The island festival will showcase films from Iran, Middle East and Central Asia.

The first Kish International Film Festival (April 24-28) is being organized by the Centre for Free and Special Economic Zones and Iran’s Bureau of Film and Audiovisual Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

At least 33 territories have been invited to submit films, with the final number of films expected to screen at the festival close to 150. Competition sections include strands on Iranian Cinema, International Cinema and 262-second short films.

Speaking to Screen, Amir Esfandiari, Director, Farabi Cinema Foundation, which is handling the international section of the festival, said: “The focus of this festival is to improve the links between the countries involved. The festival has enough money to organise a very decent festival for the first time. They can do a lot of different things and they can do different things to Iran’s other two significant festivals. The festival will also feature a strong offering of debates, workshops and seminars.”

The total prize money for the International Cinema Competition section amounts to 70,000 euros, while Esfandiari estimated the total festival prize money at two-three hundred thousand euros. He also said he expected a market to be operational at the festival in the near future.

Visitors do not require a VISA to travel to Kish, which is an economic free zone.

Iranian producer and sales and distribution outfit Farabi Cinema Foundation also sold ten local titles to Turkey [Feb 13] and picked up Route Irish and A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop from Wild Bunch for distribution in Iran.