Saturday, January 27, 2007

Soon, my very first experience as a member of the jury at an international film festival.

25th fajr
Originally uploaded by yasmin the storyteller.
Frankly, this came as a shock. I've been invited to judge at the 25th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran, Iran.

I mean IRAN, for heaven's sake!

I've been a great admirer of their films ever since I saw Jafar Panahi's "The White Balloon" about eleven years ago.

Of course, since then, I've met Parviz Shahbazi, whose original story "The White Balloon" was based on. I met him at the 21st Torino International Film Festival in 2003, where his film "Nafas-e Ameegh" was competing with my first film "Rabun". (As you can see in the photograph below, he's quite delicious.)

parviz and i, torino fest 2003

Starting from the Camera d'Or winning "The White Balloon", I have happily immersed myself into the intoxicating works of Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen and Sameera Makhmalbaf, Jafar Panahi, Behman Ghobadi, Majid Majidi, and Darius Mehrjui.

But to be invited to judge at their festival! Masyaallah. Truth beknown, I was utterly gobsmacked when I first received the email. I quickly accepted the invitation, just in case they came to some realisation that they had, regrettably, got hold of the wrong Yasmin!

Anyway, I'll be judging in the Competition for Asian Cinema. I'm hoping to bump into Majid Majidi who'll be judging in the International Section, and Agnieska Holland who'll be in the panel for the Competition for Spiritual Films. I just hope I won't come across like some gasping teenage groupie in the presence of these great filmmakers.

Wish me luck, my friends. I should be heading for Tehran on the 3rd of February. Apparently, judging sessions will start at 4pm and end at 11pm. Strange timing, if you ask me, but hey, that just means I'll get to see Tehran in the daytime, insyaallah.

I'm told the judging of my session should end on the night of the 8th, and that they've arranged for me to fly to Berlin on the 9th, in time for "Mukhsin" screening there on the 10th, 11th, and 13th, insyaallah.

Iran. Sigh...