The First Iran International Documentary Film Festival
After many years of disputes among cinema managers, the first edition of a specialized documentary film festival, called “Cinema Verite” was held in Tehran in early October. The festival was organized by the Documentary and Experimental Film Center which is a specialized institution overseen by Cinema Affairs Department of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. During four days of the festival, enthusiasm for different sections was so high that some films were repeatedly screened and due to overcrowding in the last two days of the festival special regulations were set for entering theaters. For many years, documentary films have not been publicly screened in Iran and such festivals are the best chance for public screening of those films. Thus far, documentary cinema has been part of such creditable festivals as International Fajr Film Festival, but due to its importance, an independent and specialized festival has been dedicated to it.
This year, 173 documentaries were screened in various sections of the festival. The sections included international competition (-60' and +60' documentaries), national competition (-60' and +60' documentaries), mirror of festivals: Hotdocs, IDFA, Panorama of Syrian Documentary Cinema, Africa: Beauty & Pain, Tow Neighbors: Iraq & Afghanistan, Mowlana: Persian Poet of the World and other sections. Most films in international competition section were new films. That is, apart from documentaries made in 1980s and 1990s by Omar Amiralay (Syrian director) and the famous, four-hour documentary made by Fernando Solanas, The Hour of the Fire (1968, Argentina), the rest had been chosen out of recent films.
A major event in this year’s festival was its prosperous film market. It included 12 locations for review of Iranian documentaries as well as a suitable space for meetings and negotiations between domestic and foreign guests. This year’s festival also included some specialistic sessions such as review of the Iranian documentary cinema by Iranian documentarians and critics; a session attended by managers of international Hotdocs Festival of Canada; review and analysis of ABC Africa attended by Abbas Kiarostami; and review of Iraq in Fragments which was attended by its director, James Langley.
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