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“Private” Takes Center Stage at the 11th Edition of the ÍRÁN:CI International Film Festival

Sara Mokhavat’s acclaimed film, “Private,” had the spotlight at the 11th edition of the ÍRÁN:CI International Film Festival, captivating audiences during its screening in two prominent Czech cities, Prague and Brno. The festival unfolded from the 17th to the 25th of January, showcasing a diverse array of Iranian cinema. “Private” left its mark, contributing to the festival’s cultural tapestry with its compelling narrative and cinematic artistry, affirming its status as an appreciated and noteworthy film. The event, held in two significant locations, underscores the global appeal of Sara Mokhavat’s work and the international recognition garnered by “Private” within the realm of the ÍRÁN:CI International Film Festival.

With 10 accomplished editions since 2012, ÍRÁN:CI Film Festival has become an indelible part of the cultural calendar in Prague and Brno, and has turned into one of the well-awaited interactive showcases for art and culture lovers across these cities every January. The festival is focused on the best works of Iranian cinema as well as the neighboring countries and regions. Every year, the festival program expands in form and content to widen the grasp of different arts for the audiences. This includes music performances, exhibitions, theatre performance, industry programs and many educational workshops that have been organized within the structure of the festival with established artists such as Rakhsahn Bani-Etemad, Leila Hatami, Sidiq Barmak, Helena Třeštíková, Mohammadali Talebi and Mani Haghighi.

A total audience of over 40,000 have visited the festival, watching over 250 films over the 10 editions. With an international team from Czech Republic, Iran, Slovakia, Canada, France, Lithuania and Afghanistan, the festival is, both in program and in structure, a true multicultural platform dedicated to arthouse cinema.

 After The Chicago International Film Festival 2021Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) 2022The Vaughan International Film Festival 2022, and Symbiotic Film Festival in Kyiv, Ukraine, Children Care International Film Festival in Paris, France, the winner of the Director Without Borders award at Discover Film Festival 2023 will experience another exited screening at  and the ÍRÁN:CI International Film Festival. Private, one of the most important short films by Iranian filmmaker Sara Mokhavat tries to challenge social problems and women’s restrictions in Iran. Sara Mokhavat describes the project by saying: People are getting bored with their ordinary lives and trying to escape from that, but not us! We are searching for it, idealizing it, trying to picture it, and reaching out to it. Having a private life, the right to choose what to wear, what to believe, what to eat, and so on are essential parts of regular life for everybody. The long ongoing critical situation in my homeland, Iran, has been the first motivation for my artistic works. The short film is not an exception. My country has been disabled for a long time over huge gaps between different generations. 

Between sanctimonious people who rule the country and young non-religious individuals. There is no balance. Falling is our eternal current situation. So “normal” is a keyword for us, a desire that we can always only dream it. In every work I have done so far, the track of this concept is traceable. But in this short film, my point of view is a little different. This time I have tried so hard to be impartial. I interviewed more than 80 students, teachers, and school principals, to be impartial in this subject. After that, I shared the plot with a few sociologists and psychologists. And, then I wrote the first edition of the screenplay. In the shaping characters process, I worked with sociologists and psychologists constantly. I needed to mirror the story realistically, not only in the screenplay but also in all cinematic aspects. I tried to stay loyal to realism. It was a big challenge because I consistently think metaphorically, and my works are predominantly surreal. This film is the resumption of my eternal search for finding a path to reach out to “Normal”. It is not just for myself. It is for my people. Every artist can become their people’s voice and that is my intention. I put much effort into Private to get it close to that goal. It is a unique experience for me.

SYNOPSYS:

In a girl-high school, in downtown Tehran, at the blank spot on the school’s CCTV, something horrible had happened, something very unusual. The staffs are so angry, devastated, and shocked. The school principal decides to take action to control the situation and calm the air. She summons three students who she believes are involved with the issue. The girls are desperately trying to prove their innocence. But the staff doesn’t accept their claims. In these critical circumstances, when their confused and angry parents arrive, another situation comes up… 

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