Industries & Festivals — November 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Controversial female Iranian filmmaker supports idea of Islamic Filmmakers’ Union

Famous female Iranian filmmaker Tahmine Milani, who is known for touching controversial and sensitive issues, said she supports the idea of creating the Union of Islamic Filmmakers.

Milani arrived in Azerbaijan yesterday, to participate at the VIII International “START” Youth Film Festival that is being hosted in Azerbaijani capital of Baku on 28-30 November.

BZFilm managed to ask Milani about the idea of establishing one such union, that we wrote about here.

“It would have been great to have that kind of union, that would support independent filmmakers, I definitely support the idea,” she told BZFilm. “Even if it could be established in our region only, it would still be great.”

Elsewhere, Milani talked about the current state of Iranian cinema, and her remarks were not as positive.

“Iranian cinema’s presence in the region has diminished, as those who handle culture related questions in Iran, do not pay attention to independent filmmakers,” she told journalists at the festival’s opening.

She said that her country could use a “bit of cinematic tolerance, and allow some way for critical films to be made, as this is the essence of cinema”.

About six months ago, Iranian government decided to close down “Khaneh Cinema” – Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds, noting it was involved in illegal activities.

“I think this was new government’s biggest cultural mistake, as they unknowingly gave support to the enemies, by doing such a move,” Milani noted.

Milani added that such approach to culture in Iran affected not just the directors, but other people working in the industry as well.

Despite this, Milani believes that thinking that Iranian cinema is dying is quite a long shot.

“Cinema stay, while as the governments change every four years,” Milani said. “I sincerely hope that the Khaneh Cinema would be opened soon.”

Milani is an ethnic Azerbaijani, born in Tebriz. After graduating in architecture from the University of Science and Technology in Tehran in 1986, Milani apprenticed as a script girl and an assistant director following a screen workshop in 1979.

She started her career as a movie director with “Children of Divorce” in 1989.

The government charged Milani as an anti-revolutionary due to the storyline of her 2001 anti-revolutionary film Nimeh-e Pinhan (The Hidden Half), which revolved around a leftist university student against the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.

The film’s primary love story also drew criticism, for its depiction of the main character’s relationship with an elderly man. Despite receiving permission to produce the film from the reformist Khatami government, she was imprisoned in 2001.

A backlash from many world-famous directors including Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese caused the government to release her after two weeks, but official charges were never dropped.



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