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Iran's Ministers Summoned to Parliament Over Hollywood Team

Members of Iran's parliament have summoned three of the nation's top officials to explain why a Hollywood team is in Tehran, after Iranian officials said they considered several recent Hollywood movies insulting.

Iran's state TV says parliament's cultural commission issued the call Wednesday to the foreign and intelligence ministers as well as the minister of culture and Islamic guidance. Commission member Javad Arianmanesh says he wants the ministers to tell who invited the delegation to the capital and why.

Arianmanesh says Iran's identity has been "insulted" by Hollywood.

At issue is the film The Wrestler, which has a scene showing actor Mickey Rourke besting a character named "the Ayatollah" and breaking a flagpole holding an Iranian flag. Iran has also cited the movie 300, about a battle between Sparta and Persia, saying it distorts historical facts.

Also, an advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has demanded an apology from the group, which arrived Friday.

The Hollywood actors and executives are holding filmmaking and movie marketing workshops. On Sunday, a delegation member, actress Annette Bening, told reporters she hopes the group can help establish a dialogue between Iran and the U.S.  

The team was assembled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the yearly Academy Awards.


Annette Bening, attended workshop
for Iranian actors at Cinema Museum
in Tehran on March 1, 2009

Another member of the delegation, AMPAS president Sid Qanis, was quoted by Iranian state media as saying the visit was cultural, not political and that the group does not represent Hollywood.

No film able to damage Iran's culture and civilization: AMPAS President

TEHRAN, Mar. 04 (ISNA)-President of the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Sid Ganis reiterated that no film is able to damage Iran's culture and civilization.

Speaking in a seminar on film production in Tehran, Ganis praised Iran's civilization and said the film "300" was made according to a comic strip and no one cared about whether it was correct or not.

During the seminar chaired by two Iranian producers Gholam Reza Mousavi and Iraj Taghipour, steps to select the scenario, employ elements, create marketing programs and the role of producers in advertisement and marketing were discussed.

Another member of the Hollywood delegation in Iran, taking part in the seminar said "I guess those who watched "300" described it as a fantastic and comic film, and nobody made a research on the film, but I wish they did have a research to avoid hurting the feelings of others."

Also another American actor William Horberg expressed optimism more Iranian films would be screened in the US to make Iran's cinema more popular.

He then called for better distribution of cinema projects and making joint films.

A number of Iranian actors, actresses and directors attended the seminar.

... Payvand News - 03/05/09 ... --

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