Welcome to episode #14 of the podcast. After a four-month delay, we finally return to discuss a new festival in our hometown of Toronto, dedicated entirely to contemporary Iranian films. The inaugural edition of CineIran Festival of Toronto was held on the final weekend of November. The festival, which is a volunteer effort by a group of Iranian-Canadian cinephiles, was the initiative of Amir Ganjavie, who has brought countless Iranian films to Toronto’s screens in the past. He serves as CIFT’s senior programmer and CEO, and our own Amir Soltani is the festival’s artistic director.
In this conversation, Amir talks about the beginnings of the festival and its mission to present a comprehensive cross-section of contemporary Iranian cinema across genres. We discuss the challenges and future of the festival, the community’s positive reception of the event, and the festival’s guests in Toronto, including Sareh Bayat (A Separation), Shahram Mokri (Fish & Cat) and Hamed Behdad (Crime). Finally, we discuss some of the twelve films that played during the festival, including Oblivion Season featuring a brilliant performance from Bayat, the ensemble comedy I am Diego Maradona, buzzy festival hits such as I Want to Be a King and 316, and the winner of Iranian Critics’ Association prize for best film, What’s the Time in Your World?. Make sure to check back in the future for links to where these films will be available to watch online.
Introducing CineIran Festival of Toronto: Program and Scheduling 1:45-10:10
Reception, Future and Challenges of the Festival 10:10-20:50
Safi Yazdanian’s What’s the Time in Your World? 20:50-32:10
Sareh Bayat in Oblivion Season 32:10-40:25
Bahram Tavakoli’s I am Diego Maradona 40:25-48:15
Shahram Mokri’s Innovative Storytelling 48:15-54:50
Hooman Seyedi’s Confessions of My Dangerous Mind and Genre Filmmaking in Iran 54:50-1:00:55
The Best of Non-Fiction Iranian Film: 316 and I Want to Be a King 1:00:55-1:06:50
Jameh-Daraan: A Period Piece 1:06:50-1:11:30
Music: “Sonatine” by Maziar Heidari