TEHRAN, Jan. 25 (Mehr News Agency) -- Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad-Hossein Saffar Harandi denies having had any influence in the selection of Iranian entries for the National Competition Section of the 26th Fajr Film Festival.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Image of Ashura conference on Wednesday evening, he stated that he has not yet viewed any of the festival entries.
The secretariat of the gala recently announced that several works submitted to the national section had been rejected, and only twenty three movies have been selected to compete in the National Competition Section of the festival.
It has been said that the selection of movies has been performed under the influence of the culture minister.
"I wonder where these words came from. When I have not seen a movie, how can I have judged and selected any?" the minister remarked during the Ashura ceremony.
He continued, "I only paid a visit to the members of the selection board one night and we just talked about major cinematic issues. The words exchanged had nothing to do with the selection of films."
The minister went on to say, "I and the culture deputy Mohammadreza Jafari Jelveh have not taken part in any film selection sessions."
With reference to one of the rejected movies named "Atashkar" by Mohsen Amir-Yusefi, the minister explained that the selection board was made up of professionals and that everyone must respect their opinions.
Mohammad Bozorgnia, Puran Derakhshandeh, Majid Rezabalazadeh, Jamal Shurjeh, Dariush Farhang and Mojtaba Moshiri were the members of the national competition section's selection board.
Saman Moqaddam's "A Hundred Years Better Than This Year" and Alireza Davudnejad's "Hustler" are among the rejected movies.
The 26th Fajr International Film Festival will be held from February 1 to 11 at a number of cinemas in Tehran.
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