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House of Cinema’s Managing Director at the Media Conference


House of Cinema’s Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour met with reporters from several news agencies (Mehr, ISNA, Fars and IRNA) for a media conference on Tuesday March 10, 2008, Public Relations of the House of Cinema reports.
According to Mehr News, Asgarpour criticized the reaction of some people and members of media to the visit of the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science to Iran, describing the national TV’s approach to the situation as an “Own Goal.”
Referring to the contradictory reactions of some media toward the recent trip of the Hollywood delegation, Asgarpour said: “One of the Iranian dailies, which is funded by the people’s money, used very harsh remarks to criticize the delegation’s visit. This is just the kind of attitude that will lead to the productions such as ‘300’. It was so easy for me to predict the reactions to this trip, and what comments we will hear from which groups and individuals.” 
He then added: “I believe there are people who insist on showing our guests that we are the same people portrayed in ‘Not without My Daughter’ and ‘300’. Fortunately, there were others who tried to demonstrate our rich cultural background and act in a manner befitting such ancient history and culture. In none of the meetings, the Iranian cineastes bowed to the American filmmakers. Despite some false reports, no filmmaker was belittled and degraded. AMPAS members encountered the true image of Iran and its culture, history and people.”
House of Cinema’s Managing Director continued: “The reaction of state TV was also predictable. Such conflicting attitude shows a lack of consistency in such a huge organization as IRIB. By airing programs which underlined the shared origins and strong ties between Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood and Zionism, the IRIB political department insisted on making this relation quite clear to all viewers. But, it was really like an own goal. The films they were talking about have all been repeatedly aired on state TV channels.”
Furthering his point, Asgarpour said: “The film ‘Dances with Wolves’, which according to the analytic reviews of these friends is a symbol of Hollywood’s colonial and racial outlook, has been aired on the state TV again and again for a wide range of audiences. Same with ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which is to be aired during the New Year holidays, and was labeled as another example of colonial outlook by these programs. If these friends really believe there should be no cultural relation whatsoever between the cinema of Iran and Hollywood and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, then no foreign film should go up on air on any of state TV Channels.”
He also pointed out: “I know that the IRIB director Ezzatollah Zarghami knows cinema well, and he is also well aware of the position of Iran’s cinema in the world. However, I believe all this happened because of poorly defined policies at IRIB. If it goes against the national interests to invite some members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to our country and hold a few trips and educational workshops and seminars, then airing all these Hollywood productions should be measured by the same yardstick, and only those movies produced by the American independent filmmakers should be broadcasted.”
Regarding the House of Cinema’s clear stance on the Academy and the Oscars, Asgarpour maintained: “We accept the general idea of the Oscars, but we have always had our own opinions about the details, and Iranian filmmakers have openly discussed this criticisms on several occasions. During the interactive meetings that we had with the members of the Academy, we tried to put all these issues on the table and make our position and opinions completely clear for them.”
“We have been receiving some concerned advices and comments, showing us that some friends do not believe us to be a people of long standing historical and cultural background who cannot be easily deceived. And this visit was not supposed to be a setting for us to be deceived in the first place! The main objective was cultural exchange aimed at the growth and development of the Iranian cinema,” he pointed out.
Referring to the remarks of the Iranian President’s cultural advisor, Asgarpour said: “His remarks were much like the comments made by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has also criticized the visit of AMPAS delegation to Iran. Of course the US Department of State has announced that Clinton’s remarks were her personal views and not the official position of the US government. At any rate, I find the similar positions interesting.”

House of Cinema’s Managing Director: “Academy members were looking for an interactive relation with the Iranian Cineastes.”

In the media conference held at the House of Cinema on Tuesday March 10th, Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour evaluated the outcomes of the AMPAS delegation’s visit to Iran as ‘positive’.

According to Mehr News Agency, House of Cinema’s Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors said on the recent visit of the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS): “Since a few years ago, members of the Academy had noticed the position of the Iranian cinema on the international level and the success of Iranian filmmakers in world film festivals, and had expressed their interest in arranging a visit to our country.”

He added: “This event was organized and executed with the aim to establish a cultural relation and pool the experiences of the Iranian cinema and members of the Academy. The post revolution cinema of Iran has won a special place for itself in the international scene, and it is only natural that they would like to form an interactive relation with the Iranian filmmakers.”

Asgarpour went on to say: “Five months ago, the proposition was seriously brought up again, and it was clear that the Academy members are really intent on making the trip to Iran and meet our filmmakers. However, the number of filmmakers on the delegation was still undetermined. We wanted the visit to happen before the Iranian New Year, some time in December or January, but they were busy preparing for the annual Oscars awards ceremony and could not make it at that time. Around that time, we started the legal procedures for the delegation’s trip to our country.”

He further added: “The schedule we had worked out for this visit consisted of educational workshops and seminars as a platform to communicate the shared experiences of the Iranian filmmakers and Academy members. Fortunately, we were able to meet the defined goals during the delegation’s visit. Despite the side hassles created by some media, I believe the trip of the AMPAS delegation to Iran was a positive experience.”  


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