News ID: 204084
Published: 0340 GMT November 10, 2017

Oji says his debut feature coming out in March, eying int’l screens

Oji says his debut feature coming out in March, eying int’l screens

By Farzam Vanaki

Iranian actor, producer and director, Ali Oji, said he intends to produce his debut feature film, which is to be a comic-fantasy movie, by mid-March 2018 and screen it internationally.

Oji began his career as an artist in 1996. In addition to acting, directing and producing films, he has also managed and directed cinematic ceremonies and organized music concerts. Oji is an active figure in executive affairs pertaining to producing music albums. He is the producer of a number of music albums and tracks by a number Iranian singers and actors including Reza Yazdani, Houman Javid, Amir-Hossein Samiee, Mani Rahnama, Mehran Modiri (actor), Hamed Behdad (actor), Milad Derakhshani and Borzou Arjmand (actor). He has produced over 70 music albums by Iranian singers.

Oji has acted in a number of the episodes of a popular Iranian comic TV show titled 'Khandevaneh' directed by Rambod Javan. He recently acted in a best seller feature directed by Peyman Qassem-Khani titled 'The Good, the Bad and the Corny'.

As the director of six short films, he has recently prepared the ground for the production of his debut feature film for which he seems really excited and motivated and full of ambition.

Commenting on this film, he told Iran Daily that due to its story with which any individual with any given nationality can identify with and its comic-fantasy genre and atmosphere, the flick will be capable of attracting foreign audience.

Excerpts of his interview follow:

IRAN DAILY: Would you please talk about your debut feature film?

ALI OJI: I plan to direct my first feature in the year to mid-March 2018, for which I have also written the script. We are currently going through the preproduction stages of the film including selecting the cast. The ground has been prepared for starting the production of the movie, the shooting of which will begin in two months. At present, I am engaged in a project to produce the third series of a well-known Iranian telecast by famous Iranian director and comedian, Mehran Modiri, called 'Dorehami' which will be broadcast from late November. My new feature, which will be produced in the subgenre of comedy-fantasy, has the same atmosphere. Due to being present and active in the Iranian cinema for a long time, I noticed the absence of such a movie in this genre and I felt the need to produce one.


Will the final product look like Tim Burton's, an American film director, producer, artist, writer, and animator who is known for his dark, gothic, eccentric, and quirky fantasy films, works?

Yes, as far as its genre is concerned, it can be. The story of the movie unfolds in a world of mere fantasy.


What motivated you to make this film?

Basically, the screenplays I have written are a combination of real events that have occurred to me in my own life and my fantasies. One of my life's real happenings plays a very important role in the script I have written for this movie. A few years ago, something very weird happened to me based on which I wrote this screenplay. The real event is the main subject of my flick and I have expanded it during the past years.


Will visual effects be employed in the making of the film?

Yes, to a large extent. At least 45 minutes of the movie will feature advanced visual effects. Some of the film's sequences will feature settings and scenes unprecedented in the history of Iranian cinema. To me, a person who can claim to have watched all the flicks produced so far the history of Iranian cinema, this film will be a special occurrence.


Who will be the producer of the movie?

It is a little bit too early to speak about the producer of this film. Talks have been held to assign the role to Abdollah Eskandari, a famous Iranian make-up artist. However, we are a team, and the selection of this film's producer depends on the collective decision to be made by all the members of this team. Thus, at present, I cannot say for sure who will be the producer.


Will this movie be screened internationally?

Definitely. This is what I have in mind. However, I do not have any plans to pit the film in the competition section of international film festivals. I believe that a successful movie is the one that possesses the ability to attract its own audience and manages to clearly convey its message. However, due to its story with which any individual of any given nationality can connect and its comic-fantasy genre and atmosphere, the film will be quite capable of attracting foreign audience. It has a story which is based on an individual's stream of consciousness.

I have done my best to make a film everybody can understand and connect with.

The idea behind the film and its script has been born from my 18-year experience in the field of cinema. I wrote the very first draft of the script of the flick when I was only 18 years old. However, I let it develop and attain more maturity.


Would you please tell us about the TV series in which you played the role of an actor?

I have played, for the first time in my acting career and unlike my previous comic roles, a negative role in an interactive TV series titled 'Pixel' codirected by Hossein Latifi and Mahmoud Moazzami produced by Hamed Anqa and acted in comic TV series including 'I Was Joking', 'On the Sidelines' and 'Sneeze' directed and produced by Modiri and 'Pezhman' directed and produced by Soroush Sehhat and Mohsen Chegini respectively. 'Armando' directed by Ehsan Abdipour and 'Cloudy Years' by directed by Mehdi Karampour are some of the other TV series in which I have played.


Are you involved in any other fields of art?

I have also been involved in numerous activities in the field of music. I am about to release albums of tracks by Reza Yazdani, an Iranian singer, pop-rock musician, composer and actor, and Mani Rahnama, Iranian pop singer, in a few days as producer.


Would you please elaborate on the form of cooperation you have with Modiri in the production of ‘Dor-e Hami’?

I assist him as his project adviser.


Would you please expound on your role as the director of 'Hafez Celebration', the first annual private cinematic ceremony in Iran since the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution in which top figures of Iran cinema and national TV are presented and honored?

The previous 16 editions of 'Hafez Celebration' were organized by well-known and leading Iranian film producer and editor-in-chief of 'Picture World Magazine' Ali Moallem. However, as he passed away in March, he was not there to organize this year's event. I have been the director of the celebration for the past seven years. As you said it is the sole private cinematic ceremony of Iran's cinema, television and music. We will do our best to continue holding the event even in the absence of Moallem. This year, we held the 17th edition of the ceremony.

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