Speaking at a press conference in Tehran, Reza Mirkarimi said most of the movies selected, including feature films, shorts, and documentaries, are yet to have their regional or world premieres, in countries from the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
"No one will interfere in the judging process. All jury members have been selected following careful considerations. The festival determines its policies based on the selection process and not on the type of awards," Mirkarimi underlined.
He added that Fajr is not a red carpet annual event.
"We are not looking for celebrities to participate. There are just about three screening venues, unlike those in other countries which require 30 screening theaters. The programmers have selected the movies that respect Iran's cultural and religious principles," he noted.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he said some of the movies pertain to contemporary issues, such as the war in Syria that will see their world premieres. "There are still some shortfalls that need to be addressed and fixed. Our biggest problem is not screenplays, rather in turning them into movies. The same problem exists elsewhere in the world, but they are still doing better. Most of the movies which have been selected are standard, appropriate, and inspiring. The whole idea is to get foreign and Iranian films together in one place. This way, they can learn from each other."
He further explained that the festival offers services online, while most Fajr Film Club members share information on its data bank. "There is also an online video library for those who are interested in watching movies that they wouldn't be able to see during the festival. This includes movies from the previous editions."
In conclusion, Mirkarimi said over 350 guests from 66 countries are taking part. "Some will take part at filmmaking workshops entitled Dar ul-Funun. It's a future investment for the organizers. Some 70 foreign students and 52 Iranians will participate in the weeklong program. The workshops will begin two days ahead of the festival's grand opening and end two days before the closing ceremony. The Fajr Film Club has well over 22,000 members. Reception has been overwhelming."
This year's Fajr event has been dedicated to prominent Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who passed away last year.
The 35th edition of FIff is slated to take place in Tehran from April 21 to 28.