Ran by the Indo Cine Appreciation Foundation (ICAF), the Chennai International Independent Film Festival (CIIFF) in India aims to open our eyes across the world to Independent Film makers, encouraging the filmic expression of varied cultures. But it is a tall order it seems. None of you have heard of that festival, even the big, bad internet with all its information at our fingertips struggles to accommodate the initiative in depth. Awarding short film prizes early in the year, the festival is due in December, while the awards of Tamilnadu (held November 9-11 in Chennai, India) have awarded three Iranian films with a few of its best prizes.
Iranian filmmaker Hassan Barzideh was honored with Best Director, while Best Actress went to Mahtab Keramati – both for Mazar Sharif. It documents the invasion by the Taliban of Iran’s consulate in the city for which the movie is named. The film opened the 22nd Victoria International Film Festival back in February, and will vie for further big prizes.
The second film is Ranna’s Silence, a story about 7 year-old girl named Ranna, and her hen named Kakoli. The extraordinary Kakoli is attacked and killed by a jackal, and Ranna’s brother and friend attempt to cheer her up – they go looking for Kakoli’s eggs (Ranna drew a chicken on the shells) which were sold at the market. A quest ensues. A directorial debut by Behzad Rafiei, young Saba Mahdavi won the Award for Best Child Artist.
The third film (and by no means least) is Soyuq: Coldness, which won the Screenwriting prize for Bahman Ark, Bahram Ark, and Ali Moslemi. The film is about an anxious 8 year-old boy, who still wets his bed, living in dire poverty with his family, he is forced to hide himself within his mother’s chador when not in school.
Sadly, none of these films have an established cinematic release date outside of Iran.