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Iran forges international links

Relationships with neighbors strengthened

BERLIN — Iranian films might be absent from the Berlinale fest selection, but that’s not stopping execs forging closer ties with international film partners.

Iranian film org Farabi Cinema Foundation has a booth in the market and has already inked deals with buyers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Brunei for a package of 30 features.

Turkey also is becoming an increasingly significant territory for Iranian films.

“We’re getting a lot of requests from there. We’re trying to establish good relations with our neighboring countries,” said Amir Esfandiari, head of Fajr Fest’s international market.

While Iran’s relationships with its neightbors, notably Iraq, is cause for concern among Western diplomats, film ties between the countries are growing.

“We were the first country to start a co-production with Iraq,” Esfandiari said.

With Iranian films absent from Berlin, some of the country’s most respected helmers are now looking toward Cannes.

“Persian Carpet,” an omnibus with a veritable who’s who lineup of Iranian directors, and Abbas Kiarostami’s “Where’s My Romeo?” are already being tipped by Iranian execs for possible bows on the Croisette.

“We’re in no hurry to sell ‘Persian Carpet.’ We think it’s going to be a big film,” said Farabi’s Mohammad Esfandiari.

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