Art And Culture

Khuzestan Cities Need Rejuvenation

Sports, Art & Culture Desks
Khuzestan Cities Need RejuvenationKhuzestan Cities Need Rejuvenation

Actor Hamid Farrokhnejad severely censured officials, especially those in the oil ministry for the problems that continue to persist in the southern cities of Abadan and Khorramshahr, 25 years after the end of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war.

He was speaking at a press conference on the 52nd Regional Festival of Youth Cinema, Arvand, held at the venue of the Iranian Youth Cinema Society (IYCS) in Tehran, Sunday (Feb. 15).

Farrokhnejad, who is the honorary secretary of the festival, rued the current plight of the cities in Khuzestan province, particularly Abadan and Khorramshahr, and said, “It is a pity that after 25 years of the imposed war, these cities are still lagging.”

Criticizing officials in his own field of expertise, cinema, he pointed to the number of movie theaters in the past and said, “Before the war, there were 21 active cinema halls in Abadan, but the number has been reduced to only one today. It is affiliated to the oil ministry but does regularly screen movies.”

“All the revenues of this ministry come from Khuzestan Province, however, there is not the slightest official support in reviving the cultural centers of the cities,” he added.

The actor, a native of Abadan, further asked the ministry to elaborate on the measures taken during the past 25 years “to prepare proper cultural infrastructure in Abadan and Khorramshahr.”


Farrokhnejad had previously made a movie on Sacred Defense titled ‘Red Journey’ which was never screened in the country. Responding to a question by Financial Tribune whether he was disappointed that his efforts were not seen, he said, “I never get upset as I am indebted to the field of cinema. Nobody can forget the sad events that happened here during the war. In fact, I have reduced my activities in cinema and got involved in efforts to help dedicate land and buildings to cinematic affairs in the region.”

He said that Arvand Free Zone Organization in cooperation with IYCS and Khuzestan governor’s office is investing on this issue, and hoped that such festivals will help expose the region’s cultural shortcomings to the relevant officials as well as in assisting young talent to be introduced to the work of cinema.

Director general of culture and Islamic organization of Khuzestan Province Homayoun Ghanavati, president of the IYCS Habib Ilbeigi, and festival president Morteza Nematzadeh attended the session.

The poster and special trophy of the festival were also unveiled. ‘Headless Palm’ statuette, as a symbol of the palms burnt, cut or destroyed during the 1980-88 imposed war in the province - an area known for its palm trees - will be awarded to the winners at the closing ceremony.

On the final day, a number of cineastes active in filmmaking, script writing, and photography will also be honored.

  Festival Sections

The festival, comprising three sections of short films, screenplays, and photos, will kick off in Abadan on March 20 and after four days of movie screenings and holding specialized meetings, it will conclude on March 23, awarding the best in each section.

Among a total of 430 films, 87 were selected by the selection committee; out of 1003 photos received by the secretariat 50 qualified; and 13 screenplays among 258 works were recognized worthy of entering the festival.

The sessions on specific issues are slated for the first three days of the cinematic event. The famous cinematographer Mahmoud Kalari will attend the first session on the subject of cinematography on day one. The second day, the well-known filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami will hold the session on experimental cinema. And Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi will join the specialized session on the third day.

  Free Zone

Arvand Free Zone is located along the Persian Gulf and covers a 172 sq km industrial and security zone that surrounds Khorramshahr, Abadan, and Minoo Island, at the confluence of two large rivers (Karoon and Arvand) in Khuzestan Province, Iran.

The free zone is the only contributing factor to Abadan & Khorramshahr’s rapid economic development. The organization seeks to provide the local and international business investors with a unique investment opportunity in a free market environment, thus leading Abadan & Khorramshahr into a new age of industrial and free zone development.

Among the recent major activities undertaken by the IYCS, last month the 6th National Festival of Prayer in Camera’s View was held in the holy city of Qom. Moreover, last October, the society organized the 31st International Tehran Short Film Festival. A total of 20 short films produced by the society have recently been sent to the 37th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, France, to be presented in the short film market.