Resistance Film Festival to Open Doors Amid Despite of Criticism

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The FINANCIAL — Resistance International Film Festival (RIFF) has added new section called “Defenders of Health” in the festival’s program to document and show health workers fighting the COVID-19 and thus sacrificing their lives on the path of protecting society’s health. Organization said it’s open for receiving submission while another Iranian film festival (Fajr Film Festival) was boycotted this year by Artists protesting the involvement of the state in election process. 

Iranian artists must go through an arduous process of checks and permissions to have their films approved by officials. Even projects that are approved for filming and are screened can be subject to removal by the whims of the Ministry, adding significant challenges for any Iranian filmmaker. These filmmakers and artists have continuously pushed the boundaries and unjust limitations placed on them and participated in the film festival as a way to publicize their work and be deservedly celebrated.

“However, this year’s festival has drawn particular criticism that converges various threads of discontent such as artistic censorship, the failures of the state to address the grievances of the Iranian populace, repression of protests, and the downing of a civilian flight”, said National Iranian American Council in its statement.

“Many prominent Iranian celebrities, such as directors Rakhshan Bantietemaad and Masoud Kimiai, as well as actors such as Taraneh Alidoosti and Peyman Maadi, have spoken out in support of their countrymen’s protests and withdrawn their participation in the Festival in respect to the 176 lives lost in the plane downing, the attempt to coverup the tragedy, and a country full of people mourning and rightfully angry at their officials”.

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“Also disconcerting were early reports that these artists faced quick backlash from Iranian hardliners, and reports that both Banietemaad and Alidoosti were briefly detained by officials. It is absolutely the right of Iranians to protest against the state and publicly mourn such a tragedy. It is also the right of these artists to share their support and boycott festivals as they see fit. It is incumbent upon the Iranian government to heed the protests of its citizens and uphold human rights”, organization said.

Organizers of the Resistance Film Festival announced that filmmakers from the United States, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Britain, France, India, Turkey, Iraq have already submitted more than 300 films to compete in this section of the festival and thus to express their gratitude to the health defenders from all around the world.

International film festivals held in Iran help to bring together different cinematic traditions and provide an opportunity to get to know them and to learn from them.

It’s not yet known if the festival will be boycotted by artists as was happened with the Fajr Film Festival.

A member of Iranian Parliament’s Cultural Affairs Committee, Gholamreza Montezeri, said holding the 16th edition of the Resistance International Film Festival will pave the way for creating healthy competitive environment for resistance filmmakers. “the sacrifice has different manifestations; any sacrifice in the field of security, preservation of geographical borders, health or even cultural fields is a kind of resistance”, he said.

RIFF’s curated program as well has earned this festival recognition from viewers and industry professionals alike. American filmmakers such as Michael Moore, Oliver Stone as well as many other artists from more than 100 different countries have participated with their documentaries and films in this festival. Also, many renowned international guests and exceptional filmmakers have come directly to present their films and interact with viewers, including, David Barsamian, Scott Frank, Rafael Lara, Darnell Stephen Summers, Yvonne Anne Ridley, Jasmin Durakovic, Robert Hofferer, Diana Kamal-al Din, Rashed Radwan, Yousef Wehbi, Ahmed Boulane, Basil al-Khatib, Saddam Wahidi Melika, Zairi Alper Akdeniz, Thomas Hayes, Daz Chandler and many others.

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A few years ago, film “The Other Bank” directed by Giorgi Ovashvili was awarded for the best script in this festival.

This year the deadline for submissions is October 21, 2020 and the event date is scheduled for November 21-27, 2020.

“Independent filmmakers around the world are welcome to submit documentaries, short and feature, as well as animated films relevant to the festival topics, that will be evaluated by the competitive jury and the best ones will be awarded. Workshops and professional panels related to the topics of the festival will be also organized”, organizers said.

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