Film Directors Meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
During past few years, different political and religious figures of the Islamic Republic of Iran have met with film directors to talk about their viewpoints and demands. Two years ago, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei met with directors and lauded their efforts for culture building and promised to support the Iranian cinema. The meeting was run by Majid Majidi and was attended by renowned directors such as Ebrahim Hatami-Kia, Dariush Farhang, Tahmineh Milani, Ahmad Amini, Fereidoun Jeirani, Iraj Karimi, Jamal Sourjeh, Alireza Raeisian, Abolqasem Talebi and others. Good tidings following that meeting was a threefold increase in the budget appropriated to the Iranian cinema and many experts opined that the increase was a result of the meeting. Afterwards, a number of Iranian producers have met with high-ranking clerics in Qom to discuss their problems. A few months ago, Javad Shameqdari, an Iranian director who is President Ahmadinejad’s senior advisor in cinema affairs, called on Iranian directors to meet with Ahmadinejad. Of course, the schedule changed several times because Ahmadinejad was too busy. The meeting was officially held in early fall and although Shameqdari had announced that seasoned directors like Dariush Mehrjui, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, and Majid Majidi had been invited, none of them showed up. Shameqdari reacted to their absence by saying that although they had promised to be there, they were absent and some of them had intentionally turned off their cellphones to be out of reach! Comparison between directors’ meetings with Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad reveals that their presence in the first meeting was remarkable, but they showed no enthusiasm for the latter meeting. A major reason, experts said, is disagreement of directors to existing conditions of the Iranian cinema and policies that have caused many restrictions for them. Others maintained that frequent cancellation of the meeting with president was the main reason. Meanwhile, reformist newspapers claimed that the measure was a publicity step by Ahmadinejad’s advisor in the run-up to the forthcoming presidential election.