Iranian Film Festival 2009, San Fransisco


Iranian Film Festival (IFF) is an annual event showcasing the independent feature and short films made by or about the Iranians from around the world. IFF is also a platform for the Iranian filmmakers living around the globe to express their vision and talent through the artistic medium of film. Iranian Film Festival (IFF) was established to celebrate the Iranian film and culture in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Here is an interview with Saeed Shafa director of the festival.

Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us a little bit about the Iranian Film Festival in San Francisco; when it was first held, when will it be held this year, and what should we expect to see?
Saeed Shafa: This is the second year that we are having this festival. We screened about 20-24 films last year and are screening just as many this year. We are going to be showing films from numerous Iranian filmmakers from within Iran and outside Iran as well. The festival will take place on September 19th and 20th in San Francisco.

Bijan: Is there a particular reason why the festival takes place on a weekend?
Saeed: It wasn’t intentional, but it turns out that the weekend works better for a lot of people in terms of the work week. The Iranians are scattered around the Bay Area, so we felt that holding the event in San Francisco on a weekend, would accommodate all of the Iranians in the bay area.

Bijan: What kinds of films should we expect to see in terms of genre and style?
Saeed: You should expect to see all sorts of films, including documentaries, fiction, short-films etc… We also have films being made by native Iranians and also non Iranians. We will have films from Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, UK… and Scotland. Our main focus of the festival is to display the different visions and point of view of Iranian culture through the medium of film.

The theme of the festival this year is on the Iranian women and the Iranian women filmmakers. We are showing several films that deal with the women issues in Iran as well as the films that are made by the Iranian women filmmakers on variety of subjects.

Our special program is “A conversation with Gohar Kheirandish,” a well know actress in Iran who will be here. She has played in many popular films in Iran and we are showing her famous film Banoo (The Lady) directed by Dariush Mehrjui.

Bijan: will there be any films about the recent events in Iran?
Saeed: In terms of the election and its aftermath, there hasn’t been much time to complete any films yet.

Bijan: Will any of the filmmakers attend the festival?
Saeed: Yes some of the filmmakers are actually attending.

Bijan: Will there be any award winning films screened at the festival.
Saeed: Some are. But we are showing many of these films for the first time. Most of these films have not been shown anywhere else yet. For example, there is a Canadian film which was filmed in Iran and has won many awards.

Bijan: How can people attend the festival?
Saeed: There is a website with complete information: that they can visit and choose which films they wish to see. The festival runs on September 19th and 20th and the films will run from 11am to 11pm.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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