“There has been a growing number of new generation filmmakers in Iran in the past few years who bring a new set of eyes to approaches to filmmaking; this year, we have a spotlight on first-time Iranian filmmakers as we wanted to bring their exciting new works to the centre of attention”

The Iranian Film Festival Australia, currently in full swing in Brisbane, is soon set to hit Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Festival Director Armin Miladi, having programmed 12 features for the 9th IFFA, 5 of which will compete for the newly found Golden Pomegranate Award for Best Film, sat down to chat what drives Iranian filmmakers and fans.

“Iran is still one of the cheapest countries in the world to make films and this opens the door to first-time filmmakers to enter the scene,” said Miladi. “Of course, filmmakers still need to be very persistent and have good connections to be able to make it.”

Tehran: City of Love, chronicling an ex-bodybuilding champion who develops feelings for a young man he’s training, is the centrepiece film of this year’s Fest.

“The great thing about this ‘Tehran: City of Love’ (the second feature from Ali Jaberansari) is that it captures the essence of what life looks like for Iranian adults,” said Miladi. “By telling the story of three characters throughout the film, it has a very minimalistic approach to the drama and story which makes it easy to follow and enjoy. The film has also taken on some themes that are hard to talk about or show in Iranian movies including sexuality.”

Miladi hopes to showcase the varying trends which have famously come to characterise Iranian features of late.

“There are many different styles of filmmaking that are being explored in today’s Iranian cinema,” explained Miladi. “Some people focus on international success and make their films cheaper using unknown cast while the others are more interested in financial success and local box-office success using bigger budgets and more commercial type of stories with a known cast.”

“There is a third group who aim at both markets and there are some successful examples among them as well. Films such as ‘Alive’ and ‘The Oath’ are among this group in my opinion. At IFFA we always try to bring a mix of these films so that there is something that appeals to all tastes.” 

The Iranian Film Festival Australia is currently screening in Brisbane and will shortly screen in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth

on FalkenScreen