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Hollywood to host Iranian delegation

TEHRAN, Oct. 2 (Mehr News Agency) -- After the Hollywood delegation's trip to Iran, now it's Iran's turn! An Iranian delegation comprised of the House of Cinema officials and several cineastes is scheduled to attend a Hollywood program.

The delegation has been invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the UCLA Film & Television Archive in order to present a series of recent Iranian films during the program "Up Close and Personal: Iranian Filmmakers in Their Own Words" from October 9 to 16, the Academy has recently announced in its website.

The delegation includes House of Cinema Managing Director Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur, Deputy Director Farhad Tohidi, spokesman Amin Tarokh, and Directors Guild of Iran Managing Director Alireza Raiisian.

In addition, filmmakers Ebrahim Hatamikia, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Reza Mirkarimi, Mojtaba Raei, documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, and actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya will accompany the delegation.

"UCLA has one of the oldest ongoing Iranian film festivals in the United States, but rarely have the filmmakers been present at their screenings," the Academy website said.

"This program offers eight recent films, representing each of the members of a visiting artist delegation from Iran, and will offer the opportunity to hear about their creative process in their own words," explained the website.

"So Simple", "Lady of the Roses", "In the Name of the Father", "Journey to Hidalou", "The Mother", "Havana File", "Gilaneh" and "7:05 P.M." are slated to be screened during the program while each film will be followed by a discussion with one or more of the film's principal creators.

How will the new administration react?

This is the first time an official Iranian group is slated to attend a Hollywood-arranged program.

The Iranian delegation should be concerned about how the new administration at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance will view their travel to the United States.

The newly-appointed Deputy Culture Minister, Javad Shamaqdari, who has an 'anti-Western' inclination, will likely begin thinking about forcing some changes at the House of Cinema, Iran's film association affiliated with the Culture Ministry.

House of Cinema Managing Director Asgarpur and Shamaqdari seemed to have been quarreling over the past four years that Shamaqdari was in charge as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's art advisor.

They were both on a TV program "Two Steps Remaining to the Morning" in November 2008, debating on Iranian cinema.

In late Fabruary 2009, a Hollywood delegation led by Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, visited Iran by invitation of the House of Cinema.

Iranian Screenwriters Center director Farhad Tohidi (R) and American screenwriters Frank Pierson (C) and Phil Alden Robinson attend a session held at the Iranian House of Cinema in Tehran on February 28, 2009.

The decision to invite the delegation was criticized by some Iranian officials including former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's art advisor Shamaqdari, who is currently the deputy culture minister for cinematic affairs.

Shamaqdari demanded that the delegation apologize for Hollywood's perceived past sins during the Hollywood delegation's visit to Iran.

Moreover, Iranian ministers of intelligence, foreign affairs and culture were all summoned to the Majlis to provide an explanation for the Hollywood delegation's visit to Iran.

... Payvand News - 10/02/09 ... --

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