Art and Experience: The organizers of the 37th Fajr Film Festival, Iran’s most film event, have come under fierce criticism from several Persian media over the import of its Crystal Simorgh awards from Dubai.

The criticism was sparked after the executive manager of the festival, Ezzatollah Alizadeh, announced on Sunday that the crystal trophies are being made by a workshop based in Dubai.

He said that the festival has purchased 30 of the crystal awards and added that each trophy costs Iran 900 Emirati dirhams ($243).

An article published by Tasnim News Agency on Sunday pointed to the economic problems facing Iran and said, “Why should such a great amount of money be spent outside of Iran?”

“This happens in a year that has been termed the year for support for Iranian products and during which the Islamic Revolution intends to celebrate its 40th anniversary,” the article added.

In a statement published afterwards, the director of the Fajr Film Festival, Ebrahim Darughezadeh, said that making the crystal statues requires some costly special equipment available abroad and it is not economical for a manufacturer to import the apparatus to make a limited number of the trophies.

The director of the Glassware and Mirror Manufacturers Union, Mohammad-Ali Qanbari, confirmed Darughezadeh’s remarks in a press release published by the Fajr organizers.

“Making the crystal trophies is a special job, which cannot be done by the equipment we have in Iran,” he noted.

He also said that it is not cost effective to import the very expensive equipment needed for producing only 30 or even 100 trophies for a festival.

The Crystal Simorgh is a rectangular crystal plate bearing an engraving of a simorgh, a mythical bird in Iranian culture.

Earlier in 2013, the then organizers of the festival changed the design of the Crystal Simorgh award and the crystal plate was transformed into a crystal statue of a simorgh designed by veteran Iranian artist Ebrahim Haqiqi.

A Czech artisan created 50 copies based on the design in Bohemia, a major center for crystal and glass objects in the Czech Republic. However, the result was not satisfactory.

“When I saw a sample of the Crystal Simorgh, I raised objections and I said that ‘this is not a simorgh, it is a rooster!’,” Haqiqi stated at that time.

Haqiqi revised the design and the festival honored winners with the hand-made crystal statues for two years.

Due to the flimsy construction of the crystal statues, the organizers of the festival later restored the award to its former design.

Source: Tehran Times