Insufficient funds key obstacle to war filmmaking: “The Sniper” director 

February 3, 2021 - 18:22

TEHRAN – Ali Ghaffari, director of the war drama “The Sniper”, has said that lack of adequate funding is the main obstacle in the way of the directors trying to make films on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

“The Sniper” is the latest film by Ghaffari who has portrayed Abdorrasul Zarrin, one of the most lethal snipers in the Iranian forces who killed over 2000 Iraqi invaders during the war.

The movie is competing in the official section of the 39th Fajr Film Festival, which is currently underway across Iran.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday after a screening of the movie, Ghaffari said that there is a reluctance on the part of directors to make films on the war and that the logistics of making such films requires extremely large sums. Consequently, the financial problems facing film producers and companies over the past few years discourage them to show interest in war stories.

He said that the accessories necessary for making a war film are not available in the market, and filmmakers need the governmental organizations to intervene to provide them. 

He also lamented that he has been facing problems to prepare the military logistics for the project.      

Produce Ebrahim Asghar, who also attended the press conference, said that “The Sniper” has been produced with a budget of 100 billion rials (over $400,000 based on Iran’s free-market exchange rate: $1 = 240,000 rials).

He said that such a sum is not very high for such a project, and said, “I expect the governmental organizations to support projects on similar themes because I feel that they have a duty to do such projects.”  

Born in 1941 in a village near the town of Qalegol, Kohkiluyeh-Boyerahmad Province, Abdorrasul Zarrin joined the IRGC on the warfront in the early days of the war.

With his pinpoint accuracy, Abdorrasul saved countless lives of Iranian forces on the battlefield, and was turned into a legend among his fellow Iranian comrades.

He was martyred during Operation Kheibar in 1984 and the Iraqi radio announced their forces had killed “Khomeini’s Hunter”.

Ghaffari said that his crew had spent a year implementing the project, and added that he had been waiting for a long time to make a superhero film.

“When I learned about Abdorrasul in 2016, his character interested me, and I initiated efforts to make a film about him,” said Ghaffari who is also director of the acclaimed 2012 historical thriller “Reclamation”.

He lamented the lack of superhero movies in Iranian cinema, and expressed his hope that this film would help attract filmmakers’ attention to this genre.

Kambiz Dirbaz, who stars as Zarrin in the film, also was in attendance at the press conference.

He said that there were not many sources to inspire him for playing the role of the war hero. However, he said that Zarrin’s son Ali-Asghar helped him get closer to the character by sharing details about his father.

Photo: Kambiz Dirbaz acts in a scene from “The Sniper”.