Academy of Asia – Pacific Screen Award
Asia – Pacific Screen Award, which was very successful in its first edition, is planning to achieve more important goals it is pursuing for promotion of Asian and Pacific cinemas. Des Power announced establishment of the Award in May 8 which is supported by the Australian actor, Jack Thompson. More details were revealed on May 16 during Cannes Film Festival. The event, whose first edition was held last year sponsored by UNESCO, FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations), and CNN International, aims to promote Asia and Pacific cinemas and filmmakers and to introduce them in international markets in order to find new markets for them. Des Power, chairman of Asia – Pacific Screen Award, announced that establishing Academy of Asia – Pacific Screen Award would be a next step to be taken to encourage cooperation and dialogue among regional filmmakers in order to create more trade opportunities for them. All 65 nominees for Asia – Pacific Screen Award in 2007 will become members of the Academy and a similar number of nominees are expected to become members of the Academy during the current year.
Construction and Reconstruction of Theaters
Theaters have been a chronic problem of the Iranian cinema for many years. Before the revolution, there were more theaters in the country. After the revolution, doubts about continuation of cinema activities led to relative standstill of the industry. However, 30 years have passed from the time that Imam Khomeini gave the go-ahead for Iranian filmmakers to continue their work and the number of theaters has increased. The reason behind low number of existing theaters compared to pre-revolution years is that many of them have been shut down on different grounds. Even some theaters which were run by capitalists affiliated with the former Shah, have been confiscated and turned into malls. Others have gone bankrupt due to inability to pay tax and other reasons and have been mothballed during the past years.
1st National Animation Conference
Last year and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of animation film production in Iran, Iranian animators noted that many countries have no track record in the field of animation while all needed infrastructures and facilities for producing animation films were provided in Iran. They added that Iran could even have its own animation style because all it takes to make a good animation is creative mind and artistic management, which exist in Iran. Akbar A’lami, secretary of the first national animation conference of Iran said that the measure was aimed to organize past ideas and announced that assessment of the status quo as well as art planning and management by private, semi-private, and state-run sectors will promote standing of Iranian animations in the world.
Situation of Film Screening in Iran
The cinema year in Iran starts after the end of Fajr International Film Festival (usually February 12). The new Iranian year starts about one month later (March 20) and in the meantime, applicant films are screened. This trend continues until the next Fajr Festival. About one decade ago, public screening of Iranian films was made conditional on their screening at Fajr International Film Festival. However, since many commercial films are now not accepted to the festival and it has become more specialistic, many such films are publicly screened without being screened at the Festival. Also, producers can decide whether to send their films to the Festival or not. That is, all films that do not take part at Fajr International Film Festival are not necessarily commercial ones.
Society of Directors
“House of Cinema” is the most important cinema organization in Iran which covers 29 professions such as producers, directors of photography, actors, editors … and even film critics. Society of Directors is the oldest and the most active of cinema organizations in Iran. Its foremost mission is to protect the interests of its membership which consists of almost all Iranian directors. The articles of association of House of Cinema have noted that it aims to “protect and safeguard the basic rights of directors through ensuring their job security.” The society has taken effective steps during past years and has been consequential in developments of the Iranian cinema during those years. For example, when differences between Bahram Baizai and producer of Killing Rabids (Behrouz Hashemiyan) heightened, the society intervened and defended the rights of the seasoned Iranian director. As a result, his film was screened under the best conditions. Last year, after a lot of debates over the ban on Dariush Mehrjui’s The Dulcimer Player, Society of Directors did its best to help the film, though its efforts have not been fruitful thus far.
Intense Competition in 61st Cannes Film Festival
A Song for Loneliness of Tehran (Saman Salur) was screened in “directors’ fortnight” section of Cannes Film Festival. The film was taken to Cannes and distributed internationally by Dreamlab Company which is managed by Nasrin Mireshab and was the sole Iranian film at the 61st Cannes Festival. Although, Iranian filmmakers were not happy that their country was only represented by a single film at one of the world’s most important cinema affairs, their reactions were more logical than the preceding year. Cannes Film Festival is considered very important by film producers and distributors due to its significance as a cinema event and the opportunity it provides them to market their films.