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DIFF TO TEHRAN (article first published : 2006-12-18)

With the South African Embassy in Iran, the Durban International Film Festival co-presented the 1st South African Film Festival in Tehran from December 4 to 7.

The films selected for the festival were Yesterday directed by Darrell James Roodt, Forgiveness by Ian Gabriel, Conversations On A Sunday Afternoon by Khalo Matabane, The Mother's House by Francois Verster and Tamat by Munier Parker. These directors will travel to Iran to present their films and engage with Iranian filmmakers.

The South African Ambassador to Iran, Ambassador Yusuf Saloojee, whose idea it was to stage a South African film festival in Iran, says: "The Embassy views this initiative as important for promoting cultural relations as well as people-to-people relations between the two countries and to expand interaction between the South African and Iranian film industries."

Peter Rorvik, director of the Durban International Film Festival, highlighted that such international promotion of South African cinema is integral to DIFF's aims. He says: "To be involved in a project which will introduce South African cinema to new audiences, particularly in a cinema-crazy country like Iran, is very exciting for the DIFF. The DIFF will continue to promote South African cinema, both within this country and beyond, so that our films can take their rightful place in the film world."

Prolific South African producers Anant Singh and Jeremy Nathan also attended the festival with the aim of exchanging ideas and forming relationships with their Iranian counterparts. ”We are delighted to participate in the inaugural South African Film Festival in Iran. Iran is a great film-making country with very talented filmmakers and we are proud to have distributed a few Iranian films here in South Africa,” says Anant Singh. ”The Makhmalbaf family are extremely talented and world class filmmakers and I am looking forward to meeting with them in Tehran to discuss possibilities of joint ventures, and of collaborating in future film projects."

Nashen Moodley, DIFF's manager/programmer, intended to explore relationships with Iranian festivals and engage with Iranian filmmakers. "From its early days the DIFF has paid attention to the phenomenal cinema of Iran," he says, "and in recent years Iranian cinema has become more and more prominent at our festival. Earlier this year we presented a special focus on Iranian Cinema, and Iranian directors walked away with prizes for both Best Film (Abolfazl Jalili's Full Or Empty) and Best Director (Jafar Panahi for Offside). It is a great pleasure to be involved in establishing closer links between the South African and Iranian film industries."

The 28th Durban International Film Festival will take place from June 20 to July 1 2007. More information on 031 260 2506, email diff@ukzn.ac.za or visit: www.cca.ukzn.ac.za




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