(Persia Digest) – The Fajr International Film Festival is putting behind its 36th edition with only one woman director in the feature length category and one in the short film category present here. This could be an indication of a lack of space in which women directors can work.
“Jadeh Ghadim” [Old Road] by woman director Manijeh Hekmat was screened at the 36th Fajr International Film Festival feature category. Her last film was “Women’s prison” produced a decade ago; although, she has carried on working as a producer and advisor during this time. This was her debut at the Festival, but it seems she has regrets. The short film “Marlon” produced by Dornaz Hajiha was also screened at the Festival.
In the 35th edition of the Festival last year, five women producers were present in the feature category. Puran Derakhshandeh, Roghieh Tavakoli, Aida Panahi, Monireh Gheidi, and Negar Azarbajian also won awards in the competition category.
Farahnaz Sharifi and Sahar Mosayebi were in the documentary category of the 35th edition. Going back, the 34th edition saw the screening of films by two women producers in the Competition category, namely Tina Pakravan and Narguess Abyar. The limited number of women at the Fajr Festival can be traced back to all its previous editions with a little scrutiny. But this year, the only woman in the feature competition was Manijeh Hekmat who has always criticized working conditions for women in the cinema.
This limited number at a Festival like Fajr can be an indication of a number of issues. But, the only thing that can be said with certitude is that the Iranian cinema is a masculine one. Perhaps it is for this reason and the rough working space in filmmaking that women stay away. This, together with difficulties in finding sponsors, and the commercial outlook of the business has increasingly kept women on the sidelines throughout these years.