Introduction To Persian Film Festival

Film – also called a movie, motion picture, or photoplay. Cinema is short for cinematography, covers the industry of films and filmmaking or to the art of filmmaking itself. Festival refers to a day or a period of celebration or anniversary. Therefore, a film festival should be a day or a period of celebration of films. However, is it this simple? Would this definition is enough to tell everything about ‘film festival’? What roles does ‘film festival’ play in national cinemas?

Santa-Barbara-Film-Festival1

Source: http://dailynexus.com/2015-01-29/artsweek-picks-for-santa-barbara-international-film-festival/

Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong stated that “Film Festivals attract widespread global attention as glittering showcases for films and people” (p.1). In Wong’s book, the Film Festivals, she discussed countless roles, missions, and goals of Film Festivals in the social and economical senses. And in fact, this book is the most comprehensive book about Film Festivals that I ever read (and you can tell by its title).

Film Festival

  • Allows us to understand multi faces of international relationships of film cultures, historical development, the hierarchy of films, filmmakers, film languages, film stars, concepts, themes, and, places.
  • Gathers discover and attract all the talents.
  • Is a platform to exchange ideas, show movies and do business.
  • Is to bring to the major audiences the artistic as well as wide appeal films.
  • Is to salute great filmmakers and stars.
  • Is to give people chances to meet and understand the great work behind the scenes
  • Is to speak to the world’s press and generate free publicity and attention for films and film industry.
  • Creates and participates in the public sphere and discussion on local and international media.
  • Is a place for creativity and conflict.
  • Is where to review the past, explore the present and create the future.

There are more and more to add to this list, but I guess the most important thing is the film festival supposes to be a strong connection between the place, the people, the culture and the artwork. Follow many successful film festivals in Cannes, Venice, Toronto, New York, Berlin, Hong Kong, Melbourne; film festival study attracts more scholars and researchers to conduct many depth pieces of research for further understanding. In corresponding to the film festival, many studies about related fields also increased such as social, political, cultural, economic, regional and international concepts. And Wong’s book is the result of excellent research work in Film Festival around the world, discussed from various aspects.

Like many other students, who motivated to take the APG 5782 subject, Film Festival Study Tour by the passion about film and film festival, it is my great pleasure to be part of the Persian Film Festival as part of my Film Festival subject at Monash University this semester. I am expected to gain some insights about Film Festival to develop an academic report about the Persian Film Festival as well as sharing my experience through this short-term university internship to all of my classmates.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 6.23.46 PM

Source: http://www.persianfilmfestival.com/

This year, we celebrate the fifth year of the Persian International Film Festival. Hence the Persian Film Festival will be held from 22nd September to 3rd October 2016 at four different locations in Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra, I will have chances to be more involve in various stages and process during that period. At the moment, I only help the Marketing Manager of Persian Film Festival on their Instagram account. Therefore, it is difficult to experience all of the major roles of Film Festival that listed above till the actual event happens.

However, as I start to discover the Persian cinema and Persian Film Industry through the glance of this festival, I realize that I will have to face many difficulties to conduct a comprehensive study about Persian cinema and Persian Film Festival. The first issue is the rare sources of information about Persian Films and Persian Film Industry. Based on some researches I’ve done so far, I believe this issue arises from another problem that Persian Film often categorized in ‘Iranian Film’. In addition, there are not many differences between Iranian and Persian Film except the language and the director’s origin. Even the Persian Film Festival attempted to distinguish itself from the Iran Film Festival by the name of it, but in fact, many scholars still tend to make a small discussion about Persian Film under the Iran Film study.

“Founded in 2011, it is a one of a kind festival that showcases films by Persian-speaking filmmakers of Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, and through screenings, master classes and cultural events it celebrates this rich cinematic culture in and with Australian communities. The festival also aims to be a leader in shifting views and misconceptions in Australia by creating spaces for new and alternative voices of Persian-Australians and by being a forum for dialogue between and amongst diverse communities.” – Persian Film Festival Website

Secondly, since this year is only the 5th year of the Persian International Film Festival, Persian films are still new to Australian and international audiences. And the Iranian Film Festival also celebrates the sixth year in Australia. Comparing to other Film Festivals held in Australia, such as Melbourne International Film Festival, Festival of German Films, Sydney Underground Film Festival, Jewish International Film Festival, etc. Persian Film Festival is under a high-pressure in competition to reach to the audiences. In some cases, I believe that it also compete to its national films at Iranian Film Festival.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 6.23.28 PM

Source: http://www.iffa.net.au/

Thirdly, from the brief description above, does the Persian Film Festival mean to be a purely Cultural Film Festival or this festival is moving from Cultural Festival to  Commerical Promotion Festival or Government Organized? Not many studies mention about Persian Film, not many articles, not many books or newspaper reviews. Has Persian Film Festival been successful to bring Persian culture and Persian cinema to Australian audience? Finally, as a young Film Festival often be seen under the shadow of Iranian Film Festival, how would Persian Film Festival join the festival circuit and what can they do to attract talented directors and best films and fit in their requirements at the same time? I believe all of the answers that I am seeking to solve these problems will open new understanding from different aspects, even all of these issues and questions are challenging and require great research.

I suggest that in the coming few weeks when the Persian Film Festival starts in Melbourne, I will have more chances to collect information, photos, articles, reviews and researches for my further study about this event. This could be an amazing opportunity to practice my research skills, but also be challenging in gathering credible sources for my report

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 6.24.40 PM

Source: http://www.persianfilmfestival.com/

It might be great to list all the roles and aims of film festivals, and a showcase of all of the greatly rewarded films, nevertheless, I trust that we not only celebrate the works but also salute the people, the makers, and the audiences. The moment that everyone enjoys when the film festival happens. Everything looks good on theoretical paper, but I also hope that my blog posts and my report can reflect some experiences of the audiences and myself during the festival time. The Film Festival book is inspiring and provide many insights about Films and Film Festival. Nevertheless, I am still looking for more academic articles to study the Persian Film Festival and gain the best valuable experience through this event.

Have you ever experienced Persian Film Festival before? I am sure this will be a unique film event that worth to check out. Get your ticket today and share your thoughts below after attending this event.

 

References:

Do, P 2015,Artsweek Picks for Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Daily Nexus, viewed 1 September 2016, http://dailynexus.com/2015-01-29/artsweek-picks-for-santa-barbara-international-film-festival/

Iranian Film Festival http://www.iffa.net.au/

Persian Film Festival http://www.persianfilmfestival.com/

Wong, C 2011, Film Festivals, Rutgers Univeristy Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London.

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