International Conference on Hollywoodism
The International Conference on Hollywoodism, sometimes known as the Conference on Hollywoodism and Cinema, is a conference held on several occasions in the early 2010s and organized by the government of Iran. By its own description, it "host[s] filmmakers, scholars and activists from around the world to discuss different aspects of world cinema as they relate to human ideals on one hand and the realities of Hollywood on the other." In particular, the conference served to criticize the United States film industry's portrayals of Islam and Iran. It took place in Tehran in February each year, coincident to and within the framework of the Fajr International Film Festival.
Attendees to the conferences have included Iranian analysts as well as foreign commentators of various sorts. For example, Monica Witt attended in 2012 and 2013 editions of the conference. The conference put out a call for papers and has promised monetary prizes to the top articles selected. Guests have been given copies of up to twenty films to watch as part of their attendance. Organizers have sometimes funded the travel expenses of those coming from abroad.
2011 and 2012 conferences
The inaugural conference was a two-day seminar held in 2011. It covered topics such as "Terrorism and Hollywood" and "Hollywood and Satanism".
The 2012 conference brought 48 international guests, who engaged in discussion on "Hollywood and Holocaust", "Palestine on the Line of Fire", and "Darwinism and Liberalism". President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened the conference, honoring actor and attendee Sean Stone, a recent Muslim convert and the son of the filmmaker Oliver Stone. Other attendees included Webster Tarpley, an American conspiracy theorist. The Tehran Times reported that several speakers touched upon a purported "influence of the Zionist regime on Hollywood."
The 2013 edition of the conference included some 130 foreigners brought to Tehran by the government for four days of sessions with 1,000 expected attendees. Hamed Ghashghavi was the Secretary on International Affairs of the conference. He contacted and invited figures such as Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, Kenneth O'Keefe, Muhammad al-Asi; Imam Abdul Alim Musa, Merlin Miller, Holocaust deniers Mark Weber. Jim Fetzer and Kevin Barrett, Paul-Éric Blanrue, 9/11 conspiracy theorists Roberto Quaglia, Art Olivier and Thierry Meyssan, F. William Engdahl, William Rodriguez, and Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, the wife of Carlos the Jackal.
The conference has been held at the Parsian Azadi Hotel. It was opened by Javad Shamaqdari, Iran Cinema Organization Director and deputy cultural minister for cinema affairs,. Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini was also present.
Conference discussion paid special attention to the effects upon American public opinion of the 2012 U.S. film Argo, a narratively fictionalised rendition of aspects of the 1979–1981 Iran hostage crisis that had been nominated for several Academy Awards. Also screened and discussed were the 2010 film Unthinkable and the 2011 film Jerusalem Countdown, among others. While many attendees held the notion that U.S. films served to promote a secret agenda they called "Hollywoodism", they often differed in their approaches.
Among the 2013 attendees was former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel, who had previously been a frequent interviewee of Iran's state-sponsored PressTV. Gravel said that the U.S. film industry had brainwashed the American public regarding what to think of Iran. He also said the conference featured "various elements of extremes", some of whose attitudes against Israel and Zionism were "off the charts". Another attendee was Iranian political strategist Hassan Abbasi, who is known for Zionist conspiracy theories involving the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry and who said of watching American films, "The images you see pollute your sexual fantasies." E. Michael Jones, editor of an American conservative Christian magazine, said he was impressed by how the host country had desexualised their culture: "There was a reason Iranians burned their cinemas during the revolution." Abdul Alim Musa, said Islamic peoples were being subjected to a "cultural invasion" by Western film.
- Erdbrink, Thomas (18 February 2013). "Stung by 'Argo,' Iran Backs Conference Denouncing 'Hollywoodism'". The New York Times.
- "3rd Hollywoodism Conference: Bridging the Gap between Human Ideals". The 3rd Hollywoodism International Conference. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Mostaghim, Ramin (5 February 2013). "Tehran film conference denounces 'cultural assault' of Hollywood". Los Angeles Times.
- Keating, Joshua (13 February 2013). "Mike Gravel on movies, sanctions, and what we can learn from Iran". Foreign Policy.
- Liu, Jessie K. (8 February 2019). "United States of America v. Monica Elfriede Witt" (PDF). E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse: United States District Court for the District of Columbia. pp. 1–27. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
- "The third international conference on Hollywoodism will be held in Tehran, on the sidelines of Fajr Film Festival". Fajr International Film Festival. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Fajr intl. filmfest to present conference on Hollywoodism". PressTV. 5 January 2013.
- "Ahmadinejad honors Hollywoodism and Cinema guests". Tehran Times. 3 February 2012.
- "Debunking Conspiracy Theories In 'Voodoo Histories'". All Things Considered. NPR. 30 January 2010.
- "Iranian official says Hollywood has enslaved the ethics of humanity". Tehran Times. 3 February 2013.
- Child, Ben (28 February 2013). "Jafar Panahi's Closed Curtain collaborators grounded in Iran". The Guardian.