Art and Experience: Marina Toropygina is the festival programmer of Moscow International Film Festival which is one of the oldest in the world. For the first time it was held in 1935 with Sergei Eisenstein as chairman of the jury. Nevertheless the festival history is usually traced back to 1959, when it became a regular event. It is noteworthy that the Festival was reborn in the 1960’s during the so called “period of thaw” when film film industry experienced an influx of filmmakers of a new generation.
Is this your first time that you experience participating Fajr International Film Festival?
Yes, absolutely, it is my first time in Tehran and of course in Fajr International Film Festival and I am here to select Iranian films for Moscow International Film Festival.
How did you see the festival atmosphere?
Well, It is really friendly, to me it is a usual atmosphere of a festival and I saw many familiar faces here in the 34th FIFF; people coming from all over the world. We had here the leading Russian director, Alexander Sokurov and I have just met another Russian director, Sergey Mokritskiy who is in competition here in the 34th edition of the FIFF. I have also met my colleague who is a Russian film historian and he is presenting here a movie of Vladimir Grativ ,which is a movie filmed in 1928 about Iran.
How do you find the festival venue which is in the heart of Tehran?
This is a good idea to locate the festival in the middle of the town, it might sound a little bit like a problem that the festival is at a shopping mall, but I personally liked it because I think a festival should be public friendly not only for the experts and international guests, but even for the normal people who are interested in the Cinema in general.
How much are you familiar with the Iranian cinema?
Of course I know the names that are internationally well-known, like the Iranian directors who won the Golden Palm of the Cannes International Film Festival, or the ones who won the Golden Bear at Berlinale. The director of this edition of the Fajr International Film Festival, Mr. Reza Mirkarimi was in Moscow Film Festival couple of years ago and he won the main award of the Moscow IFF as a director. I am also keen to see new faces and new Iranian talents because this is how I can understand what the new movements in the Iranian cinema are and what is going on in the current Iranian films. An interesting thing for me for instance was that two Iranian films were presented to me at the film market which were filmed in one shot. I also liked the film ‘Prophet Mohammad’ by Majid Majidi. The problem with the world’s cinema is that one film might be popular within a country but not even screened in other countries and there are some directors who are always presented in international festivals, but there are some who will never be known outside their country.
The 34th edition of Fajr International Film Festival is being held from April 20th to April 25th, 2016 in Charsou Cineplex, under the supervision of the well-known Iranian filmmaker, Mr. Reza Mirkarimi, who is also the Managing Director of Khaneh Cinema.