The Iranian Film Festival announces its 2019 program!

October 15, 2019


The Iranian Film Festival announces its 2019 program!


24 October – 20 November

From gripping psychological dramas to intimate tales of young female friendship, the Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) returns this month to showcase the best of Iranian cinema in 2019, presenting restored classics by world-renowned Iranian auteurs alongside a special focus on debut talents and the inaugural Golden Pomegranate Award for Best First Director. With a dynamic program comprising 12 superb features, the Festival tours nationally from 24 October to 20 November.

The 2019 Festival opens with the Australian premiere of Reza Mirkarimi’s astonishing Castle of Dreams (Winner, Best Feature Film, 2019 Shanghai International Film Festival), a devastating drama about family, separation and keeping one’s promises that gloriously exemplifies the poetic and emotional power for which Iranian cinema is so beloved worldwide.

Further IFFA 2019 highlights include Tehran: City of Love, which arrives direct from the BFI London Film Festival to make its Australian premiere. The latest provocation from on-the-rise director Ali Jaberansari (Falling Leaves, 2013) follows an ex-bodybuilding champ who develops feelings for the young man he’s training; a shy office clerk who invents a new persona for herself; and a singer who turns to weddings in the hope of finding love. Tehran: City of Love is a delicate examination of disenfranchisement, desperation and sexuality.

Direct from dazzling crowds at the Moscow and Shanghai International Film Festivals, My Second Year in College makes its Australian Premiere at IFFA 2019. The latest feature from Rasoul Sadremeli (2002 Locarno Special Jury Prize Winner I’m Taraneh, 15) is an intimate observation of two young women navigating their own way through Iranian society. The two university students and best friends come from different walks of life; when one falls into a coma, her friend must grapple with the fallout, with poignant, amusing and dramatic results.

As part of IFFA’s newly created Golden Pomegranate Award for Best First Feature, the Festival is proud to spotlight scintillating debut features from the thrilling next generation of Iranian directors. The five films in competition include three International Premieres – Hosein Doumari and Pedram Pouramiri’s AliveAli Hashemi’s Zaferanieh, July 5, and Reza Gouran’s Repression (starring IFFA Special Guest Sara Bahrami) – alongside two Australian premieres, Amir Hossein Torabi’s Labyrinth and Reza Jamali’s Old Men Never Die.

In 2019, the Festival is delighted to welcome Special Guest Sara Bahrami, a thrilling new star in Iranian cinema. Bahrami has garnered attention for her winning turns in numerous TV series and films such as I am Diego Maradona (IFFA 2015), A House on 41st Street (2016) and Italy Italy (2017), before her Best Actress win for Axing (2018) at last year Iran’s prestigious Fajr Film Festival and IFFA 2018 cemented her as an irrepressible talent to watch. Bahrami will attend the Festival, presenting the International Premiere of Reza Gouran’s controversial debut feature Repression and participating in post-screening audience Q&As.

Iranian Film Festival Australia Director Armin Miladi said, “A general concern in the past few years among Iranian film industry professionals was the fact that there seemed to be a lack of new female stars taking risks portraying difficult characters. By acting as an addict in Axing, Sara Bahrami proved that she has got what it takes to be a bright star, not only in Iran but also internationally. In Repression she demonstrates a completely different level of performance. She won Best Actress for the same role last year at IFFA 2018 gave us an extra reason for us to invite her to Australia this year.”

As well as looking to the future, the Festival honours the past, presenting a new restoration of Nasser Taghavi’s 1986 classic Captain KhorshidTaking out the Bronze Lion at the Locarno International Film Festival, Nasser Taghavi’s reimagining of Ernest Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not in a port town of the Persian Gulf is widely considered one of Iran’s greatest films.

Further titles include the International Premiere of Ebrahim Ebrahimian’s Zero Floor, the world premiere of Iranian TV auteur Mohammadreza Honarmand’s new feature film Symphony No. 9, which marks his first return to the big screen after his box office smash comedies Honey, I am not winded (2002) and The Wrong Man (1999) and the Australian premiere of Mohsen Tanabandeh’s The Oath right after it’s international premiere at Tokyo Film Festival.

The full program can be found at

In its ninth edition, IFFA continues to grow, touring to all major capital cities across October and November. New venues for 2019 include Cinema Nova in Melbourne, Palace Nova East End in Adelaide, and Event Cinema Manuka in Canberra. The Festival is delighted to return to Luna Cinema, Leederville in Perth, Elizabeth Picture Theatre in Brisbane and Event Cinemas, Top Ryde in Sydney.

Now in its ninth year, Iranian Film Festival Australia is the only nation-wide Australian festival dedicated to Iranian cinema. It aims to showcase a diverse range of the best and most interesting contemporary Iranian cinema – one of the world’s most exhilarating national cinemas – and, through cinema, to introduce and provide a better understanding of Iranian culture to other Australians. Many Iranians consider IFFA to be the key Iranian cultural event in Australia.

Brisbane · 24-30 Oct · Elizabeth Picture Theatre
Sydney · 31 Oct-6 Nov · Event Cinemas Top Ryde
Canberra · 1-3 Nov · Event Cinemas Manuka
Melbourne · 7-13 Nov · Cinema Nova
Adelaide · 14-20 Nov · Palace Nova East End
Perth · 14-20 Nov · Luna Cinemas Leederville