Magazine article Screen International

IFFR: Iranian Film Flourishing

Magazine article Screen International

IFFR: Iranian Film Flourishing

Article excerpt

Iranian writer-director Reza Mirkarimi's Today, Iran's Oscar submission, has been screening at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) this week.

Speaking at IFFR (Jan 21-Feb 1), Mirkarimi gave a relatively upbeat assessment of the Iranian film industry.

Under President Hassan Rouhani, he said, the filmmakers have been allowed to re-establish "The House Of Cinema," the syndicate/guild to which almost every Iranian filmmaker and technician belongs. This is the non-governmental institution that defends filmmakers' rights.

The syndicate was closed in 2011 when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was still in power but was re-opened under Rouhani in 2013. Meanwhile, Iranian directors are finding it easier to get their movies into cinemas - not least because of the lack of Hollywood competition.

"There is a supportive politics in Iranian cinema which does not allow American movies to be shown in the theatres," he said. "The cinemas work for Iranian movie makers. Art movies have more opportunity to be shown."

The director claimed that there is more variety and openness in Iranian cinema, and that "more views of different colours are able to express themselves." He suggested there was a "broader spectrum" of movies which, in turn, is attracting a wider mix of filmgoers.

Mirkarimi also pointed to the beneficial effect of director Asghar Farhadi's Foreign Language Oscar for A Separation in 2012.

"It (the Oscar) had a positive impact," he said. "Iranian cinema was already known in many countries around the world but it had never managed to win a prize of this magnitude. …

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