Art And Culture

New Head at Iranian Cinema Organization

Mohammad Mehdi Heidarian is the 14th cinema deputy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and an experienced person in cinema management who served in the same position 10 years ago for a period of two years and a half
New Head at Iranian Cinema Organization
New Head at Iranian Cinema Organization

Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi Amiri appointed his senior advisor Mohammad Mehdi Heidarian as the new head of Iranian Organization of Cinema.

Heidarian succeeds Hojatollah Ayoubi who was in charge of Iran cinema for the past three years and a half, ISNA reported.

Iranian Organization of Cinema is affiliated to the Culture Ministry and its head is in fact the deputy minister for cinema affairs.

During his tenure, Ayoubi achieved two major tasks: one was organizing the art and experience cinematic group to screen experimental, documentary, and short films, and the other separating the international section of Fajr Film Festival from the national section and running it independently.

  Possible Reasons

However, during his management, several movies were banned from public release although their screening permit had been issued by the ministry.

Reza Dormishian’s ‘I’m Not Angry’, Ahmadreza Darvish’s ‘Hussain Who Said No’, Shahram Shah-Hosseini’s ‘The Girl’s House’, Kianoush Ayyari’s ‘Parental House’, Ali Ahmadzadeh’s ‘Atom Heart Mother’ and Bahman Farmanara’s ‘I Want to Dance’ are the movies which are still awaiting local screening after many years despite having successful international presence in several festivals.

Three other movies were also denied screening permit by his organization although their scripts were approved in the first place. Abdolreza Kahani’s ‘Delighted’, Mohsen Amir-Yousefi’s ‘Lovely Trashes’ and Kianoush Ayari’s ‘The Sofa’ are the films who have yet to receive screening permits.

‘The Sofa’ is the newest production which faced problems during the 35th Fajr Film Festival last month. The festival itself was the most challenging one in the past decades since there were harsh criticisms towards it, from the selection of films before the festival to the final judgment of winners in the end.

Ayoubi defended the festival and its organizers and believed that it was the best edition in its history. However, it is speculated that it was the last straw which led to his removal.

There has been no reason mentioned for the change in the cinema head, but considering the number of banned films during his administration, the huge load of censures about the festivals as well as many cineastes’ disapproval of him for not supporting the cinema community and paying little attention to their welfare, is most likely the reason why the new culture minister decided to replace him.

  Experienced Figure

Heidarian, 55, is the 14th cinema deputy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He is an experienced person in cinema management since he served as the deputy minister for cinema affairs 10 years ago for a period of two years and a half.

His other related activities include serving as the director general of audiovisual cooperation at the Culture Ministry and director general of monitoring and evaluation of cinema and audiovisual affairs, among others.

He was the producer of Majid Majidi’s ‘Muhammad, the Messenger of God’ (2015) which has had successful screenings in Iran, Iraq and Turkey so far and has attended several international festivals. He also has made some short films and documentaries.

This is the first change among the minister’s deputies since Salehi Amiri replaced Ali Jannati about four months ago.

The new head of cinema now has a chance to pursue the goals which he once had in mind but could not fully realize when he was in charge.

Before leaving the organization 10 years ago, Heidarian said that part of his programs have been fulfilled and the rest will come true in the long term.

One of his goals was to develop a ‘code of ethics’ for Iran cinema so that “we have certain legal standards in production, distribution and screening of films”.

Many cineastes have good memories of him during his tenure believing that he helped improve the local movie industry in different sections. Now that he has been given another chance to manage the cinema organization, expectations are high from Heidarian to succeed in realizing his long-awaited goals and assist Iran cinema to further prosper both locally and internationally.


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