This Berlinale I was quick to visit Farabi Cinema Foundation, the Iranian government’s consistent source of films at Berlin and Cannes. Its directors and market executives, the brothers Amir and Mohamad Esfandiari along with Kamyar Mohsenin are always gracious and their love of films overrides all reservations. I asked for news of the industry’s friend Katayoon Shabi of Sheherazad Media International whose arrest in September last year with five other filmmakers was reported in N.Y. Times.
I want to tell our friends the latest: Katayoon is home, granted a temporary permit to continue working until the hearing is held for five of the arrested filmmakers who have been accused of working covertly for the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Persian-language service and supplying it with content, including films, that depict the country in a negative way, the state-run press in Iran reported on Monday. The date of the hearing has not yet been set. If it is after Cannes, she will not be there, nor, of course, was she in Berlin this year. We know there is no covert work for BBC – we’re not in some sort of spy thriller here in the film market circuit, and we miss her terribly. News from the Berlinale who has invited Iranian directors Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulov and Mojtaba Mirtahmsab as honorary guests, is that all are still under house arrest.
On other news is what Tehran Times had to say about A Separation if it wins the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, and a very truculent interview about the film with Iranian filmmaker, Ebrahim Golestan.
Source: Tehran Times
The Iranian deputy culture minister for cinematic affairs said that Nader and Simin, a Separation is a possible Oscar … in the Best Foreign Language Films category, but everything would depend on the U.S. political climate at the time the Academy decides on nominations for this category.
“Nader and Simin, a Separation has all the potential and capacity for being nominated for an Oscar,” Javad Shamaqdari told reporters during a visit to Tehran’s Mellat Cinematic Complex on Saturday.
“However, the final crucial factor will be the U.S. policies, which are planned to give what kind of signals to Iran at that time,” he added.
“If they plan to continue their enmity, they will never choose Nader and Simin, a Separation,” Shamaqdari noted.
A portrayal of the break-up of a marriage, Nader and Simin, a Separation by director Asghar Farhadi is Iran’s submission to the Annual Academy Awards 2012.
Shamaqdari is the second Iranian official who has made comments about A Separation in the Oscar race over the past few days.
Asked about the film’s achievements in international events over the past few weeks, Minister Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hosseini said, “We should just wait to see what the Academy panel will do about the film.”
A number of Iranian critics believe that there was no general consensus among Iranian cultural officials about submitting “A Separation” to the Academy Awards.
The film’s official opponents have said that it portrays Iran as a chaotic society of liars.
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