Opening of the Tehran Oscar-qualifying short film festival

TEHRAN – The 39th Tehran International Short Film Festival (TISFF) opened at Mellat Cineplex on Wednesday.

Films from 35 countries, including the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, Italy, India, Chile and Japan, will be screened at the qualifying event at the Oscars, which will run until October 24.

A number of local filmmakers pulled out of the festival last week after organizers ignored their request to cancel or postpone the event, due to ongoing unrest across the country.

At a press conference held earlier this week, Mehdi Azarpendar, the director of the festival, which is organized by the Iranian Youth Cinema Society, said the conditions for watching films were harsh.

However, he noted, “It is an absolute shame, if the festival is canceled in the shadow of these incidents; I would never accept it.”

A program of more than 60 fiction, animation and documentary films will compete in the festival.

Canadian director and screenwriter Clara Milo participates in this festival with her acclaimed drama “Aska”.

It follows two young sisters who must brave the decadence of nature in their quest to reach a moody volcano. In their race against time, they are tasked with giving their Mother’s sacred ashes to the Serpent of Fire before it brings death to their land.

Japanese director Jinkyu Jeon’s animated film “The House of Loss” is also in competition at this festival.

This film tells the story of a young social worker who cares for elderly people with dementia in a retirement home. Short and bittersweet, “The House of Loss” is a look at the lives of people with dementia, and their feelings of alienation and slow disappearance from a world they once knew.

The program also includes “Fatjona” by German director Steve Bache.

Because she regrets having given up her child for adoption, a young woman goes in search of her now six-year-old daughter. When she finds the young girl, she can’t stand that her daughter doesn’t recognize her and therefore makes a crucial decision.

Another highlight of the program is the animated film “Salvation Has No Name” by English director Joseph Wallace, which explores themes of xenophobia and the refugee crisis.

A troupe of clowns gather to act out the story of a priest and a refugee, but as their misguided story unfolds, the lines between fiction and reality begin to crumble.

The international competition section also includes several Iranian short films, including “Falling Up” by Maryam Bakhtiari, “Mr. Van’s Room” by Ehsan Mirzai, “The Sprayer” by Farnush Abedi, “The Hatch” by Masud Hatami and “Naja” by Mehdi Baqeri.

Photo: Poster of the 39th Tehran International Short Film Festival.

MMS/YAW

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