The 5th Tehran International Animation Festival (English website) kicked off yesterday in Iran and continues through March 1. It’s a festival that I doubt many Brew readers will be attending anytime soon. Still I think it’s worth pointing out for a couple reasons. The first reason being that their website offers a good sense of the animation being produced in Iran today. Just check out the national competition page to see stills from a wide variety of contemporary Iranian shorts and commercial projects. The international competition offers more standard festival fare like Run Wrake’s Rabbit, Gaelle Denis’s City Paradise, Andreas Hykade’s The Runt, and Georges Schwizgebel’s Jeu, as well as features like Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Christiane Cegavske’s Blood Tea and Red String.
The most interesting feature on their website is that the festival is producing two hours of live video programming every day of the event and the programs are in English. If you miss the live broadcasts, the programs are also archived here. I watched a portion of the Day 2 (Morning) program and there’s a roundtable discussion with an Iranian animation director and a book author. The majority of their talk is focused around, what else, but Flash animation and its impact on the industry. Also cool to see was an interview with an independent Iranian filmmaker about his CG short in competition, A la Mode (the interview is about three-quarters into the program). From the constant barrage of skewed, inflammatory media coverage of Iran in the Western media, one would never even know that artistic activities like animation happen in Iran, much less that the country has a thriving and fast developing animation industry. This website provides a rare look into their industry and shows that no matter what part of the world you live in, sooner or later you’re going to be using Flash and Maya.