Iran Standoff Hits Canada Film Festival

A03588534.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- The “Spotlight on Iran” sidebar at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, which opens Thursday, is in jeopardy because of problems arranging travel documents for Iranian filmmakers.

Organizers of the 11-day festival said Wednesday that Canadian officials have been of little help in arranging visas for six Iranian filmmakers, along with their documentaries, due in Toronto for an April 24 panel dubbed “Iran to You.”

“We were in Tehran in October and met with the Canadian consulate, and they let us know it would be difficult to get filmmakers to the festival. It’s proven quite difficult,” Hot Docs director of programming Sean Farnel said.

Iranian filmmakers due in Toronto include Mahnaz Afzali with the “The Red Card,” a film about an Iranian soccer hero whose life becomes tabloid fodder when his secret mistress murders his wife; Massoud Bakhshi and “Tehran Has No More Pomegranates,” a homage to Iran’s capital; and Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami’s “Cyanosis,” a stylistic portrait of a lovesick Iranian street artist that involves animated sequences.

In all, 170 films from 36 countries will screen at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival. It kicks off Thursday with the US film “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” Sacha Gervasi’s portrait of an aging Canadian metal band.

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