1st IFFA 2011

Welcome to the 1st IFFA 2011, Khosh Amadid!

How, we asked ourselves, could there be no festival featuring one of the most beloved national cinemas, that of Iran? With the Iranian Film Festival Australia, the only festival in Australia dedicated to Iranian cinema, we bring you a diverse range of the best and most interesting films. 

Iran celebrated its acknowledgement in the international film scene in 1997 with Abbas Kiarostami's receipt of the Palme d'Or for A Taste of Cherry. Since then the national cinema has been showered with silver and golden cameras, bears, lions, leopards and most recently a Golden Coach. (Jafar Panahiés Carosse d'Or, at this year's Cannes Film Festival.) But despite punching way above its weight in the international awards arena, Iranian cinema rarely gets more than a nod in Australian festivals.

The Iranian Film Festival Australia addresses that, giving the opportunity to view the broad ranges of aesthetic styles and themes embraced by contemporary Iranian cinema. The festival opens in Brisbane with the 2011 Berlinale Golden Bear winner and inaugural MPAA/APSA Production Fund recipient, A Separation. We are thrilled that director Asghar Farhadi will be in Brisbane to present his film.

The programme revolves around a special tribute to Mohammad Rasoulof, convicted on December 20, 2010 alongside collaborator and fellow director Jafar Panahi for assembly, collusion, and propagandizing against the regime.

The programme includes Rasoulof's two major films to date, Iron Island and the Canberra and Adelaide opener, White Meadows, both strong political fables where Magic-realism is subverted to the point of implosion. Iranian cinema is stereotypically praised for its humanitarian values, a characteristic contradictorily arising from the demands of a constraining cinema code. 

Copper and Gold treats subject-matter to which many urban Iranians are sensitive, the clergy, with a humanism that allows the film to transcend its geographical and political specificity. 

Rainy Seasons by contrast is an indie tale of alienated youth marked as Iranian only by its material trappings. There Are Things You Don't Know, a moody and stylish debut starring Ali Mosafa and Leila Hatami, screens in Brisbane and Adelaide.

And finally the festival also embraces the Iranian filmmaking diaspora with The Hunter, the tough new feature from the European-based Rafi Pitts and Circumstance, the 2011 Sundance Audience winner shot in Lebanon and only likely to be available in Iran on the blackmarket.

We invite you to join us! 

Anne Démy-Geroe and Armin Miladi
Festival Directors

2011 Films