Islamic Propagation Organization, Arts Section
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by Mehrzad Danesh
There are four groups of filmmaking organizations in Iran: governmental, semi-governmental, cooperative and private. The Arts Section of the Islamic Propagation Organization is one of the most important semi-governmental institutions which were formed immediately after the Islamic Revolution (1979). After many years of activities, it still is one of the most prominent organizations in the area of film production and other cinematic activities. During the past 27 years, the Arts Section of the Islamic Propagation Organization has introduced many filmmakers to Iran’s film industry. Many of them are now well-known in the Iranian and international cinema and film festivals. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Rasoul Molla-Qolipour, Majid Majidi, Ebrahim Hatami-Kia, Mojtaba Raee and Behrouz Afkhami are some of these filmmakers who have either started their career at the Arts Section of the Islamic Propagation Organization or have worked with it at one point or another during their career.
Just a few months after victory of the Islamic Revolution, a number of young artists in the areas of film, theater, painting, novel writing and poetry got together to form a circle that would further artistic activities in a religious and revolutionary direction and to create examples to be followed by new artists. Hossein Khosrwjerdi, Nasser Palangi, Kazem Chalipa (painters and sculptors) Amir Hossein Fardi, Ghasemali Farasat (novelists), Hassan Hosseini and Gheisar Aminpour (poets) as well as Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Farajollah Salahshour, Majid Majidi and Mohammad Kasebi (filmmakers) were among those artists. Many of them are now teaching at Iran’s most prestigious academic centers.
The organization they founded was named “Islamic Thought and Arts Center.” They presented examples of their works, including screenplays, novels, poetry and theoretical articles on the characteristics of the Islamic art, in a journal named Soureh. The most prominent figure in that group was Mohsen Makhmalbaf who created and presented several works in the area of cinema and theater.
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