September 25, 2020

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Shahram Mokri: Iran sanctions big obstacle to joint film projects

TEHRAN – Iranian director Shahram Mokri, whose latest drama “Careless Crime” was screened at the 77th Venice Film Festival, has said the U.S. sanctions on Iran have put a big obstacle in the way of the countries and companies eager to cooperate with Iran in the film industry.

He made the remarks in the program “European Union for the Future of World Cinema” held at the Spazio Incontri on Sunday on the margins of the festival. 

Mokri called Iran a land of rich literature full of myths and legends, enjoying a four-season climate, with cinema experts and a 110-year-long history in filmmaking.

He also talked about Iranian’s higher regard for cinema, Iran’s good film market for mutual film projects, and the higher rate of speed of film production in Iran compared to European and American countries as positive points for joint productions.

However, he said that the U.S. sanctions on Iran have been a big obstacle impeding the transfer of money and assets between the Iranian banks and other countries, leading to less interest by Iranian producers and managers to invest in other countries for joint productions. 

“Careless Crime” is competing in the Orizzonti section of the 77th Venice Film Festival, dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema.

“Careless Crime” goes back forty years ago, during the uprising to overthrow the Shah’s regime in Iran, when protestors set fire to movie theaters as a way of showing opposition to Western culture. Many cinemas were burned down. In one tragic case, a theater was set on fire with four hundred people inside, most of whom were burned alive. Forty years have passed and, in contemporary Iran, four individuals also decide to burn down a cinema. Their intended target is a theater showing a film about an unearthed, unexploded missile.

In addition, two more Iranian films, “Sun Children” and “The Wasteland” were screened in various sections of the festival.

Directed by Majid Majidi, “Sun Children”, also known as “The Sun”, was screened in the official competition of the event.

The drama about child labor in Tehran won the Crystal Simorgh for best film at the 38th edition of the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran in February.

“The Wasteland” by Ahmad Bahrami was competing in the Orizzonti section.

It is about an old brick manufacturing factory that is going to be shut down, and all that matters to the factory supervisor is to keep his lover unharmed.  

Iranian filmmakers are frequent visitors to the Venice Film Festival.

Photo: Director Shahram Mokri poses on stage with the Special Orizzonti Award for his movie “Fish and Cat” during the Closing Ceremony of the 70th Venice International Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema on September 7, 2013 in Venice, Italy. (Getty Images/Ian Gavan)

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Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/452211/Shahram-Mokri-Iran-sanctions-big-obstacle-to-joint-film-projects

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