-e-Nader az Simin" ("A Separation," 2011), which recounted the cause and effect of a middle-class intellectual couple's divorce. Hailed by critics around the world, "A Separation" became the first Iranian film to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and earned several additional major awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. In 2013, Farhadi's first international co-production, "Le Passé" ("The Past," 2013), won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, while its star, Bérénice Bejo, was chosen as Best Actress. The drama, about an Iranian man (Tahar Rahim) who returns to France to finalize his divorce from the wife (Bejo) he deserted, also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.