‘I’m a cinephile... arthouse, martial arts, porn, horror. Everything’

Video: Rouzbeh Rashidi runs a society in Dublin to promote experimental films

Rouzbeh Rashidi founded the Experimental Film Society in Iran in 2000. It has been based in Ireland since 2004. The society plans a belated 20th-anniversary retrospective at Project Arts Centre, in Dublin, in May. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

“I wanted to create a project that never ends as long as I live,” says Rouzbeh Rashidi, the founder of the Experimental Film Society. “First and foremost I’m a cinephile. I believe in watching films. Not only experimental films or arthouse films but any kind. From martial arts to porn, to exploitation, to horror, to science fiction, everything.”

Rashidi set up the society in Tehran, in Iran, in 2000; based in Dublin since 2004, it now has 60 no- or low-budget feature-length films and about 500 short films in its catalogue.

“It’s like a big family,” he says, “helping each other to make films. If one person is making a film, all of the family is putting energy into making that project, and once that project is ended we go to the next one.”

Scenes from some of them – including a couple on their wedding day, a flying bathtub and a mesmerising shot of a man eating a flower – feature in Enda O’Dowd’s video for The Irish Times.

After its original plans were affected by Covid-19 restrictions, the society plans to belatedly celebrate its 20th anniversary with a retrospective of its work in May, at Project Arts Centre, in Dublin.

Still from ‘Phantom Islands’ (2018), directed by Rouzbeh Rashidi
From Phantom Islands (2018), directed by Rouzbeh Rashidi
A still from a film produced by the Experimental Film Society called Luminous Void: Docudrama. Photograph: Experimental Film Society
From Luminous Void: Docudrama, produced by the Experimental Film Society