Director, writer, producer, and actor Ali Ghavitan’s ‘White Bridge’ is one of the films screened in the International Competition section of the 22nd International Film Festival of Kerala. The independent filmmaker from Iran, who portrays the issues and crises of his country through his films, talks to Anand S.
Congratulations on making it to the International Competition in the 22nd IFFK. How has been the experience in India?
Happy to be here. ‘Pol-e-sefid’ (‘White Bridge’) has been accepted by the global community, and has received many accolades – including a couple of awards in Greece. I am delighted that people like my movie. This is not my first time in India; I have been here to the fests in Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Goa. And, I should indeed say that it has been great here.
Kudos to all the achievements! How is the Indian culture, specifically film culture, different from that of Iran?
To be really honest, there are a lot of parallels between the two cultures. There is no major difference between them. But regarding cinema, observing the films made in this country, I feel that Indian filmmakers focus more on entertainment. But, we in Iran, choose to focus more on the culture and the problems in the society. Our people have problems, and we bring out, the troubles they face, through our cinema.
How good is cinema, according to you, as a medium of bringing about positive changes in the society?
It is a very powerful tool. It can influence the people, all around the world. In Iran, we portray reality in cinema. ‘White Bridge’ sheds light on the issues of the educational systems in our society. And I hope one day, the government and the officials see and understand the woes and problems of the people, and change the educational policies.
What are the challenges faced by young filmmakers in Iran?
There are a lot of hurdles and challenges in filmmaking. One of the major issues is that of the budget. One needs a budget for spending and making a film. Filmmakers, especially the young and inexperienced, will find it tough to find the funds. They stand the societal problems. The films these days as I said earlier, is focusing on entertainment, and though the money is spent on them, seldom does a talented young filmmaker get the opportunity. And, nobody cares.
If you can give one message, to the world, to the film fraternity and the people all over, what would be it?
I would like to say that the society should focus more on the youth and the challenges that they face. Because, the world belongs to them. They build the future, they are the future.