Egyptian artists bring back cinema tips from Iran

Ahram Online, Wednesday 21 Nov 2012

Delegation of Egyptian actors and filmmakers visits Iran to learn from the Islamic Republic's thriving film industry and build collaborative projects

Iranian film "A Separation"
Iranian film "A Separation"

Egypt is hoping to learn from the Iranian film industry's remarkable success in recent years. Last week, a delegation of actors from Egypt travelled to Iran, and following fruitful talks they signed a charter of collaboration.

In Tehran, the Egyptian delegation met with the minister of communications and visited film studios and the media city.

Upon returning from the visit, actor Sameh El-Sereity said the two nations would collaborate in the realms of editing and dubbing, as well as exchanging films.

"On my visit to Iran, I sensed the country's firm belief in the role of cinema," says El-Sereity. "Film represents soft power for Iran, and that is why the government strongly supports it financially."

Egyptian actor Ahmed Bedeir, who was also on the trip, said Egypt would also strive to take advantage of Iranian skill with make-up and costume design. Egyptian producer Mohamed Fawzy commended the Iranian cinema industry on their expertise with Islamic décor, and their advancements in post production.

Despite Iran's undeniable leap in the film industry, its artists still face resistance by the authorities when they tackle controversial issues such as politics, religion, or sexuality.

In 2010, distinguished Iranian film director Jafar Panahi was sentenced to six years in jail by a Revolutionary Court for producing "propaganda against the state."

Iranian filmmaker Shirin Neshat, who lives in exile, has made a film highlighting the plight of women in contemporary Iranian society. Asghar Farhadi's Golden Globe and Oscar winning film, A Separation, unsettled the Iranian government, which condemned it for showing a "skewed version of the Islamic Republic."

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