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Iran's House of Cinema ruled illegal

Source: Tehran Times

The Iran Public Culture Council (IPCC) has ruled the Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) is illegal, the Persian service of FNA reported on Wednesday. The decision was made on Tuesday during an IPCC meeting, which was held to settle a lawsuit filed against the organization by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance early December.

Iran's House of Cinema

IPCC is composed of 29 members including the culture ministry, representatives of the Interior Ministry, the Intelligence Ministry, and the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization.

No representative from the IHC was invited to the meeting.

The members were briefed by Deputy Culture Minister Javad Shamaqdari about the activities of IHC at the meeting, Mansur Vaezi told FNA.

"Finally, due to the (Shamaqdaro's) report, IPCC ruled the Iranian House of Cinema is illegal," he added.

The IHC announced in a statement on Monday that it won't collaborate with the Culture Ministry in organizing the Fajr International Film Festival, if the legal issues raised by the ministry are not settled.

Some semi official news websites deemed the statement a call for boycotting the festival, which is considered as Iran's most important cinematic event.

Source: Khabar Online

The IHC, which is the Iranian cineastes' guild, has been criticized by certain Iranian officials over the past few years for its independent stands on various issues.

In September, it was criticized for the issuance of a statement over the arrest of six Iranian documentary filmmakers, who have been accused of "collaboration with the BBC Persian service" in Iran.

Afterward, the minister of culture and Islamic guidance questioned the legitimacy of the IHC.

He said that the IHC had refused to inform the IPCC about some amendments made to its charter.

"Consequently, the guild faces a serious question about its legitimacy," Mohammad Hosseini said.

Subsequently, Deputy Culture Minister Shamaqdari was assigned to file a lawsuit against the IHC.

"The official attitude toward the IHC was previously thought to be spontaneous, but today, it seems to be organized," IHC Managing Director Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur said in October.

"Certain people are seeking to denigrate the Iranian cinema family and it seems that they are doing it on purpose," he sighed.

Iran's House of Cinema at a Glance

House of Cinema first started to work as the Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds in 1989, when members of the board of directors appointed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the time were put in charge of the establishment of this guild body. The membership process and introduction of the organization to different guilds took a long while to complete, and so the official establishment was announced four years after the House of Cinema started to work as an assembly of different motion picture guilds. Accordingly, the non-commercial institute and company registration organization in Tehran has March 1993 as the official commencement date of House of Cinema's operation, and October of the same year as the date of registration.

Among the principle objectives of the establishment of House of Cinema is to protect and maintain the financial and non-financial rights of the decent and dedicated individuals and bodies of cinema art-industry that are involved in production, distribution and screening of films, to provide social and job security for all members and to upgrade the professional and educational knowledge level of all those working within the cinema of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Arbitrary Council of the House of Cinema

The Arbitrary Council of the House of Cinema started to work in 1996. With seven members elected from different guilds and associations, the Council is one of the most active parts of the House of Cinema, responsible to look into and resolve the disagreements among the members of motion picture guilds.

Guild Council of Screening

Formed in 2002, the Guild Council of Screening is composed of the representatives of Iranian Association of Movie Theater Managers, Association of Iranian Film Producers, Directors Guild of Iran, Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and House of Cinema's Board of Directors. It is responsible for planning and monitoring the screened films, changing the current films on the screen and changing cinema groups.

Script Bank of Iran

Script Bank of Iran was established in 1998 to protect the material and moral rights of the writers within the cinema industry, and it has been registering the works of freelance and guild writers ever since. The seven members of the bank's council include one member elected by the Department of Cinema Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, one member elected by the House of Cinema's Board of Directors, two members elected by the central council of the Iranian Association of Screenwriters, two members elected by the Directors Guild of Iran, and one member elected by the central council of the Iranian Association of Film Producers and Distributors.

The Council is responsible for defining the bank's policies and approaches and also conducting expert reviews of the technical and legal disagreements with regard to the screenplays registered at the Bank.

Insurance and Welfare

Department of Insurance and Welfare is responsible to follow up the issues concerning the artists' medical insurance, supplementary medical insurance, Takrim Plan (fixed income for senior artists who have demonstrated certain style or originality in their fields), Moammerin Plan (financial support for veteran artists unable to perform or work for a reason) and Artists' Social Security Loan Fund for all eligible applicants from the House of Cinema members who can provide a reference letter from their respective guilds.

Library of the House of Cinema

With 14000 Iranian and foreign titles on different subjects, the Library of the House of Cinema is one of the richest cinema libraries in the country. Those interested in the seventh art or involved in filmmaking business can study the history of cinema in Iran and the world over the pages of the many books in the library's extensive collection. The Library of the House of Cinema started to work in 1996 when the library of the Farabi Cinema Foundation moved in with 9000 titles. Since 1998, extensive attempts have been made to complete the library resources, and as a result the library now holds and presents a collection of 13500 Iranian titles and around 500 foreign titles on different subjects including cinema, theater, literature, history, sociology and philosophy, as well as a large number of novels. In addition to books, the library offers access to complete archives of all specialized Iranian magazines on cinema, and the last two years' issues of six foreign magazines including Film Comment, Cineaste, Make-Up Artist, Sight & Sound, Screen and Variety. Free Internet access is also available for members at the library.

Screening and Convention Hall

The Screening and Convention Hall is another active part of the House of Cinema. With the improved screening space and cutting edge visual and audio systems, the screening hall is all set to host general assemblies and gatherings of the guilds and associations, and receives jury members from different motion picture guilds for the annual Iran Cinema Celebration.

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