"The only criteria was personal reaction to the film"
Marziyeh Riahi (SFN)- Uberto Pasolini, Italian director and producer was one of the seven members of the jury who judged fifteen short films in the International competition of 35th Fajr International Film Festival. Pasolini has BAFTA and Venice award among a long list of other awards he has so far won. As he was very busy with the festival during his stay in Tehran, we had to do the interview on short films of the festival by e-mail.
As a member of the jury, you had to judge fifteen short films in the Fajr Film Festival. How did you find the quality of the short films in the competition?
I thought on the whole the quality was high, and the selection successfully heterogeneous.
Among these fifteen films, there were three films produced by the Iranians. How did you find these three Iranian movies? What were the differences or resemblance between Iranian and foreign productions in this selection?
They Iranian films were different in style/film grammar/subject and storytelling approach, and could not be seen as uniform group to compare/contrast with the non-Iranian ones.
The jury of this section have chosen “Online Shopping” as the best short film. At what point these seven members of the jury agreed on this choice? How long did it took the jury to arrive at a consensus and make the final decision?
The discussions were substantial, as should be the case whenever one is obliged to choose between what are non-comparable works. But a short list of favourites was fairly quickly arrived at, that included both live-action and animated shorts.
Except “Online Shopping”, were there any other short films shortlisted by members of the jury?
Yes, see above. But not for me to say which one; after all, the deliberations of the jury are supposed to be secret (we were only asked to choose one film for the award).
What were the jury’s criteria for choosing the best short film? What aspects or parts of the movie attracted your attention the most?
The only criteria was personal reaction to the film; which ones did we like most, which ones spoke to us.
Did the Fajr Film Festival provided any advice or suggestions to the jury prior to deliberation? Or the jury made the choices completely independently?
The choice was completely independent, no advice or suggestions were made by the FIFF.
And yourself, how did you find this movie? Could you elaborate more on your perception of and view of on “Online Shopping”?
I was very taken by what appeared to me the truthfulness of the situation, the work of the actors, the building of awkwardness and tension in real time; the whole piece was firmly controlled and at the same time felt completely natural, the special and human observation very real and relatable, even for someone with a different cultural background.
Despite your brief stay in Iran during the Fajr Film Festival, how did you find the whole event? How would you evaluate the position of the Iranian cinema in the festival?
I enjoyed the festival a great deal, and thought it well organized and very welcoming. I cannot speak of the place of Iranian cinema at the festival, as I only saw the Iranian films in the international competition.