New Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may haveunsettled western governments with his fervid anti-western rhetoric but thathasn't affected the continuing international push of Iranian cinema.
There were six Iraniantitles in official selection in Berlin this year, and for the very first time,the Government has paid for private Iranian sales outfits to attend the EFM,among them Katayoon Shahabi'sSheherazad Media International and Mohammad Atebbai's Iranian Independents.
'Fortunately, the policymakers all believe that Iranian cinema enjoys a very powerful situation inworld cinema and they believe they should strengthen this situation,' commentedAtebbai to Screen.The six titles in official selection are all handled by private companies.
In recent years, films bythe best-known Iranian filmmakers, for example Jafar Panahi and members of the MahhmalbafFilm House, have been handled by international salescompanies. The aim now is to boost the private Iranian sales outfits so they'restrong enough to represent such movies themselves.
Is there a contradiction inPresident Ahmadinejad decrying Western countrieswhile his Ministry of Culture supports schemes to sell movies to theirdistributors' Katayoon Shahabidoesn't think so. 'I'm not surprised,' she says. 'I'm used to such a paradox.'