Friday, April 15, 2005

Iranian directors prepare to enter election fray with campaign films

Iranian directors prepare to enter election fray with campaign films: "Iranian directors prepare to enter election fray with campaign films
TEHRAN, Apr. 13 (MNA) -- A number of directors have said that they are prepared to make campaign films for their favorite candidates running in the Iranian presidential election scheduled for June 17.

According to unofficial sources, director Behruz Afkhami will make a campaign film for former Majlis speaker Mahdi Karrubi. He also plans to launch a satellite network to broadcast programs promoting Karrubi’s candidacy, and it has been reported that the channel has already sent test signals from Dubai.

“I am doing this because of my personal inclination toward Karrubi,” said Afkhami, who was an MP during the Sixth Majlis (2000-2004) when Karrubi was the speaker.

He originally planned to launch a London-based satellite television network serving up a diet of politics from Iran and movies from Hollywood. However, the plan displeased many Iranian conservatives and he was not given the $400,000 grant which some reports said President Mohammad Khatami’s office planned to give him.

Afkhami’s movie “Hemlock” angered Iranian nurses in 1998. It was about a relationship between a nurse and a married man. His most recent movie “The Marsh” was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival last year. He is currently making “Morning Son”, a TV series about the late Imam Khomeini.

According to reports, a crew of professional filmmakers who have worked at the IRIB television network for several years has also made a campaign film for former IRIB managing director Ali Larijani.

Unofficial sources have also said that a group of art and cultural figures are working for Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, who recently resigned as commander of Iran’s National Police to officially begin his presidential campaign.

They stated that Qalibaf has reached an agreement with Ahmadreza Darvish, the director of the Iranian blockbuster “Duel”. Darvish is famous for his Sacred Defense films. “Duel” cost over 5 billion rials to produce, making it the most expensive project in Iranian motion picture history.

Ebrahim Hatamikia, another director of Sacred Defense films, has also been suggested to Qalibaf to produce his campaign films. Last February, the Intelligence Ministry banned his latest film “The Color of Violet” from being screened at Iran’s most prestigious film event, the Fajr festival."