Organizer says drive-in cinema not welcome in Iran

July 28, 2020 - 18:51

TEHRAN – The director of the drive-in movie theater project in the provinces of Tehran and Alborz, Manuchehr Safarkhani, has said that the project has not been welcomed by filmgoers and will probably be halted by the end of August. 

“Lack of cooperation of film distributors, people’s depression in battling with the coronavirus crisis in the country, and the current social and economic condition of the country, have all led to the termination of the project,” Safarkhani said. 

“If reluctance continues in this way, by the end of August the project will be stopped, because it is a costly project,” he added.

“At the present time, the Enqelab Sports Complex in Karaj, the Takhti Sports Complex and Eram-e Sabz Entertainment Complex are active as places that can host filmgoers in the drive-in cinema project, but it has not been well received. Of course, a lack of good advertising could also be one of the reasons behind this unwillingness,” he noted.

He also said that the project first began with two films: Ebrahim Hatamikia’s latest movie “Exodus” and Mohammad Kart’s directorial debut “Butterfly Swimming”, and both were warmly received by people.

“However, the distributor of Peyman Qasemkhani’s comedy ‘Good, Bad, Garish 2: The Secret Army’ did not engage in good cooperation,” he said.

“I believe cinema can be successful when everyone collaborates. Cinema needs support, with good advertising to inform more people. When all are thinking of themselves, however, everyone will face loss and damage. The media have always been supportive but more cultural work is required to win people’s trust. People need some happiness these days more than anything else,” he explained.

He also added that the screening of foreign films during the drive-in movie theater project was not successful, either.

“Filmgoers want to watch films they have no access to in movie theaters. The foreign films are available either online or have been screened on different satellite channels, and hold no attraction for filmgoers,” he noted.

In early July Safarkhani had said that he wanted to continue the project despite the reopening of movie theaters, as COVID-19 still rules the country.

From the very beginning of the shutdown of all art and cultural centers after the outbreak of coronavirus, those active in art and culture of the country began to find a solution to keep the art and cultural activities alive even in the shadow of the new virus.

The main goal was to preserve the art and cultural activities, inject happiness and keep the spirits of people high in order to face the difficult days of dealing with the new virus. 

Although the Owj Arts and Media Organization was one of the first in the public sector, launching the project with “Exodus” in the parking lot of Milad Tower in Tehran, producer and filmmaker Safarkhani was the first in the private sector, launching the project in the provinces of Tehran and Alborz.

“We believe it can be considered a different type of participation and a different experience, and a new definition of movie theaters,” he had earlier said.

“We are planning to concentrate on developing the project. The Enqelab Sports Complex in Karaj, as well as the Takhti Sports Complex and the Khavaran Cultural Center in Tehran, are active as places that can host filmgoers in the drive-in cinema project, and we are planning to add more locations,” he had noted. 

Photo: Filmgoers enjoy a movie at a drive-in cinema in Tehran. (Tasnim)

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