'Oblivion Season a film for all seasons'

TEHRAN, Oct. 22 (MNA) – Iranian film Oblivion Season, directed and produced by Abbas Rafei has attended several renowned international film festivals around the world garnering several accolades and awards.

Winning the Gold Bison Award for Best Feature in the 9th Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF), held from 15-18 October in Buffalo, New York, was its latest achievement.

The Iranian flick has also received several awards at other international festivals including the third Annual Rahway International Film Festival in New Jersey, Hudson Festival in New York, the 39th Montreal World Film Festival, Afghanistan International Women Film Festival as well as Brasov International Film Festival (BRIFF) held in Romania. The Universal Film Festival in US presented its Best Film Award to it while its actress Sareh Bayat bagged the event’s Best Actress Award.

The movie narrates the story of an Iranian woman, who starts a new life by marrying her loved one, but her dark past chases her and she faces troubles even though she is supported by her husband.

The following is an exclusive interview of Mehr News with the Associate Director of Buffalo International Film Festival Bob Lingle on the occasion of the awards and wrapping up of the event:

How many films the Buffalo International Film Festival received this year and which countries participated?

We received over 200 submissions, of those, we chose over 20 feature films and nearly 40 short films to screen at BIFF. Our final selections included films from the US, Iran, Canada, Sweden, France, Turkey, Australia, Serbia, Russia, UK, Norway, Cuba, and Switzerland.


Does the festival have any specific policies in choosing the films?

Our policy above all is the overall quality of submissions we receive with an emphasis on screening films that have not been previously available within our region. Once a film is recommended by our screening committee we make every effort to find a place for it on our schedule.


Who were the jury members and how the films were picked up?

Our jury consisted of academics, intellectuals and tastemakers (thought-leaders) in the Buffalo, New York area - while our screening committee and programming committee consists of volunteers including filmmakers, students and cinephiles led by Festival Programmer John J. Fink (a filmmaker and film critic).

More notable jurors were Buffalo Mayor, Byron Brown and recently named Director of Media Arts for the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), Jax Deluca.


How many Iranian works were submitted?

Totally four works were submitted; Oblivion Season and three other short films, namely:

- I You We, directed by Ali Erfan Farhadi which is about a conflict among children playing in a kindergarten classroom presented as a geopolitical allegory.

- Selfie, directed by Ali Erfan Farhadi which is about the motivations of a group of individuals as they prepare to take a 'Selfie.'

- Copper Wire, directed by Hasan Najmabadi is the story of a child who collects copper wire and sells them in order to achieve his goal of renting a video tape.


What was your opinion about the Iranian film and Iranian cinema?

As the Festival Programmer, John Fink said, "we were honored to present three short films from Iran alongside Oblivion Season, which won our Gold Bison Award for Best Feature in our festival." Iranian cinema has always fascinated me and with the availability of high quality cameras on mobile devices like the iPhone as well as high speed internet access - more images of the country will surely be available. It's awful exciting for Iranian filmmakers - as a festival with the goal to present diverse viewpoints from around the world we're honored that Abbas thought of us when submitting Oblivion Season. We're looking forward to providing a platform for filmmakers working in all regions - and thankfully the technology exists for filmmakers to tell their stories and for festivals to present their films.

Given the current geopolitical climate, it's a privilege to be a part of the Buffalo International Film Festival that provides a venue for people from around the World to share their voices, unfiltered, to reach an audience that would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience the diversity and culture of other nations in such an intimate way. We encourage more Iranian filmmakers to submit their films to our festival next year, as we celebrate BIFF's 10th year.


Interview by Pegah Hajian


News Code 111287


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