Art and Experience: “The Salesman” director Asghar Farhadi, the winner of the best screenplay prize at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, says he prefers to work in his country Iran, the reason why he has refused to accept many American film projects so far.

“I love Iran and I think Iran is a better place for me to live. Where else can I enjoy the presence of my father and mother and friends? That is why I have rejected directing many great American projects so far, preferring to work in Iran,” Farhadi said in a press conference held on Monday night at the Khaneh Hamayesh, a convention center in northern Tehran.

“It is better for me to make most of my films in Iran, but I also like to experience making films in other countries for myself just to satisfy my curiosity,” he told the reports.

Farhadi, who was accompanied with the film’s stars Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidusti, continued that some believe the bad image of Iran portrayed in some Iranian films is the reason for their success at international events.

“I have taken part in different international festivals as a jury member and have noticed that the organizers do not give an award to a film based on a specific policy. I do not feel that the Iranian films that present a bad image of Iran receive awards at international festivals; and based on my personal experience in different festivals as a jury member, I have not seen such an attitude towards Iranian films,” he explained.

“When I go out of Iran I feel quite confident since I know where I am coming from. Which country in the world can you find that has produced as many good films as ours? I take pride to say I live in a country where good films such as ‘The Cow’ (Dariush Mehrjui) were made fifty years ago,” he asserted.

Mohammad Atbai, an international expert on Iran’s cinema who was also the host of the conference, completed words by Farhadi and said, “The year 2015 was a great year for the cinema of Iran. Iran had 2250 participations in international events compared with the previous year, which had 1500. Iran’s cinema gained 370 international awards last year compared with the previous year, which only had 235.

“I believe it is the value of Iranian films that leads to receiving awards. We need to trust our cinema and also increase our confidence based on the high position of our cinema in the world. There is no international festival at which the jury members surrender themselves to political considerations, and I tell you this in confidence,” he remarked.

Hosseini and Alidusti also gave their opinions on different issues related to the film at the conference. The “Salesman” brought Hosseini the Palme d’Or for best actor.

The film is about Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Alidusti) who move into a new flat in the center of Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant dramatically changes the young couple’s life.

Farhadi promised a private screening for journalists one week ahead of the film’s public screenings in summer.

A large number cineastes gathered at the Iranian House of Cinema on Tuesday to attend a ceremony that the center held to honor Asghar Farhadi for the success of his latest drama “The Salesman” at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.

Managing Director of the Iranian House of Cinema Reza Mirkarimi and Cinema Organization of Iran (COI) Director Hojjatollah Ayyubi praised Farhadi and his films in their short speeches.

“Last year we received 370 awards at various international events, that is, Iranian cineastes have won one award every day, meaning that every day different articles have been written about the cinema and culture of Iran,” Ayyubi said.

He added, “How much should we have spent to make others write good things about Iran. We need to thank Farhadi as an individual who has gained this honor and say that this award belongs to the entire cinema of Iran”.

Farhadi next appeared on stage and apologized for his delay, “I do apologize, but I went to visit Mr. (Abbas) Kiarostami in his house and it took long. I must say he is better now and will resume his activities soon.”

Kiarostami, 76, was hospitalized in mid-March due to a severe gastrointestinal disease and underwent several operations.

“I fell in love with cinema by watching the films whose filmmakers are sitting here today. I feel this is an honor of this cinema which has made significant films like ‘The Cow’ (Dariush Mehrjui) many years ago, or other films like those by Kiarostami,” Farhadi said.

He continued, “I have done some research due to my many numbers of trips. The cinema of Iran is no doubt one of the top five cinemas in the world. And when someone like Jim Jarmusch (American filmmaker) says the country of Iran is the garden of cinema, he is not paying a compliment. But here some blame the iceman of Iran. They like all the films to be like one another, but the beauty of cinema is in its diversity”.

Farhadi also noted, “Although the West envies the cinema of Iran and respects the art of Iran, some inside the country act the opposite. They believe some films present bad image of Iran, calling it the reason for their success at international events, but I believe they mean to condemn the cinema of Iran”.

Shahab Hosseini was with Farhadi when they visited Kiarostami, but he missed the ceremony for his personal program, and Alidusti arrived very late.

The “Salesman” brought Hosseini the Palme d’Or for best actor and Farhadi the award for best screenplay at Cannes. The film is about Emad (Hosseini) and Rana (Alidusti) who move into a new flat in the center of Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant dramatically changes the young couple’s life.