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U.Va. Will Sponsor Conference On Women And Iranian Cinema March 30 — April 1

March 9, 2001-- The University of Virginia will sponsor a three-day conference, "Women and Iranian Cinema," featuring major figures in Iranian contemporary art, filmmaking, film criticism and scholarship Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1.

"Iran has the world's most adventurous national cinema today, and this conference will explore one important aspect of this creativity — the complex representations of and by Iranian women that challenge stereotypes of their roles," said Richard Herskowitz, artistic director of U.Va.’s Virginia Film Festival and one of the conference organizers.

Conference participants include the acclaimed media installation artist Shirin Neshat, who will premiere a new film with original music by Philip Glass. Other participants include film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of "Movie Wars: How Hollywood and the Media Conspire to Limit What Films We Can See," and film scholar Hamid Naficy of Rice University.

"This conference is a way of fostering a dialogue among cultures," said Farzaneh Milani, co-organizer of the event and director of Persian Studies and interim director of the Studies in Women and Gender programs at U.Va. "It will be fashioned like an intensive course on the role and representation of women in Iranian cinema."

Conference topics include "Women in Iranian Cinema," "Crossing Artistic Borders: Film, Architecture and Poetry," "Iranian Women Directors," and "Shirin Neshat and Expanded Media." Sessions will be held in Campbell Hall.

The Saturday morning session will feature Forugh Farrokhzad’s 1962 short film, "The House is Black," the first film by an Iranian woman. For years, no one in America had access to this work until the New York Film Festival screened it in 1998.

"This film is one of the masterpieces of 20th-century cinema," said Herskowitz. "It is a fusion of cinema and poetry that sears its words and images on those lucky enough to see it."

A highlight of the conference will be screenings of six short and two feature films at Vinegar Hill Theatre, including a rare theater screening on March 31 of Shirin Neshat’s dual-screen trilogy: "Turbulent," "Fervor," and "Rapture." "Passage," commissioned by composer Philip Glass, also will be presented. Neshat’s "Turbulent" won the Golden Lion at the 1999 Venice Biennale, and she is one of the most esteemed visual artists working today.

Two feature films, which begin their U.S. theatrical releases in April, will also be shown at Vinegar Hill Theatre as part of the conference: Marzieh Meshkini’s "The Day I Became A Woman" and Jafar Panahi’s "The Circle." "The Day I Became A Woman," fresh from its premiere a week earlier at the New Directors/New Films festival in New York City, will be shown at 9:15 p.m. on March 30 and at 7 p.m. on April 1 and 2. "The Circle," winner of the top prize at the 2000 Venice Film Festival, will be shown April 2 at 2 p.m. and April 3-5 at 7 p.m.

The conference is sponsored by U.Va.’s Persian Program, the Studies in Women and Gender programs and the Virginia Film Festival. Co-sponsors include the Middle Eastern Studies Program, South Asia Center, Special Lecture Series, the Bayly Art Museum, the Persian Cultural Society, the Program for the Humanities and Medicine, and Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures.

The conference is free and open to the public. There is a charge for the films shown at Vinegar Hill Theatre at 220 Market Street.

Information will be available on the Web at www.vafilm.com. A complete conference schedule is attached.

Contact: Jane Ford, (804) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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