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A Short History of Tehran International Animation FestivalDespite the four decades of animation production in Iran and the three-decade experience of KANOON (Institute for the intellectual Development of children & Young Adults) in Producing animations, screening the animated films in the country was limited to lateral sections of Iranian film festivals (along documentaries and fiction films) until the last year of twentieth century. This was while in spite of the disregard and neglecting, brilliant animations were produced, most of which could have gain diverse success in international fields.

The opening of the first Tehran International Animation Festival in February of 2000 was an end to this neglecting and a starting point for a new period in screening of national & foreign animations in Iran.

From the 896 works received by the bureau of the festival, 488 works were selected among which there were works of artists from 33 countries around the world. In the four-day festival, beside the national & international competition section, several other section were held, such as “Special Screenings dedicated to Feodor Khitrouk & Esfandiar Ahmadieh”, ” Hungarian Animation: Pannonia Film Studio”, “ASIFA Korea”, “Reviews of Bruno Bozzetto’s & Ali Akbar Sadeqi’s Works”. The Jury of international competition (Nikola Majdak from Yugoslavia, Alexanderovich Alimov from Russia, Detelina Kreck from Germany, Jiri Kubicek from Czech, and Ali-Akbar Sadeqi from Iran) & national competition (Ali-Akbar Sadeqi, Akbar Alami, Esfandiar Ahmadieh, Nafiseh Riahi, Saeed Tavakolin, Ebrahim Foruzesh & Abolfazl Razani) selected the bests of the first edition of the festival.

Two years later, in the beginning of the third millennium, Iranian animation was no more desperate and isolated. Although the festival was arranged for the professionals of the field, it was welcomed by a huge audience and the animations of 36 countries attended the third edition of festival, showed an improved in quality. “Dreams of The Snowland: Productions of National Film Board of Canada”, “A light in the fog: Ardman Studio Productions”, “Nureddin Zarin Kelk and Nafiseh Riahi Retrospectives”, “Selected Works: Two decades with Oscar”, “Festival of festivals” and “Dialogue among civilizations” were among the special sections of the festival. Bretislav Pojar (Czech), Sayoko Kinoshita (Japan), Nelson Shine (Korea), Tiziana Loschi (France) & Hamid Navim (Iran) were the members of international competition Jury while Abdollah Alimorad, Saeed Tavakolian, Ali-Akbar Sadeqi, Ebrahim Foruzesh, Akbar Alami, Abolfazl Razani & Nahid Shamsdoust were responsible as member of the national competition jury. Meanwhile, an animation workshop was held alongside the festival under supervision of Erling Erickson.

The Number of countries participating in the third edition of TIAF was increased to 52, which shows that the festival could have reached a great status not only in Iran but also in the world. 175 works were screened in the 3rd edition of festival and the members of international competition jury included: Marcell Jankovics (Hungary), Natalia Orlova (Russia), Abi Feijo (Portugal), Katariina Liliqvsit (Finland) and Saeed Tavakolian (Iran). Ali-Akbar Sadeqi, Akbar Alami, Seyed Ali-Reza Golpaygani, Amir-Mohammad Dehestani and Farkhondeh Torabi were the members of national competition jury. The non-competitive sections of festival were also more diverse, including “Festival of Festivals”, “Filmografo”, “Folimag & AFCA”, “Student’s Animations”, “Vahidollah Fard-Moqaddam Retrospective” and “TV Animations: Saba Cultural Art Co.”

The 4th TIAF was held with the presence of 472 animations from 61 countries. Ebrahim Foruzesh, Vahidollah Fard-Moqaddam, Abdollah Alimorad, Saeed Tavakolian, and Fahimeh Sorkhabi selected the best works of national competition and Gilian Lacy (England), Morad Kertobi (France), Marjot Rimminen (Finland), Jerzy Kucia (Poland), and Akbar Alami (Iran) were responsible as members of the 4th festival jury. “Ishu Patel, A Bridge between East & West”, “Imaginary Portraits: works of Gerrit van Dijk & Karen Aqua”, “A Selection of Loose Moose Co.”, “Supinfocom School”, “Nexus Film Ltd.” & “The works of Plympton , Kucia & Marjut Rimminen” were some of the non-competitive sections of the 4th edition of the festival.

The Fifth Tehran International  Animation Festival (TIAF) was held with the presence of 1162 animations from 61 countries. Among these works, 103 Iranian animations were selected in the national competition and 142 films were accepted in the international section where 24 of them were from Iran. Among the participating countries, There were 8 feature films  where  6 of them were accepted from Iran, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, Poland and the United States. This way, For the first time, feature film formed in Tehran Animation Festival.

A five- member of selection committee were:  Afsaneh Shabannejad, Lisa Jamileh Barjesteh, Siavash Zarrin Abadi, Babak Nazari and Farshid Shafiei.

Hamid Navim, Parvin Tajvid, Amir Mohammad Dehestant, Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpoor  and Naser Golmohammadi were National jury members. International jury members were :Nancy Marie (Britain), Borivoj Dovnikovic “Bordo” (Croatia), Otto Alder(Switzerland), Olivier Catherin (France) and Abdollah Alimorad (Iran).

In addition to the national, international and feature film competition sections, other sections such as Non-competitive sections were also held in which more than 150 films were screened:

Bahram Rouhani ”A Retrospective”, Poland “ The Land of Visual Ideas”, Festival of Festivals, Cina “Indefatigable and Progressive”, Four Decades of effort  “Abdollah Alimorad” , Animation for Children and young Adults, Animation Teaching” IRAN; IRIB  Faculty,  Animation Teaching” UK; AIB,  Bodo”The Childhood Dream”,  A Century of Animation  “The Sprit of Genius”, Four Edition of Tehran Anima Fest and SE-MA-FOR  “The magic Pencil”.

Four professional sessions  were held alongside the festival under supervision of Mohammadreza Jafari Jelveh, Zin Jang (Head of  Chinese Festival), Mohammadreza Delpak and Saeed Tavakolian.

Also two veterans in animated films (Bahram Rohani and Vajiholah Fard Moghadam) organized work shop for activists in Iranian animation.

One important event that took place in this festival was the one hour live television program for some 10 days, detailing the daily events for the interested audience.

The 6th Tehran International Animation Festival, “TIAF, was a ceremony of light , color and motion and the opportunity to watch a collection of beautiful works of animations from Iran and around the world. This festival was held for 5 days in 7 theaters (205 show times) at Kanoon (Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults), Kanoon Theater, IRIB Faculty and Museum of Contemporary Art. 1400 short films and feature films were received from 61 countries. 30 of films had won over  700 international awards. The selection committee was constituted by Abdollah Alimorad (Director,Animator and Scripwriter) , Asadollah A’laayi (Producer and Ex-Director of Kids Department of IRIB, Channel2), Moeen Samadi(Director, Animator and Scriptwriter) and Zohal Razavi(Director,Animator and Scriptwriter).They judged 564 national and 824 international animations.  Among the works , these movies could be pointed: “Lavatory Lovestory” (Directed by Konstantin Bronzit, Russia, 2006, 18 world awards), “Skhizin” (Directed by Jeremy Clapin, France, 2008, 30 world awards), “Madame Tutli-Putli” (Directed by Chris Lavis, Canada, 2008, , animator, Academy Award, best short animation and 39 world awards ),  “Maestro” (Directed by Geza M.Toth, Hungary, 2005, Academy Award, Nominated best short animation  and 44 world awards),  “The Aroma of Tea” (Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit,world-known filmmaker, Netherlands, 2006, Academy Award, best short animated  film  and world awards).

80 animations were selected in national competition . In the International competition176 films were accepted where 36 of them were from Iran.

Abolfazl Razani, Aham Arabani, Vajihollah Fard Moghaddam, Nazanin Sobhan Sarbandi and Mohammad Ali Safoura were National jury members. International jury members were : Paul Driessen (Canada), Sabrina Brigit Wanie (German), Regina Pessoa (Portugal), Daniel Suljic (Zagreb), Akbar Alemi (Iran).

Among 1388 participating  countries, there were 14 feature films from Iran, Japan, Czech Republic and Lithuanian Republic that were screened in 17 theaters.

In addition to three competitions for national  , international and feature films, there were others that were among the non-competitive group of films that were shown during this edition of festival. The purpose of these activities were first to initiate a dynamic environment so that exchange of experience and ideas were possible and to create a suitable context for the evaluating the real position of Iranian animation among other participating countries. Titles were as: Panorama with subsection as: Science, Industry and Animation,  Second look,  New Independence”Nukufilm, Estonia” , Best of Bests, Animation Education,  Panorama of Italian and Hungarian Animation, Enthusiasm for Being and Eshragh.   Special Screening with subsection as: Passionately Poetic Pictures “Norman  McLaren” ,The Glamour Before Beginning  “Bob Kurtz  and Others” , Festival of Festivals, Dialog among Music and Animation, Alternative Sight”Maureen Fuurniss”, Invisibles of Animation and Taste of Chocolate”Swiss Film”.

Two workshops and five specialized sessions were held with the emphasis on the aspects of Training as well as non-competitive information sharing to assess the level of the Training and Productions in different Centers, in order to enable the comparison with the Training Centers of Iran. The title of these sessions were  Computer Games as the The 8th Art by Majid Ghaderi, Visual effect by Amir Reza Mo’tamedi, The Theory of Perspective Break in Animation by Seyyed Abbas Pooya and presentation from the book ( Feature Animation Writing “The Writer’s Road Map”  by Vajihollah Fard Moghaddam , translated by Shagahyegh Gahndehari), Music and Animation by Fardin Khal’atbari and The Executive Approach in Special Effects of Iranian Cinema by Behzad Rajabipour “

During the edition of this festival, two workshops were held, one named “The First Serious Step” by Behzad Frahat for Kanoon teachers, and the other was conducted by Joan Gretz (“ animator, winner of the best short animation academy award, 1993” , where she taught her own invented technique to students  in M.A. “Master of Art”degree of Tarbiat Modarres University” .

Launching of the first Tehran animation _nation market (for about 5 days) was to create a suitable atmosphere  for activists who are interested in various branches of art of animation both in Iran as well as in the world,

44 companies both Iranian and foreign, active in the field of animation, have presented their achievements and this has surely enhanced their joint cooperation.

Grounding the previous four successful edition of the festival, we are to commence the 7th edition, with the hope to accelerate the improvement of quality and status of Iranian animation.

But Stepping forward in difficult ways is not always hard; hence it is a must for us to go on the way, with much more effort to be able to screen animations beyond previous borders.

Increasing number of screening form 205 to 262,holding the festival in 3 provinces at the same time with Tehran’s festival, screening more than 300 selected animations from International festivals -near 100 of them were International award winners- with the best Iranian animation that were produced in the last 2 years, are of worthy criteria of the festival. 

Having international animation masters like Co hodeman, Tyron Montgomery, Christopher Lavis, FirdozeBulbuliaand Iranianartists like:VajihollahFardMoghadam and Hamid Geroganin theInternational and National Jury committees, gave us the strength to feel the warmth of festival days.

Screening more than 150 films in special screening sections with the aim of preparing a dynamic area for exchanging artists’ experiences and thoughts beside showing selected animations of different international festivals and a review section of a style or school,was a reason that in this package FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS, 50 YEARS WITH KAR AND ANDISHE, GOBELIN; SCHOOL OF YOUNG TALENTS, DELIBRETING THE PAST and PEACE AND ANIMATION were included.

Alongside these sections, we screened animations by Puppet Masters: Hodeman and Purves, in Panorama section, with the aim of focusing on their educational and informational aspects in a non competitive way, among different works from variouscountries.

Geza M. Toth, Juan Pablo Zaramella and FarshidShafiey as the New Generation in animation world and a showcase of SICAF and KIAFA as a symbol of Eastern Animation and Animator Couples (Halas and Batchelor), were of other highlighted sections of this year’s edition.

Many Attendees took part in Professional Meetings. “Aesthetic of Computer 3D Animation” by Amir Mohammad Dehestani, “The Role of Animation in Visual Effect” by Amir Sahar-khiz, “Appropriate Technique to Make Feature Animation in Iran” by BahramAzimi, “Discussion around weak and strong points in producing Music for Iranian Animated film In Iran” by KeyvanHonarmand, were the 3 of our 4 professional meetings. The last meeting was “Development of Animation market and new usages” that was held by Seyed Abbas Pooya.

The quantity of screenings and professional meetings was not a barrier for us to neglect education in the 7th edition. The enthusiasm of Kanoon teachers for learning animation was a reason of dedicating workshops to them. The tutor of this workshop was Medikhorramian. We were also the host of 25 trainees from Lebanon, Turkey and Afghanistan in this workshop.