Off camera: Iranian director calls for more exposure for indie films
Updated 14:48, 16-Apr-2019
By Shen Li
Iranian director Majid Majidi, whose movie "Children of Heaven" became the first Iranian film nominated for an Academy Award in 1999, is one of seven jury members at the 9th Beijing International Film Festival. 
CGTN caught up with him to get some insights into China's fast-growing movie scene and the success of Iranian films on a global scale.
Asked how he felt about being a member of the jury, Majidi noted: "It's very different from the job of a director. Your opinions about the films may differ from the other jury members, but you have to make decisions together. However, the experience will definitely help my directing in the long run." 
"My criteria is whether the film's story, the cinematography touches me," he added.
Majidi expressed some reservations about the young film festival however and said there was a lot of room for improvement. 
"Many of the films of the festival have already been screened or even won awards elsewhere. I hope to see more original films being presented at this event. To introduce more indie films to the market," he said.
Posters for director Majid Majidi's works. / Photo

Posters for director Majid Majidi's works. / Photo

Since Majidi's "Children of Heaven" was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards, Iranian films have gradually gained a strong presence on the international scene. In 2012, Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation" finally won the Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film.
"One of the most important features of Iranian films is that they typically focus on human nature, as well as fundamental and universal human emotions, these resonate with audiences all over the world," said Majidi. 
"That's what I did in my film 'Children of Heaven,' highlighting that innocence and kindness within all of us. Especially in the midst of the chaos in the world, people want to see films about some of the goodness in human nature," he said.
Majidi also expressed his hopes for China's movie scene.
"China's movie market is growing rapidly. Changes are happening every day. There are so many opportunities, especially for young filmmakers," he said.  
Majidi brought his latest film, "Beyond the Clouds," to this year's event to share it with Chinese audiences. "And I'm thinking about working with Chinese filmmakers, creating more films that have children as their central theme," he added.
(Top image made by Li Jingjie)