Although several Iranian films have drawn international acclaim in recent years, ticket sales in the country continue to be weak. Apparently concerned that its upcoming Fajr Film Festival, which opens on Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 10, will draw sparse audiences, organizers Iran Cinema Organization announced on Wednesday that they plan to sell tickets at half price to bring about reconciliation between the Iranian people and cinema. In reporting the price cut, the English language Tehran Times observed today (Thursday) that official organizations have been trying to take measures to encourage people to watch national productions in theaters. (Fewer than a half dozen Hollywood films are screened in Iran each year and those are likely to be heavily censored.) The greatest problem is that movie piracy is a thriving business in Iran, with hundreds of bootlegged DVDs of U.S.-made films available on the streets and hundreds of others available via online pirate sites. As the Times acknowledged, People prefer to watch the latest Iranian film productions and foreign original language films downloaded from the Internet.
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