First Film Juror Highlights Cinema-Audience Connectivity

First Film Juror Highlights Cinema-Audience Connectivity

Senegalese–Lebanese Ghassan Salhab makes movies, collaborates in various scenarios, and teaches cinema in Lebanon. He has directed seven feature films and now is attending the 37th edition of FIFF as a jury member of the First Film section. A short interview follows:

Have you ever been to any previous festival?

It’s my first time here. But in 1998, I had a film in Fajr Film Festival. It was my first feature named Phantom Beirut.

You have been a juror in other festivals? How is the experience here?

Today is my first day and I watched only 3 films. The atmosphere of the festival and quality of these films show that it is like other festivals. I mean it’s a real festival that works properly. Because it’s 37th edition and clearly it has experience and is famous. I knew this festival even before sending a film 21 years ago. Iran’s cinema is my favorite. It gets me involved. Not only because of filmmakers, but the quality of films. I mean you have a serious cinema and there is connection between the cinema and the audience.

Tell us about the movies you saw?

I watched 3 films and two were very interesting. As a jury member, I can’t name the films. Of course, when I checked the catalogue, I realized that most of the films are Asian and it’s normal. But I think because of the stupid sanctions by the US, Western film owners do not attend this festival. Also, I was a little surprised. Because there are not many films from Asian countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan on the list. Still, I am very happy to be here. Because I’m a curious man. I like to see other parts of the world.

Any movie to direct for next year?

I hope I can come back here with a new film. I am finishing a film now and it’s in post-production. We might send it for the next edition.

Presided over by award-winning writer and director Seyyed Reza Mirkarimi, the 37th Fajr International Film Festival is underway in Tehran until April 26. For further information, please visit our website at www.fajriff.com.


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