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You are in: Home > 2012. 60th Edition  > Festival Diary > A producer in search of hidden gems
Festival Diary » JURY
A producer in search of hidden gems
Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Katayoon Shahabi is one of the people most responsible for the current international
boom in Iranian cinema. She is the founder of Sheherazad Media International,
the company that has produced some of the most prestigious work to come out of Iran, including A separa - tion, that won the Oscar for best foreign film.
As chairwoman of the New Directors Jury she hopes to find that hidden gem that will launch a new filmmaker’s career. She feels that the New Directors section is the most important one at the Festi - val as it discovers new talent and new ideas which are the essence of any Festival that takes itself seriously.

As for the current situation regarding Iranian cinema, she says that she’s amazed that they are still shooting good films there despite all the problems they face. She thinks that they are currently making fewer films but the ones that are being made are of better quality. She also points out that some directors who have decided to work abroad (because of political pressure or because they have chosen to leave the country) are still doing interesting things. The industry faces a lot of financial problems as the public funding that independent projects especially used to enjoy is now being withdrawn.As for the success of A separation at the Oscars, she thinks it gave Iranian cinema an openly popular dimension.

Many Iranian films had already been successful at the most important film festivals but most cinema-goers have the idea that these events are merely a showcase for the most elitist kind of films whereas an Oscar ensures you that your film will be screened all over the world.


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