Continued disputes between House of Cinema and State officials:
Names and Desks

  Managerial structure of the Iranian cinema is composed of two main decision-making bodies: “Cinema Department of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance” which is a state-run organ in charge of supervising cinema affairs and “House of Cinema” which is an independent institution whose board of directors is elected by filmmakers. The two institutions have been constantly at loggerheads and, sometimes, state officials have tried to sway the same control over cinema which they already applied to other cultural and social areas. The House of Cinema is thus the most important center of resistance to state monopoly over the Iranian cinema; although its approaches have sometimes changed due to changes in state officials and large-scale cultural policies.  Both institutions’ approaches are to a large extent dependent on their managers. Disputes between them, therefore, are mostly the result of disputes between those who run them, rather than differences in goals and policies. These disputes reached their acme during last summer when the whole body of the Iranian cinema was almost affected by differences between two institutions.
The latest instance of confrontation between House of Cinema and Cinema Department started after appointment of Javad Shameqdari as deputy minister of culture and Islamic guidance for cinema affairs. He started right away by declaring his indignation with the management of House of Cinema. The faceoff, however, had its root in earlier times though those roots are not totally clear. A few years ago, there was a televised debate between Shameqdari, which was the then cultural advisor to President Ahmadinejad, and Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour as new managing director of House of Cinema. The debate was aired in a program called Two Steps before Dawn and it was evident that the main cause of their difference was personal. It probably dates back to when Asgarpour was managing director of Farabi Cinema Foundation. Job security and the Cinema Department’s reluctance to allocate suitable budget to House of Cinema were major issues which further kindled the disputes.


[Page: 32]

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