The Venice Film Festival, founded in 1932, is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the “Big Three” film festivals alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival.
Here is a quick chat with Oscar Iarussi, festival’s program advisor, who is attending this year’s Fajr Film Festival.
Tell us about yourself and your work?
I have two jobs. I am both a journalist at newspaper and my responsibility is to prepare content for different sections of culture, art, cinema and theater. I am also a program advisor for Venice International Film Festival.
What exactly is your responsibility there?
I work with the selection committee of the festival, who watch movies to select the best for screening and also awarding. I help them choose the best movies, a task which is very difficult.
What are your criteria for selection?
I see films with selection committee and directors and try to help them choose the ones that their styles are new and interesting. Our core focus is on discovering the young talents in world cinema.
Name different sections that your festival has?
It has different sections including: competition, non-competition, horizons (Orizzonti), classic and documentary, which focuses on the history of cinema across the world.
Can you tell us about the Orizzonti section?
This section is foremost to us as it deals with new talents, new languages, and new stars. We evaluate new works in this part and try to motivate young filmmakers and artists to improve in their fields of activities. Iranian film Malaria was screened and awarded in this section last year.
How many movies do you usually have in Asia and Middle East?
We love Asian movies and love to watch and choose as much as we can. I think we have roughly 100 films from Asia each year. We have correspondent in Asia that helps us get connected to Asian directors. We have also one in Tehran.
What is the relation between Italian and Iranian Neorealist films?
I think there is very close connection between these two. New Realism comes from a place of anger and confusion in post-war Italy. And Iranian new wave is coming after revolution, a desire and need to project out onto the world the truth and beauty of your country.
Last Iranian film you watched and your take?
I watched No Date, No Signature which was very nice. I liked it very much. I think the director of the film made a good job.
What about this year’s Film Market and films screened?
I think the quality is good and level of films is good. Market is not the greatest in the world, but it is good.
How do you rate this year’s run? Any weaknesses and strengths?
It is my first time in Iran and this festival and I find it very amazing. I think the location is great. People are hospitable and helpful. It is easy to access what we need. It is well-organized and we can easily get connected to directors and distributors. I also love the historic-cultural tours.
Presided over by Reza Mirkarimi, the 35th edition of Fajr International Film Festival will take place from 21 to 28 April in Tehran.