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1st London Iranian Film Festival Press Conference


The improvised press conference room, behind a thick set of red velvet curtains, would probably be best described as "Iranian". A homely, cosy middle eastern feel with chairs in neat rows, leather sofas edging the walls and the screen behind the panel's desk.

The festival director, Pejman Danaei, wanted to make clear the reasons for the existence of the festival:

- A a platform to showcase the great cinema that is coming out of Iran and Iranians all over the world and encourage the continuation of the Iranian cinematic tradition. 

- Other film festivals are not as accessible to Iranians as UKIFF had an office in Tehran (as well as London) where people could submit their films directly to the festival with no submission charge. (471 films were submitted in total for the festival in 3 categories)

-  London is perfect location as it is a centre of multiculturalism and its people the most cosmopolitan. The aim of the festival is that it is accessible to everyone, Iranian and non-Iranian. 

The festival's was Pejman's idea and it has taken 2 years to happen due to the strong belief that the festival should not be supported and endorsed by any organizations with political/religious/cultural affiliations meaning that festival is funded by Pejman and 2 private investors. 

Funds are not guaranteed for next year, but Pejman already has some future plans in place wanting the festival to be a year-round happening with several categories (illustration, photography, etc), as well as, being able to provide filmmaking courses for 8-12 year olds on a regular basis. 

Patrick Tucker, member of the selection committee and long-time theatre and TV director, said that the festival is important due to the ease of tuning into other cultures as we all share the same universal problems.

Zoran Veljkovic, member of the selection committee and cinematographer, stressed the importance of passing on and teaching younger generations which is his hope for the festival.  He was also surprised with the quality of the work submitted considering most of the filmmakers had to rely on their passion for filmmaking. 

Hossein Khosrojerdi, member of the selection committee and artist, was proud to be the only person in the room who could not speak English having never had to leave his country to be able to have a career, although he admitted that it is hard to be an artist in Iran, he also believes in Iran as a rich centre of film and art that should be showcased to the wider world. 

The films were all judged on artistic value, so the criteria is completely different to other film festivals, something that is important to all the members of the selection committee as, to some of them, the programming of the festival was their first contact with Iranian film. 

 The programme can be found here:







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About Tania Martins

Tania Martins

Filmmaker. Student. Blogger. Film Critic. Festival Organiser. Freelance Cameraperson. Explorer. Longboarder. WELCOME!


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