The International Festival of Films on Art - 39TH Edition from March 16 to 28, 2021



Spotlight on Iranian Art Films is a showcase of Iranian films on art and art films at the 38th International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA). This six-hour-long event consists of three separate screenings of Iranian films produced in recent years, most of which will premiere in Montreal at FIFA 2020. They are the work of both established and emerging filmmakers, some based in Iran and others from the diaspora. Diversity lies at the heart of the selection of films for Spotlight on Iranian Art Films, with more than half directed by women. The program offers a glimpse of the wealth of Persian art and culture.

Experimental films, art films, and films on art have a long history in Iranian cinema, dating back to the 1960s. Drawing on the experiences of the pioneers, new generations have produced a body of work unrestricted to any one cinematic convention or mainstream style. Many of these creators are multidisciplinary artists combining the aesthetics of film with those of visual arts, literature, and architecture. While Iranian artists working outside Iran have enjoyed unconditional freedom in their artistic expression, those working in Iran have had to find subtle ways to voice their thoughts notwithstanding constraints in dealing with certain subjects. The shared element of these films is a “curious eye,” a person in search of an answer or questioning the world around them and challenging the norms. Spotlight on Iranian Art Films at FIFA 2020 is a platform for these two groups of films to have a dialogue and an opportunity for the audience to see how, hand in hand, they break new ground.

This selection is offered in the context of the Emergent Curators Program initiated by Le FIFA and Momenta | Biennale de l’image, with the support of the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Screenings will take place at Pavillon J.A. de Sève of Concordia University, on Saturday March 21st at 8:30 pm, and Sunday March 22nd at 5:45 pm and 8:30 pm.


Screening session #1: The World’s a Stage

Titled after a quotation from William Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It, this selection of nine films features on-screen performance. Performing-art forms such as dance and theatre are explored in these audacious short films, and some also address the concept of performativity – portraying the world as a stage.

Sogol Rezvani, Reverence (Curtain Call)
Tanin Torabi, The Dérive
Atefeh Khademolreza, Déjà vu
Marjan Ansari, Paper Planes
Payam Ghorbani, Friday
Alireza Keymanesh and Amir Pousti, Flatland
Gilnaz Arzpeyma, Be Hold
Farid Yahaghi, Timeless
Farhad Pakdel, Farewell My Murderer

Screening session #2: Double Exposure

The two features in this double bill centre on photography. Both films present photography as a documentation apparatus. In one, the camera records the tangible world of events; in the other, it is a means by which dreams are captured. Inspired by a photography term, Double Exposure exposes both concrete history and ephemeral dreams.

Shirin Neshat, Land of Dreams 
Ali Shilandari, Fading Portraits

Screening session #3: Kaleidoscope

This selection of nine colourful experimental and animated films figuratively acts as a “kaleidoscope” by reflecting diverse shapes and forms. These films examine both psychological and social landscapes and fall into the category of “art film” for the way in which they experiment with form.

Parissa Mohit, Une visite
Mahboube Kalaei, Sink
Vahid Hosseini Nami, Whole to Part
Narges Haghighat, Free and Beautiful
Taravat Khalili, Flown Awake
Shiva Sadegh Asadi, Maned & Macho
Mania Akbari and Douglas White, LUBION
Arash Akhgari, Flight of Monochrome Feathers
Sam Kalantari, He

The first and third screening sessions will be followed by a Q&A with some of the filmmakers in attendance, moderated by experts on Iranian film and art. 

Biographical notes

Leila Khalilzadeh
is an Iranian filmmaker based in Montreal. She has directed, written, and produced short fiction, animation, and documentary films. Her films have been showcased at many film festivals and academic and cultural venues around the world, including Berlinale, Festival du nouveau cinema, International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, and UCLA. Khalilzadeh holds an MA in cinema from the University of Art, Tehran, Iran, and is currently completing her MFA in Film Production at Concordia University and writing her first feature film.