Beverly Hills, CA (March 2, 2009) - Eight members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including Academy President Sid Ganis, are currently in Tehran for several days of educational and cultural exchange with Iranian filmmakers, students and others from the creative community there. Several months of planning came to fruition late last week when the group touched down at Iman Khomeini Airport.
The Academy group was invited and is being hosted by Iran's House of Cinema, an association of artists, craftsmen and technicians working in motion pictures. The trip is not sponsored by the U.S. State Department and there are no plans to meet with representatives of the Iranian government. In addition to Tehran, the group will visit Shiraz and Esfahan before returning to the United States on March 8.
The Academy delegation includes actresses Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard; writer Frank Pierson; writer-director Phil Robinson; producer William Horberg, executive Tom Pollock; Ganis; and Ellen Harrington, the Academy's Director of Exhibitions and Special Events. Documentarian James Longley, who was already in Iran working on a project, is also participating. The visit was organized as part of the Academy's International Outreach initiative, which has previously sent filmmakers to Vietnam for similar meetings and seminars with local filmmakers.
In addition to meetings with the House of Cinema's Board of Directors and members, the group's itinerary currently includes seminars on various aspects of filmmaking including acting, writing, directing, producing and marketing; meetings with film students in both Tehran and Esfahan; and a visit to the set of an Iranian film currently in production.
"We have been very warmly received and even just our first few days here have been truly enlightening," said Ganis. "We have been able to do everything on our planned itinerary and in fact, more opportunities are presenting themselves and we are thrilled to take advantage of those as well."
In addition to the personal exchanges, each of the Academy members will introduce a film from his or her career. Screenings of Iranian films are also scheduled for the delegation.
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