The 11th annual Írán:ci Film Festival kicks off in Prague cinemas Kino Světozor and Bio Oko from today through Sunday, January 21, before transitioning to Brno at Kino Art from January 23 to 25. This year’s fest will feature 12 feature films and seven shorts and documentaries, and is an extra-special edition: it will be the very last Írán:ci Film Festival under its current name and form.
“This year’s edition will be the last one solely dedicated to Iranian cinema,” Írán:ci co-founder and artistic director Kaveh Daneshmand revealed through a press release.
“In 2025, we will expand to include films from additional countries. This transition has already begun this year with the inclusion of films from regions such as Tibet, Afghanistan, Armenia, Palestine/Israel, France/Czech Republic. In 2025, Írán:ci will undergo a name change and broaden its scope to cover a larger region.”
The 2024 edition of the Írán:ci Film Festival comes under the theme of “Do Not Look Away” (Neodvracej zrak), and aims to direct attention towards the people affected by political and social injustices in both Iran and beyond. It serves as a call to viewers not to turn away but to actively engage, seek understanding, and empathize with these challenging human experiences.
Special guests at this year’s Írán:ci Film Festival will include Iranian filmmaker and activist Sepideh Farsi, who lives and works in exile in Paris. Farsi will lead a lecture touching on the themes of filmmaking under censorship and in exile at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts from 4:00 p.m. on January 18 before introducing her latest film, the animated drama The Siren, at Kino Světozor from 8:00 p.m.
Iranian journalist and film critic Houshang Golmakani will also take part in this year’s Írán:ci Film Festival, where he introduce his latest film, Gazelle. Other guests will include Iranian filmmaker Ali Zarnegar, who will present his directorial debut Cause of Death: Unknown, and the stars of that film, Banipal Shoomoon and Alireza Sani Far.
Among the films screening at this year’s Írán:ci Film Festival will be director Abbas Amini‘s excellent Endless Borders, a Czech co-production that The Prague Reporter caught at last year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
“Provocative and engaging, Endless Borders works on multiple levels with a compelling storyline and incisive social commentary, and earmarks director Amini as a filmmaker to watch in independent Iranian cinema,” we wrote in our review of the film.
Also screening at the Írán:ci Film Festival this year will be Shayda (pictured at top), a drama from director Noora Niasari about an Iranian mother and daughter in an Australian women’s shelter that was Australia’s official submission to the 2024 Academy Awards.
For more information on the festival schedule and program, visit the official Írán:ci festival website.