October 8, 2009

Iranian Filmmakers Get “Up Close and Personal” in LA


Los Angeles, CA – A delegation of prominent Iranian filmmakers will make their way to Los Angeles next week to present and discuss a series of Iranian films from October 9-16. Seyyed Mohsen Mirkarimi, administrator of Iran’s House of Cinema (Khaneh Cinema), will join the delegation upon invitation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. While UCLA is known for its Iranian film screenings, rarely do the film-makers actually attend. Tickets for the program called “Up Close and Personal: Iranian Filmmakers in Their Own Words” are only $5 per screening and can be purchased in advance.

From love, to science, to life in a war torn country, the festival offers something for everyone. The diverse roster of featured films includes

As Simple as That (2008), a film about a woman whose artistic ambitions are overwhelmed by the demands of her personal life at home with her selfish husband and materialistic children. Lady of the Roses (2008) documents the story of the late Shahindokht Sanati or “Lady of the Roses” who “transformed the agricultural destiny of an entire region in pre-revolutionary Iran through the planting of roses in place of poppies, and the production of rosewater in place of opium.”  Gilaneh traces a woman’s journey after the Iran-Iraq War from her village to Tehran in search of her pregnant daughter’s husband. For a full listing of films and participants, see Oscars.org.

The events will foster growing people-to-people cultural exchanges between Americans and Iranians, in the vein of the delegation of Hollywood dignitaries led by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences former-President Sid Ganis. Actress Annette Bening (American Beauty), screenwriter Frank Pierson (Cool Hand Luke, Dog Day Afternoon) and director Phil Robinson (Field of Dreams) visited Tehran in March 2009 on the invitation of the Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds (a.k.a. House of Cinema). These are rare, important occasions to bridge the gap between the U.S. and Iran, whose relations have been strained for thirty years.

Other such events include the non-governmental educational exchange in a visit to Sharif University of Technology in Tehran by a U.S. scientific delegation comprised of the presidents of six American universities in November 2008 and American medical scientists in December 2008 to encourage engagement of U.S. and Iranian academic, research, and other private-sector specialists on mutual interests. Cultural exchanges have also included U.S. visits by the Iranian national table tennis and basketball teams in the summer of 2008 during the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. These valuable exchanges have occurred even through a turbulent atmosphere between the two governments. Such valuable exchanges reaffirm the independent goodwill between the people of Iran and the US and are a sign of hope for good relations between the countries in the future.  




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