Beginning just three years after the chaotic Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF) has taken place every year on its anniversary and hosts of a multitude of national and international films. The globally recognized FIFF is promoted locally as well as internationally, attracting speakers from all over the globe including Europe, United Kingdom and the United States. It is held in two parts; the first running from Feb 1 – 11 and the second from April 20 – 25. The former segment is dedicated to the screening of national films and latter to international films. Come along with goingIRAN to learn and discover more about this event!

The well renowned film festival hands out a total of 35 awards each year. The panel of judges (jury) is comprised of the International Competition Jury, Competition of Spiritual Cinema Jury and the Competition of Asian Cinema Jury. Nowadays, over half of the the national Iranian films are being produced by the young generation of film directors. This is a significant new reality and has been interpreted by the Minister of Iran’s Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry to be a positive thing. He has said, “Iranian cinema today reflects social issues in the community. The number of film productions and ticket sales in recent years show people’s tendency towards the (seventh) art. Movies have a unique role in cultural development. We have confidence in our filmmakers and believe we can reduce social harm and develop morality and social values with your help”, and called the event “the festival of hope and vitality.”

Although the Fajr Festival is revolves around cinema, there are also a few parallel award events in the fields of music, theatre and visual arts. The same Crystal Simorgh trophy, of the film awards, is given to the winner of each category. Simorgh is the name of an ancient mystical bird in the Persian culture that is sometimes equated with the one that Westerners recognize as Pheonix.

Visitors of Iran during these months are most definitely encouraged to in at least one of these film events. Although a few dozen foreign countries participate in these awards, watching an Iranian film during these screenings will surely lend great insight into the modern Iranian culture and social matters!


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