Marcin Luczaj, who represents Warsaw Film Festival, finds the Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF) well-organized, and is looking for new and experimental Iranian films for the upcoming edition of the Polish showcase. In an interview with the Festival, he talks about his expectations of FIFF and compares it with other international film festivals.
How do you feel about being in Iran for the first time?
Good, very good. I have always wanted to be here. I select Iranian films for our festival and I have seen lots of Iranian films, but never have a chance to be here.
What do you like about Iranian cinema?
I think Iranian cinema is very close to Polish cinema; both cinemas are based on society, based on social dramas. And for us it is the exotic culture that is more fascinating. However, we can find lots of links between the two. I mean, on the surface Iranian cinema seems very exotic, but at the same time it is very familiar.
Are Polish audiences familiar with Iranian cinema?
They are quite familiar with Iranian cinema. Iranian films are distributed in Poland. For example, in our cinema, we show some of the Iranian films which were in Cannes or the Berlinale, so there is a chance of them being shown in cinemas. We always have one to five Iranian films every year. Last year, we had a film directed by Niki Karimi which the audience really liked.
How do you usually select Iranian films for your festival?
We receive over two thousand submissions and we screen one hundred films; we pick whatever movies we like. I mean we don’t select a movie because it is from Iran, and we don’t select a movie because we like the country or not! We like to show other movies which are made outside Europe, and Iran is part of that.
What do you think about the organization of the festival?
Well, it is very well-organized. I have been to a lot of festivals and I don’t see any difference between Fajr and the others. It is just taking place in another city, and when you are in the festival venues, it looks like other festival and film markets in Europe or Unites States, very similar.
What do you expect to see in the coming days in the festival?
We are in the selection process for the Warsaw Film Festival, so I am looking for new films from Iran. I know there are lots of Iranian films ready and waiting for an international premiere and we are interested to discover new names. Some of the names in the lineup are by familiar names, like Reza Dormishian.
Are you looking for something specific in the films?
We know the taste of our audience; we have been running the festival for over twenty years. Sometimes we don’t like a movie but know that our audience will like it and want to see it, so we select it. In our festival we are looking for more experimental films in terms of narrative to introduce to Polish people, because they are used to watching traditional films. Our festival is a platform to let them watch new films and discover films which are not shown in regular cinemas.