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AMPAS Seminars Kicked off in Tehran

According to the pre-announced schedule, a seminar on Writing and Directing in Film was held Sunday morning, March 1st at the House of Cinema, led by speakers Frank Pierson and Phil Robinson of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and moderators Farhad Tohidi and Alireza Raisian.
Attending the seminar were a group of prominent Iranian filmmakers including Gholamreza Moosavi, Mohsen Abdol-Vahab, Ebrahim Hatamikia, Ahmad Reza Garshasbi, Nader Talebzadeh, Shafie Agha-Mohammadian, Siamak Shayeghi, Peyman Ghassemkhani, Saman Moghaddam, Pouran Derakhshandeh, Minoo Farshchi, Mohammad Motevaselani, Khosro Naghibi, Farhad Aish, Davood Yusefian, Jahangir Jahangiri, Amir Shahab Razavian, Ali Jakan, Farzaneh Shabani, Jaber Ghasem-Ali, Mohammad Reza E’lami and Katayoon Shahabi.
The guest speakers touched on different subjects during the seminar, including stages of writing a script, the difference between writing original and adapted screenplays, script structure, creation of the characters, the tone and elements of the story, and writing dialogs.
Writer/Director Phil Robinson said during the event: “It is fortunate for you that because of the volume of investment in film production in Iran, filmmaking here is comparatively less expensive. Iranian writers and directors are more able to present and execute their own ideas and story lines, while in the western countries and particularly in the United States, we are bound to keep investment issues in mind, and so we have a lesser chance of putting our own ideas into effect.”
Parallel to this gathering, another seminar on Acting in Film was held at the Film Museum of Iran, led by speakers Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard and moderated by Fatemeh Moetamed Aria. Well-known Iranian actors and actresses attended the event, including Roya Taymourian, Dariush Asadzadeh, Homayoon Ershadi, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaiy, Hossein Mahjoub, Maedeh Tahmasbi, Parsa Pirouzfar, Bahareh Rahnama, Manijeh Mohamedi, Maryam Moetaref, Ferdows Kaviani, Reza Fayyazi, Jamshid Gorgin and Ebrahim Abadi.
The subjects that were discussed during the three and a half hour seminar included reading and selecting the right script, the casting stage and preparations for playing the part. 
During the talks, actress Annette Bening pointed out: “There are about 80000 actors in the US, and only 10% of those are paid more than 20000 USD a year.” She also expressed her admiration for Iranian films and actors, saying: “Watching an Iranian film, you don’t see acting. There are just people. It’s so real.”
Bening and Alfre Woodard both graciously expressed great joy at having the opportunity to meet with fellow actors and filmmakers in Iran, and said they hoped that the trip would lead to further cooperation between the cinema institutes of the two countries.
The seminar series continued in the afternoon with the Documentary Filmmaking seminar held at the House of cinema, led by speaker James Longley and moderated by Katayoon Shahabi.
Attending the seminar were a number of filmmakers including Ebrahim Mokhtari, Mohammad Reza Moghaddasian, Jafar Sanei Moghaddam, Mahnaz Mazaheri, Naser Saffarian, Morteza Razzagh Karimi, Reza Haeri, Saeed Rashtian, Hossein Torabi, Mohsen Abdol-Vahab, Morteza Shamli and Ferial Behzad.
Among the topics discussed were selecting an interesting story for the documentary, selecting the characters and the crew, researching and selecting the story or writing the story for the documentary, production problems, the interaction between the director and the people appearing in the film, and the differences between making a documentary and a feature film.
A part of the documentary “Iraq in Fragments” was screened at the beginning of the seminar, which led to lively discussions between director James Longley and the attendees.





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