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Hailing from Iran, artistic director Kaveh Daneshmand holds the 4th edition of the Festival of Iranian Films (FIF) in Prauge, Czech Republic. The film buff first started the festival in his 20’s and has watched it grow over the years into a full-fledged competitive film event.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Rebels of Iranian Cinema”, which will comprise of 20 films competing in four separate categories: Feature Film, Out of Competition, Documentary, and Short Film. Winners will be based off of various factors such as the top pick of the audience as well as a Jury panel of highly credited and important persons in both the Iranian and Czech film/TV world. With over 150 films being made in the Islamic Republic every year, there is something to be said about the importance and effect of these chosen 20 films. Most of the films featured are made with an extremely low budget, and therefore are not chosen or judged based on their wow factor or political effect. Instead, the films are chosen based on “high artistic values and a brave approach to their subject matter”.
Daneshmand notes the difference between the current young filmmakers claiming, “unlike the previous generation, this one is not going through metaphors: They go straight to the heart of the topic.” This rebellious and straightforward vision of the young generation of filmmakers may have been what inspired the theme of this year’s festival. One possible reason for this new wave of directness may relate to the recent leniency from the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, which requires all scripts to be approved before release. One film that has been creating a lot of buzz since it’s release in 2013 is Shahram Mokri’s film Fish & Cat (Mahi Va Gorbeh). The movie is filmed in one long single take and depicts a restaurant that serves human flesh. Seen as a more provocative film, the Ministry did allow the film to be screened in selected theatres for a short time, resulting in sold-out screenings all over Iran. One of the most known films featured in this year’s festival is the dark vampire flick titled A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, which has already been screened across the world including in the United States. Iranian- American director Lilly Amirpour is one of many female directors whose films are featured in this year’s festival; Daneshmand noting that one-quarter of Iranian filmmakers are in fact women.
This year the festival will take place not only in Prague where it originated, but it is to be extended to the city of Brno. This extension shows just how popular and respected this festival is in the Czech Republic, and its success in representing and exposing Iranian films and filmmakers to a wider audience.
Fourth Festival of Iranian Films
When: Jan. 7–11 in Prague; Jan. 13–15 in Brno
Where: Kino Světozor and Bio Oko in Prague; Kino Scala in Brno
Tickets: 100–110 Kč