The Nature and Process of Film Production
The Iranian cinematic production would not have survived the impact of the revolution and the Iran-Iraq war had it not been for the active involvement of the post-revolutionary regime with the film industry. In 1982, the government set forth a new policy regarding national film production and established a number of state-run institutions for film production and experimental cinema, including the Farabi Cinema Foundation. It also instituted a subsidy program to encourage both public and private producers. Apart from wholly state-run film producing institutions, controlled directly by the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, there are also a number of quasi-autonomous, semi-governmental centers that must be considered among the main producers of the Iranian films. The actual production of nearly 60 private film production companies rarely exceeds one film per year.
The government's involvement in the process of film production is pervasive. The producer must obtain the approval of the appropriate authorities in the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance at all stages of production, a process which may last up to two years. The process of government control and approval begins with the initial inception of the story line and ends with the selection of time and location for the release and screening of the final approved version of the film. Government subsidies, which is now mostly in the form of long-term, low-interest loans, and its virtual monopoly over technical equipment and raw material, has further strengthened the government's hand in post-revolutionary cinematic production in Iran.