Culture Ministry holds banquet for Fajr filmfest foreign guests 

February 11, 2023 - 18:41

TEHRAN – The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance held a banquet on Thursday at Tehran’s Azadi Hotel in honor of foreign guests attending the 41st Fajr International Film Festival.

Festival president Mojtaba Amini, Culture Minister Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaeili and Cinema Organization of Iran director Mohammad Khazaei welcomed diplomats from the embassies of Syria, China, Russia, Pakistan, Kirgizia, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Yemen and Malaysia, the organizers announced in a press release.

The festival is part of Iran’s Ten-Day Dawn celebration, which is organized annually to mark the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

“You, dear guests, are in Iran on the days during which Iran’s great celebration is held,” Esmaeili said in a brief speech.

“The Islamic Revolution is a great cultural development and the sole cultural revolution in the modern age,” he added.

“Due to the revolution’s cultural nature, cultural activities have always been acknowledged across the country,” he noted. 

He said that the history of the Fajr film festival is almost as long as the history of the revolution, and added, “Culture and art enjoy a high status in Iranian society, and cultural and artistic personalities are very popular.”

Esmaeili thanked the guests for their attendance at the Fajr festival, which ended on Saturday.

The names of the guests attending the banquet were not mentioned by the organizers.

During the festival, the organizers said the screening schedule for the international competition would be announced daily.

They refused to unveil the total schedule for the international competition to deflect global media pressure on the entries to withdraw from the event.

In calls published on social media and some Persian television networks broadcasting from abroad, groups of Iranian film celebrities have asked their colleagues to ban the festival in support of the unrest that arose against the Iranian government beginning in September 2022.

Khazaei also delivered a brief speech during the banquet, expressing his happiness over organizing the event.

“Tonight is a memorable night of Iranian cinema because celebrated film figures of Asia, neighboring countries and the region are among us,” he said.

“This year’s festival focused on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states and we achieved our goals,” he added.

During the banquet, the festival also introduced the jury comprising Ebrahim Hatamikia, Mohammadreza Sharifinia, Majid Esmaeili, Parviz Sheikhtadi, Mohammad-Taqi Fahim, Mahmud Razavi and Masud Naqqashzadeh.   

Twenty-six movies by filmmakers from 25 five countries were selected from 588 submissions to be showcased in the international competition of the festival.

Photo: Organizers and foreign guests of the 41st Fajr International Film Festival pose during a banquet at Tehran’s Azadi Hotel on February 9, 2023. (FIFF)


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