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October 6, 2008
East is not Simple!

Safar Haqdododov

Marziyeh Riahi-SFN- Tajikistan cinema is a young cinema. Many of its cinema halls are from Soviets era; but during the past years young Tajiks are trying to revive their cinema. Establishing Didar Film Festival in 2005 with the support of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the Iranian filmmaker, and also as a jury member of it, might be one of the most important events during the past years in this cinema.
The third edition of Didar Festival is going to take place from 12th till 16th October in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Safar Haqdododov, the festival director, is going to tell us about the different programs of the festival in this interview.

How many competition sections does the third edition of Didar Film Festival have?
There are two sections: International & National Competitions in which fiction short films and features are going to be evaluated.
In the International Competition there are films from Central Asia, Caucasus, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. 12 short films and 12 features are going to be selected for this section. One short film and one feature from each country are going to be selected.
In the National Competition Tajik films are going to be evaluated. Of course, we may screen some European films in the International Competition as well.

What are your standards for selecting the films?
We will select the European films which has Eastern theme. In fact, East is the main focus in this festival. It is the same for the other films. The motto of our festival is “East is not an easy task. East is not simple. East is not easy.” We will select the films in which the eastern civilization is discussed. We will not screen the films in which east are abased. We will screen the films that show the reality of East.

Do you have any special screen in addition to the competition sections?
Yes, in the last edition of the festival we showed a film collection of Documentary & Experimental Film Center (DEFC). Also DEFC established the Joint Heritage Award and a Tajik filmmaker won that prize. This year, also, this award would be dedicated to the best film among the Persian speaking countries.
Also, we are going to show a collection of DEFC products in a 6-hour special program.
And there would be a special program of Afghanistan Cinema in which 10-12 selected films, with the cooperation of our Afghan friends such as Sedigh Barmak, are going to be screened. Basically we intend to have a special attention to Iran and Afghanistan cinema in our festival due to our common culture and language.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the chief of the jury in Didar Festival in 2006. How was that cooperation?
He helped us very much. He is one of the founders of Didar Festival and it was a great honor for us to have cooperation with him.

How much you know about Iran cinema? What Iranian films have you watched?
I know about Iran cinema of the recent years through Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
I can not tell you the exact names of the films but I have watched some films by Bahram Beizai, Abbas Kiarostami, etc.

Do you have any other program together with holding the festival?
We are going to give a DVD collection of the best documentaries of Central Asia of 70 and 80 decades that are selected by Gulnara Abikeyeva, the Kazak cinema expert and the art director of Eurasia Festival together with a book wrote by her on Central Asia documentary to the guests of the festival.
Also one day prior to the closing day of the festival we are going to have a round table with the presence of filmmakers, journalists and festival guests.

Why Didar Festival did not took place last year?
We like the Persian speaking countries to be the main elements of this festival. Therefore we decided to hold the festival in Afghanistan last year. We thought it was a great opportunity to attract the attentions to Afghanistan but due to several reasons, most important of which is insecurity of the region, we could not do that.

And, aren't you going to hold Didar Festival in any other country than Tajikistan in the next years?
No, we forgot the idea completely.

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