Art And Culture

FIFF a Bridge Between Asian, World Cinema

Sports, Art & Culture Desks
FIFF a Bridge Between Asian, World Cinema  FIFF a Bridge Between Asian, World Cinema

The 34th Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF) slated for April 20-25 in Tehran will screen a selection of the best productions from Iran and abroad. An independent event since last year, it is separate from the national festival held February 1-11 this year.

At a press conference on Tuesday, March 8, at Charsou Cinema Complex in downtown Tehran, which will be the main venue for the six days of film screenings, renowned filmmaker and event secretary Reza Mirkarimi and three of his deputies elaborated on the international festival.

Mirkarimi pointed to foreign producers who are keen to attend the festival this year largely due to last year’s successful hosting of the event, independent from the local section for the first time. Further, Iran’s nuclear accord with the six world powers signed on July 14, 2015 has opened “a new window for Iran’s interactions with the world in different fields, including cinema.”

“Surely, the new and bright prospects have been influential. We have invited a wide section of people in the film industry who have warmly welcomed us. Moreover, we have received numerous requests from foreign cineastes keen to take part in the event,” Mirkarimi said.

He also referred to his talks with directors of Toronto and Berlin film festivals. “In addition to the unique position of Iranian cinema in the Middle East and even Asia, Iran is the safest country in the region.” The FIFF seeks to build a bridge between Asian and world cinema.

The FIFF is a showcase of local quality productions and also provides a platform for cultural and cinematic exchanges between local and foreign cineastes. This will help Iranians in the field to improve, he said.

 Different Sections

The 34th FIFF will include sections of International Competition of Cinema Salvation, Panorama of Films from Asian and Islamic Countries, Festival of Festivals, Special Screenings of documentaries and memorials, Retrospectives and Tributes.

There will be 12 foreign and three Iranian feature films in the different sections. In the competitive category, only one Golden Simorgh will be awarded for the best film and five silver Simorgh statuettes will be given to the best director, actor, actress, script and technical fields.

There will also be a special Audience Award for the best film chosen by the viewers and Muhammad Al-Ameen Award for the best work reflecting prophetic ethics and morality.

‘Darolfonoon’, a new section added this year, is in fact a talent campus which targets young filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts. It will hold expert sessions for the youth. Young talent from other cities will be encouraged to take part in the sessions. The title of the section refers to the first modern institution of higher learning in Iran, established in 1851.

Deputy of international affairs Amir Esfandiari said almost 200 cineastes have been invited. Prominent producers, screenwriters, directors, actors, critics and journalists are among the guests. The jury for the competition section will include five international and two Iranian members.

Actor, producer and secretary of expert sessions Alireza Shoja-Noori, said this year’s edition will be more specialized. “A quality festival is not just for screening films but is a place for mutual interaction among filmmakers. So we plan to make the best of our foreign guests and learn as much as possible from their experience and knowledge.”

A new feature of the festival is that before screening each film, its director will be introduced by an Iranian film expert. Q and A sessions are programmed after each movie as well as analysis workshops and sessions to exchange opinions on the films between the audience and experts.

Well-known actor and manager of the festival venue Reza Kianian, said this year there will be no daily bulletins. “Instead, a smart phone application has been designed so that the public can get the festival updates.”

Responding to a query from Financial Tribune on the reason for selecting the crowded neighborhood of Charsou Cinema Complex for the festival venue, Kianian said, “As it is situated in an old district of Tehran full of museums and historical sites, it will be certainly interesting for foreign guests”.

 History & Culture

This year, Ferdowsi International Grand Hotel will accommodate foreign participants. It is near the Charsou Complex and takes less than 15 minutes on foot to get there; “so our guests will have a great chance to know our city’s history and culture which is clearly visible in the neighborhood”.

The poster of the festival was also unveiled which portrays Ezzatollah Entezami in a scene from the movie ‘The Cow’ (1969).

Mirkarimi told the Tribune that “Entezami (known as Master Actor in Iran) is popular in Iranian cinema and won the first international prize for acting for this film at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1971. The film is well-known in the world and critics have compared it with the works of the famous Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. So it is our honor to have this actor on the poster and there will also be a special screening of the film during the festival”.

Turkey, Poland, Qatar, Thailand, Armenia, Japan, Morocco, India, Canada, Russia, Croatia, Estonia, the US and many other countries are participating in the festival.