European Film Week meant to enhance Iran-Europe understanding of each other

TEHRAN, Jun. 11 (MNA) – The European Film Week 2019 – that started on June the 8th - includes 19 participating European countries and is taking place in 8 cities, namely: Babol, Isfahan, Kerman, Kish, Mashhad, Tabriz, Tehran and Shiraz, under the aegis of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC)-Iran network and in cooperation with the Art & Experience Cinema Institute.

By pooling together resources and expertise of 23 EU Member States and European partner countries, EUNIC Iran works to build cultural bridges between Europe and Iran, believing that cultural exchange is the key element to deepen our understanding of each other.

This year, Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland are showing cinematic masterpieces from their countries. Furthermore, film makers from Cyprus, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland are holding stimulating workshops that may even lead to innovative collaborations with film makers from Iran.

Compared to last year, the 2019 edition of the European Film Week experienced an increase in both the number of participating countries and in the number of cities by 25 percent, which shows the great importance that the European Union and associated countries, Norway and Switzerland, attach to developing cultural relations with Iran and Iranians.

In an interview with Mehr news agency, President of EUNIC Iran Alexander Rieger, who is also the Head of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Tehran, elaborated on the cultural event.

"EUNIC Iran is the network of European Cultural Counsellors present in Iran so it is composed of representatives of the 21 EU member states which have embassies in Iran and additionally also Norway and Switzerland," he said, "Our primary objective is to develop and implement European cultural projects in Iran."

"This is the third time that we are organizing the European Film Week in Iran. First, it was organized in 2017, in Tehran and Tabriz with the participation of 12 countries. In 2018, it was improved to 15 participating countries and six cities in Iran. This year we increased the number by 25 percent, to reach eight cities in Iran with 19 European countries" he added.

"Our Iranian counterpart is Art and Experience Cinema Institute, which has identified suitable cinema partners in each of the participating Iranian cities, where the European Film Week will take place," the Austrian official said.

"While the Iranian partner is in charge of the organization and the venues for the event, each participating European country has covered all the costs for the movie, including the film license rights, translation and editing," he added.

Explaining the goals of the event, Mr. Rieger said that "the ambition for this year was to select masterpieces from each of our countries from the last few years. We tried to identify suitable award-winning films that would fit well either from an artistic or a content point of view. The European Film Week is meant to show the great European diversity and enhance our understanding of each other."

"For the first time, we also presented a two-minute-video, co-produced by EUNIC and the Austrian Foreign Ministry, about EUNIC activities worldwide. The EUNIC trailer is meant to provide a better understanding of EUNIC activities not only in Iran but also in other countries around the world, illustrating how we promote dialogue and cultural exchanges" the President said.

Being asked about the EUNIC activities in Iran, the official went on to say that "our projects aim to promote cultural exchange and intercultural dialogue between Europe and Iran. We also take into consideration, that culture has positive socio-economic effects, both job creation and value creation are important elements. Iran, having such a rich culture, is a country with enormous potential, so we try to promote these exchanges through capacity building and holding workshops. The idea is not to have a one-way road, since Iran has a lot of fascination for European intellectuals and artists. So, whenever people come here or get invited, they also learn a lot. They get a lot of inspiration. They then also promote a more balanced picture of Iran, based on their experiences, when back in their cultural circles. Our cultural work as EUNIC Iran also tries to promote cultural and creative industries, arts, science, education, tourism and cultural heritage. All these areas are considered as part of culture and all of them have great potential in Iran."

"Since 2017, EUNIC Iran is running a program named ‘Artists in Residence’. In this program, European artists, from participating countries, are invited to Iran to spend one month here. They live here and work on some artistic project, getting inspired by Iran’s wonderful heritage and artists. Each participating country also receives an Iranian artist for a one-month residency, thereby allowing both European and Iranian artists to profit from this unique experience," he said.

"The second big project we are focusing on now is Cultural Heritage Management. The program is going to start this year and is going to go for the next five years,' he added.

"Iran has such rich cultural heritage, so we want to provide workshops and expertise. By networking with European experts, we want to support Iran’s drive to modernize its cultural heritage management and present our experiences regarding marketing, tourism and all the elements involved in cultural heritage," Mr. Rieger concluded.

Interview By: Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh

News Code 146301

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