Originally focusing on Iranian cinema, the Fajr Film Festival became international in 1995. In 2015, it was divided into two separate film events: a national film festival held in February on the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution (typically from February 1–11) and the international film festival that takes place in April. Both festivals host a film competition. The main award of the Fajr Film Festival is the Crystal Simorgh named after a benevolent, mythical bird from Iranian legends which is somewhat similar to phoenix.
The festival’s international competition (World Panorama) is open to films focusing on one of the following topics: justice, peace, Islamic awakening, non-violence, anti-radicalism, ethical and religious values, human and moral virtues, cultural diversity, etc. FIFF also hosts an Asian film competition (Eastern Panorama) open for films made in Asian countries and dedicated to Muslim or Asian culture and civilization. There’s also a National Competition for Iranian films and a Spiritual Cinema Competition.
Each competition has a number of categories including Best Film, Best Director, Best Script, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. The winner in each category is presented a Crystal Simorgh. Besides, there’s a Special Jury Prize and several special awards including Golden Banner Award, Inter-Faith Award, Abbas Kiarostami Award, Audience Award, and more.
The main sections of the Fajr International Film Festival include International Competition, Panorama of Films from Asian and Islamic Countries, and Festival of Festival. The program also features several parallel sections such as Docs in Focus, Classic Restored Films, and Special Screenings. There also are special events including workshops, seminars, Student Lab, and Talent Campus from Iranian, regional and international young filmmakers.
Photo: Amin Khosroshani