28th Annual Festival of Films from Iran

February 3 - March 1

The 28th Annual Festival of Films from Iran presents Chicago premieres of eight new films by directors working within and outside of Iran. The festival incorporates two week-long runs: the elegant and contemplative 24 FRAMES, the final work by Abbas Kiarostami, completed posthumously; and the daring adult-themed animation TEHRAN TABOO by Germany-based Ali Soozandeh.

The role of women in a society that juggles aspirations of forward-looking modernity with ancient religious-based laws and strict cultural dictates with regard to the family continues to be of vital interest to Iranian filmmakers. The equality-minded heroine of AZAR is up against a misogynist vengeance that threatens her marriage. A thuggish low-level bureaucrat applies his wife’s money to his own schemes in BLOCKAGE. The teenage protagonist of AVA, in search of innocent first romance, makes the devastating realization that hypocrisy permeates every aspect of her home and school life. The naïve young lovers of DISAPPEARANCE blunder into a trap set by the law. A bereaved daughter defies her father’s associates to discover the secret of his death in the noirish thriller NEGAR.

The festival closes with the premiere of Chicago-based filmmaker Hossein Khandan’s drama WAITING FOR KIAROSTAMI. The fictional story grew out of the circumstances surrounding a project that Kiarostami had planned to shoot in China, and serves as an affectionate tribute.

Barbara Scharres, Director of Programming


The Gene Siskel Film Center thanks the many individuals, companies, and agencies in Iran and in the U.S. whose invaluable efforts, good will, and support have made this year’s festival possible. Special thanks to: Mohammad Atebbai, Iranian Independents; Amir Esfandiari, Kamyar Mohsenin, and Mahsa Fariba, Farabi Cinema Foundation; Nick Newman, Grasshopper Films; Emily Woodburne, Janus Films; Graham Swindoll, Kino Lorber Films; and New Europe Film Sales.

The "Festival of Films from Iran" would not be possible without the vital interest and generous support of many friends including: Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, Artistic Consultant; Amir Normandi, Community Affairs Consultant; Simin Hemmati-Rasmussen, Cultural Affairs Consultant; and Narimon Safavi, Pasfarda Arts & Cultural Exchange.