A review on ”The Corona and me; Visual Narrative” Festival
The beginning of the festival
“The Corona and Me; A visual Narrative” Festival idea was formed at Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association in August 10, 2020. This festival was the first of its kind in IRDFA’s history, whose main audience was filmmakers outside the association.
The secretary of this festival was Pirooz Kalantari, a prominent filmmaker and a member of the Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association.
Personal narratives about life status during the pandemic
Upon Corona pandemic arrival and resulting fundamental changes in the shape of human living, Festival organizers decided to collect personal narratives of their audiences about living condition during Corona Pandemic. Thus, a call around three topics was announced: ”City”, ”Home” and ”Relationships”.
Up to seven minutes videos which participants should send their captured material in a horizontal frame by cell phones or simple cameras. There was no limit for number of submitted works. There was also no limit for age of the contestants. Festival’s submission deadline was from August the 11th to the end of February 2021.
Milad Khaleghi Manesh, IRDFA’s chairman of board and Festival director, about holding ”The Corona said: ”This is popular festival and we’re not just dealing with professional filmmakers.” He also explained: ” Interesting thing about this festival is that ordinary people have more attractive view about the subject. People’s social narratives about Corona virus outbreak is our concern which has been followed thoroughly by them. ”Rightel Mobile Operator”, as the Festival main sponsor, along with ”Tehran Municipality” and ”Hozeh Honari” other sponsors of festival, assisted to organize this event. ”Hashour Documentary Network” and ”Kiarostami Fondation”, also collaborated in its formation.
Simultaneous movie screening along with decision on nominated works by selecting board
102 movies were gradually sent to the Festival secretariat from the time of publish’s call until the last moments of February 20, 2020
Simultaneously with the submission of these works, Pirooz Kalantari and Milad Khaleghimanesh, members of the selection committee evaluated the movies, thus 51 films were published on the festival website, so that the public could vote for their nominated films.
The selected movies included a considerable variety from around the world. From New York and Amsterdam to Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and small villages of the country.
Each film had a week for public voting and after that movies were just screening.
Presenting nominated movies, selected by jury
The Festival jury have begun their job right after the selection board chose and showed the nominated movies to public. It was consisted of five person who were invited to cooperate according to cinematic and social nature of festival.
Dr. Nahal Nafisi (Anthropologist), Dr. Mohammad Reza Kolahi (Sociologist), Maryam Sepehri (documentary filmmaker), Mani Petgar (documentary filmmaker), Habibeh Jafaryian (Scripter) were the members of jury who presented their voted movies after watching them all and having several meetings in person and online about them.
Festival nominated movies prizes
Jury’s selected works were introduced in two sections of Festival’s ten selected movies which finally led to selecting top three of them with no priority. Iran Documentary Filmmakers Association’s members also introduced their nominated movie among the selected works.
Festival prizes are as follows:
100 million Rls. Cash prize, A Rightel SIM card and 500 Gig Rightel internet to all filmmakers who their movies are among the jury’s three main nominated films, nominated movie voted by public and IRDFA’s members selected film. Based on the Festival organizers decision, it was also decided that jury’s top ten selected movies will be edited as one feature film and will be shown through online platforms.
Closing ceremony of ”The Corona and Me; A visual narrative” festival
The closing ceremony, first edition of ”The Corona and Me; A visual narrative” festival was finally held in presence of the winners and a number of the jurors in the Soureh hall of the Hozeh Honari Center on March 6, 2021, from 4 to 6 pm.
Milad Khaleghi Manesh said at the beginning of the ceremony: Many directors of the Documentary Filmmakers Association were excited by what we had received, and the way people looked around in Corona era. Especially since these films were made exclusively for this festival. That is, people did not make films in advance that they wanted to send in different ways. It was clear that they started making films upon our call and send them afterward.
Then Pirooz Kalantari explained about the purpose of holding this event and the progress ahead of this project and added: this project does not end with awarding prizes and will continue. We will watch the films in other spaces and we’ll write and talk about them.
Selected movies by Festival’s Judges were introduced in continuation of this ceremony.
The ten selected movies by the jury, which were supposed to be shown in a form of one feature film without priority, also were introduced.
These films were “Childhood” by Maryam Ahmadpour, “18th birthday” by Hiva Zakeri, “A Grip on Life” by Morteza Baigi, “Holola” by Zahra Moradi, “Amir Ali” by Fereshteh Amini, “My Bright Nights” by Bahar Ahmadi, “The New Species” by Shadi Mokhtari, “Shoshdar” by Seyyed Vahid Hosseini, “B in B” by Amir Hossein Atardi, “Quarantine Consequences” by Sepehr Mohammadi.
“18 birthday” by Hiva Zakeri, “Amir Ali” by Fereshteh Amini, “Holola” by Zahra Moradi, were the three best movies which won Festival main prize.
During this ceremony, a special award of IRDFA’s members, also was jointly given to movies “36th Birthday” by Pantea Mirfasihi and “Household” by Siavash Naqshbandi.
The Audience Choice Award was allocated to two films, “Heart, Quarantine, Movement” by Meqdad Noorollahi and “Gray Situation” by Ahmad Moradi.
The first screening of the top ten films in the form of one feature movie
Milad Khaleghi Manesh announced at the ceremony: The first screening of the 10 selected films will be at “TMAGE of the Year” celebration on Thursday, March the 12th. We are also in the process of consulting to present the long feature film in other festivals and online screening.
In the end, as a happy ending, a commemorative group photo, consisting of festival organizers, executive team, present judges at the ceremony and the festival winners was taken.