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Iran appraising eight films for Oscar race

TEHRAN, Sept. 24 (Mehr News Agency) -- Eight Iranian films are currently being assessed in an attempt to pick Iran's entry in the category of Best Foreign Language Films at the 80th Annual Academy Awards, taking place February 24, 2008.

The selection board, which includes Amir Esfandiari, Mohammad Bozorgnia, Kamal Tabrizi, Mojtaba Raei, Mohammadreza Sokut, Alireza Shojanuri, Rasul Sadr-Ameli, Taqi Aliqolizadeh, and Akbar Nabavi, is to announce Iran's nominee for the world's most prestigious film gala by October 2, the academy's deadline for entries.

The films in the running include: "Crossroads" (directed by Abolhassan Davudi), "Reward of Silence" (Maziar Miri), "Somewhere Too Far" (Khosro Masumi), "Mainline" (Rakhshan Bani-Etemad/Mohsen Abdolvahhab), "It's Winter" (Rafi Pitts),"Good Night Commander" (Ensieh Shah-Hosseini),"M for Mother" (Rasul Molaqolipur), and "When Everybody Was Asleep" (Fereidun Hassanpur).

Rafi Pitts's celebrated film "It's Winter" stands a good chance of being chosen due to several factors which are influential in the Oscar race.

One of the strong points of the film "It's Winter" is its storyline. The film was inspired by the book "The Trip" written by the outstanding Iranian novelist Mahmud Dowlatabadi.

Mitra Hajjar in a scene of "It's Winter"

The story depicts the emotional turmoil of a generation torn between its desire to emigrate and its bonds with family and homeland.

Another factor in its favor is that, as a production of the French company, Celluloid Dreams, this film has been widely distributed throughout the world by the international foreign studios Artificial Eye, FSK Kino & Peripher Filmverleih GmbH, Facets Multimedia Distribution, Filmcoopi Zürich, Films sans Frontieres, and Providence Films.

Furthermore, the film has already been nominated for, and won, many prizes at international events. Last year, it was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival.

The film has also won the Simorgh for best cinematography and best sound recording at home in the 2006 Fajr International Film Festival.

In addition, Pitts was awarded the New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize for this film at the 2007 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Academy Awards and Iranian cinema

Iran participated in the Academy Awards for the first time in 1978 with "The Cycle", a film directed by one of Iran's new wave filmmakers, Dariush Mehrjuii.

Albert Lamorisse, "Lovers' Wind", a joint production of Iran and France, was Iran's next choice for the competition.

After "Lovers' Wind" there were no Iranian entries for the Academy Awards until 1995 when Abbas Kiarostami's "Under the Olive Trees" took part.

"White Balloon", by the controversial director Jafar Panahi, was selected in 1996 and after a one-year hiatus self-exiled Mohsen Makhmalbaf's "Gabbeh" was Iran's next film to be entered in 1998.

In 1999, "The Children of Heaven", Majid Majidi's film depicting the face of poverty in an Iranian family, was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Films category of the Academy Awards.

Other Iranian movies that have previously been selected to compete at this cinematic event are "The Color of Paradise" (Majid Majidi) in 2000, "A Time for Drunken Horses" (Bahman Qobadi) in 2001, "Baran" (Majid Majidi) in 2002, "I, Taraneh, Am 15" (Rasul Sadr-Ameli) in 2003, "Deep Breath" (Parviz Shahbazi) in 2004, "Turtles Can Fly" (Bahman Qobadi) in 2005, "So Close, So Far" (Reza Mirkarimi) in 2006, and "Border Café" (Kambuzia Partovi) in 2007.

... Payvand News - 9/25/07 ... --

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