On Sunday, May 9, Director of the 38th Fajr International Film Festival Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour held a virtual meeting with the press and media to detail this year’s online-only version. He was accompanied by the festival’s Media and Communications Manager Somayeh Alipour.

He added that the coronavirus pandemic has caused special conditions, making great changes in the way film festivals are held, as some were canceled and some others were held online, IRNA wrote. 

This major film festival was scheduled to be held in April 2020, however, amid growing concerns over the coronavirus during March 2020, the organizers postponed it to a later time in June, which was also canceled, Asgarpour said.

Referring to Cannes’ use of the Cinando platform to hold festivals, he added that FIff entered a partnership with the platform after it solved some security issues.

A total number of 60 packages and 400 user capacities have been reserved in the Cinando platform to hold some parts of the festival, in which only selected people can participate, he explained.

Asgarpour also said that workshops would be held online, as some trainers wouldn’t have the opportunity to travel to Iran due to the pandemic.

According to Asgarpour, FIFF is still a festival for first-time directors: First-time directors will get the chance to compete for top awards and even take part in the online Film Market. Iran is known as the paradise of first-time filmmakers in the world. FIFF is also one of the top-rated festivals by the FIAPF. However, there are no programs this year to pay tributes to the industry veterans.

He addressed critics claiming that organizing a film festival under conditions in which the country has been hit by both economic hardship and the coronavirus spread seems to be of no sense, saying that festivals are a part of the film industry ecosystem; the whole system would be hurt if festivals were totally abandoned.

At the end of the press gathering, the organizers unveiled the official poster for the 38th Fajr International Film Festival, setting the early tone for the event as the Iranian capital is getting ready to welcome the annual festival on May 26-June 2. The posters were designed by graphic designer Hamidreza Bidaghi.