The Festival Programmer of Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival; There Is No Cinema Without The Society


 

Gönül Dönmez-Colin is a film scholar specializing in the cinemas of Central Asia and the Middle East. She is the author of Women, Islam and Cinema, Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Filmmakers from the Middle East and Central Asia, and The Cinema of North Africa and the Middle East.

 

For starting please introduce yourself and tell us the reason of your participating at this festival.

My name is Gonul Donmez-Colin and I’m a specialist of Turkish Cinema and cinema of this region, Middle East .I have written many books on this subject and I’m also program advisor from Mannheim-Heidelberg film festival in Germany. I’m here to select Iranian films for Mannheim-Heidelberg festival and at the same time I’m here to do my research about the new Iranian cinema.

Is this your first time to be here in Tehran?

No, I have been here several times.

It’s the second edition that International section of the festival is being separated from the urban section. What is your idea about that?

This is my first time since it is separated. I haven’t had too much chance to evaluate it as yet, but I can say most foreigners come to Iran to watch Iranian films. But in a way for your own public, it’s important to have an international film festival, because some of this films such as Asian films you mentioned there is no possibility to see this films elsewhere, they don’t get distributed. So it’s wonderful opportunity to see those films. And it’s a good chance for Iranian public to become familiar to Asian Cinema, because Asian cinema is very rich.

This time the location of the festival palace is in the center of Tehran. What is your idea about that?

Cinema in a reflection of the society and without the society there is no cinema. So for me it is a very wonderful opportunity to evaluate Iranian cinema in relation with the real life instead of being isolated. I think it’s a very good idea.

How do see the atmosphere of the festival so far?

The atmosphere is very good. It has always been very good and that’s why I keep coming here. The organizing is good as well as your hospitality and the selection of films is really great.

 

How many times you’ve been here before?

I used to come regularly since 2002 and I have been here so many times. Then I was very busy with my books and I didn’t come for a while and last yeah I came here for urban section. Mr. Amir Esfandiari is a very old friend. I was born in turkey but I`m from Canada and The Montreal World Film Festival used to have a very large market and Mr. Amir Esfandiari was always there from the Farabi Cinema Foundation to promote the Iranian movies, so I know him for twenty five years at least through The Cinema Montreal Association and then I met maybe the important Iranian film directors mostly in Montreal, like Mr. Majid Majidi. He won 3 times the first prize in Montreal which is kind of like things you see in Guinness records. Nobody ever has won that 3 times beside him.

I have a published a book. Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Filmmakers from the Middle East and Central Asia with second edition in 2002 and separated to two volumes, one of them is Iran and Turkey. In this book I’ve got 10 interview with Iranian directors. 10 with Turkish also. In 10 with Iranians I interviewed with Rakhshan Bani-E’temad, Tahmineh Milani, Majid Majidi, {Abolfazl} Jalili and Mahmoud Kalari. I interviewed 3 times with Abbas Kiarostami in 3 different years.

 


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