Tehran Short Film Festival opens, filmed at the Oscars for the first time
The festival jury is made up of members of the Islamic Republic as well as Italy, Japan, France and Austria.
The festival, now in its 38th year and running until Sunday, has been called this year’s gateway to Hollywood’s annual awards show.
The event “has been added as a qualifying festival in the short film categories this year,” the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed. “And this is the only current qualifying festival in Iran.”
The designation came despite strong tensions between Washington and Tehran, which had not had diplomatic ties since 1979, before the festival began.
This year’s showcase also coincides with efforts to resume negotiations on the relaunch of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers, with the aim of ending a punitive sanctions regime. .
“I am both happy and proud of the qualification of our festival,” the president of the event, Sadegh Moussavi, told AFP.
“It’s a great success for cultural diplomacy,” he said with a smile. “We believe that culture and art can have a more prestigious status than politics.”
The Tehran festival was a springboard for big names in Iranian cinema, including double Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi, Bahman Ghobadi and Reza Mirkarimi, festival spokesman Mansour Jahani said.
Moussavi said Tehran’s candidacy for the Academy was initially rejected because its candidates are not required to pay fees.
“We replied that our country was under sanctions and therefore it is impossible for those who want to present their films to pay a registration fee,” he said.
Tehran is the only short film festival without these fees out of around 130 worldwide that are Oscar-eligible, Moussavi said.
Following recognition from the Academy, this year’s festival competition received more than 6,400 entries from 128 countries, 2,000 more than last year.
Five Iranian films and 58 foreign films have been shortlisted for the grand prize and the winner will be presented to the Academy for possible Oscar nomination.
The selections have upset some young Iranian directors whose films have not been selected, and have given rise to accusations of censorship, in particular from the filmmaker Farnoush Samadi.
âIt is my duty to write to the Academy to protest against this censorship, injustice and unprofessional actions of the Tehran festival,â Samadi said on Instagram.
On the same social media platform, Ali Asgari, a director, said that as a member of the Academy he “will not vote for a film shortlisted by the Tehran Short Film Festival in order to support all filmmakers whose films were rejected “. . “
Moussavi denied the accusations, saying that “there was no censorship on our part. We received 1,500 films from Iranian filmmakers. We have to make a choice using the themes and quality of the film as criteria.” .
Â© 2021 AFP