Date: April 20, 2016, 12:43 pm

Iran rolls out red carpet for world-class auteur filmmakers

Well-known Hong Kong director Andrew Lau and Russian director Alexander Sokurov are among the attendees of the 34th FIFF, which began in Tehran on April 20.

This is the second year in which the festival’s international section is held independently from its domestic counterpart.

Although last year the festival was not enthusiastically welcomed, it is anticipated that the current edition will be well-received given the good publicity for the event.

The presence of 50 countries in the festival indicates the level of global publicity for the fiesta.

The english newspaper Iran Daily conducted an interview with Keyvan Kassirian, the manager of the festival’s public relations and informatics to learn about the exact number of films which are to be shown. Excerpts of the interview follow:

IRAN DAILY: Can you tell us how many foreign films will be screened in the event and how many sections will host the films?

KEYVAN KASSIRIAN: Over 50 films from 50 countries are taking part in the festival. Nine films will be screened for the first time in Iran, six others will experience their first international screening in this festival while three films will premiere in this event.

The sections of the festival are: Cinema Salvation (international competition), East Panorama (Asian and Islamic Countries) will screen short films, Festival of Festivals (Cup of Divination), Special Screenings (documentaries and memorials) and Retrospectives and Tributes (French Cinema).

-Who are the special guests of the festival?

Prolific Russian director Alexander Sokurov and Hong Kong’s most acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Lau will be present in Iran’s major global event in the motion picture industry.

Furthermore, a famous correspondent of Hollywood Reporters will also be here to cover the news.

Sokurov will attend the screening of his documentary ‘Francofonia’ (2015), which depicts the history of the Louvre during the Nazi occupation and offers a meditation on the meaning and timelessness of art. His documentary will be screened in the ‘Special Screenings and Events’ of the festival.

Sokurov is also scheduled to deliver a speech for students at the Cinema-Theater Faculty.

Andrew Lau, who tags the title of the most successful Hong Kong film director, to his name for directing 45 films, producing 33 films, and cinematography for more than 50 films will also be present. He began his artistic career in 80s with cinematography of films by such great directors like Wong Kar Wai and pioneered a special style in cinematography winning many cinematography prizes from Hong-Kong film festival like Golden Horse. His ‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’, a 2014 crime drama film, was produced by highly-acclaimed American director Martin Scorsese.

-It is said that this edition of the festival focuses more on encouraging young filmmakers. How can the festival make such workshops purposeful?

Earlier, it was announced that the major purpose of the festival is to train young filmmakers and increase their knowledge. Several workshops conducted by prominent Iranian and foreign filmmakers will be held to achieve this goal.

Another section called ‘Dar ul-Funun’ has been established to identify intelligent filmmakers. 100 of the best Iranian and foreign (from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Turkey) filmmakers with at least one film in their record or those who conducted in-depth cinematic research are invited to take part in Q&A sessions to exchange ideas.

In total, 8,000 individuals have registered so far to watch the film.

-Where will the festival take place?

The festival will be held in Charsoo Cineplex in Tehran.

-Do you think the cineplex can accommodate 8,000 individuals?

We did not intend to hold the festival luxuriously. Our experience of the first edition made us decide to hold the event in a smaller location but with higher quality.

Although we did not expect such warm welcome, we do not expect any problems with the number of participants.