15-year-old Ali saved two elderly women from a burning house in his hometown of Izeh, Khuzestan Province, in September. His heroic act cost him his life.
Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Isfahan International Conferences Center, the president of the festival, Alireza Tabesh, said, “The Iranian artist community feels responsible for the future of all innocent children of the country and this year’s festival opens in memory of the teenage hero, Ali Landi.”
The audience wearing Ali Landi masks stood in tribute to the national hero.
Tabesh pointed to the beginning of a new century on the Iranian calendar and said, “We begins this century with a pandemic and mourning; the corona crisis is the first collective memory of a generation, which is the target audience of the films selected to be screened at this festival.”
“Although the pandemic’s grief is really awful, at least, it gives us a guarantee that the younger generation has learned to deal with harsh conditions as well as about the value of cooperation and teamwork in major crises,” he added.
He noted, “I am certain the future that will be created by this generation during this century will be more brilliant and exciting than what exists now.”
Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaeili also sent a message to the festival, which was read during the opening ceremony.
In the message, he pointed to the motto of the festival “Cinema, Land of Dreams” and said, “The motto refers to cinema’s task of maintaining the spirit of imagination and creating a happy world for children so that they can think about tomorrow in a peaceful and friendly world by the magic of cinema.”
Mohammad Khazaei, the new director of the Cinema Organization of Iran, also sent a message to the festival, expressing his thanks to those filmmakers who, by means of their cheerful films, have kept the Iranian people hopeful about the future, despite the severe international sanctions facing the country.
Nine movies have been selected to be screened in the official competition of the festival, which will run until October 13.
Turkish director Ferit Karahan’s drama “Brother’s Keeper” is a highlight of the official lineup.
“Sumi” by Amol Vasant Gole from India, “My Grandpa Is an Alien” by Marina Andree Skop and Drazen Zarkovic from Croatia, and “Martin and the Magical Forest” by Czech filmmaker Dana Klempirova are also among the films competing in the festival.