On October 1st, 2012 in Moscow from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM several prominent Russian film critics have picked the opening night of The Week of Iranian Film in Moscow.
The Week of Iranian Film will be held in “Art Cinema Theater” ( “Khudozhestvenny”) from October 1th through October 5th, the event is co-sponsored by Russian and Iranian Ministries of Culture. Five films will be shown. The guest of honor is the infamous director Parviz Sheikh Tadi, whose film The Saturday Hunter, notorious for its anti-semitism, outraged even the members of Iranian Parliament.
Meanwhile, there is real, world-renown cinema in Iran, even as the filmmakers are being oppressed, persecuted and forced into the exile.
From the classic of Iranian cinema, Abbas Kiarostami, whose films are prohibited from Iranian screens, to the actress and independent filmmaker Marzieh Vafamehr, who was was sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in prison. And finally, Jafar Panahi, one of the most influential filmmakers in Iran, recognized and honored by the international cinematic community with several prestigious awards, was sentenced to six years in prison and a twenty-year ban on making films, writing screenplays, talking to press and visiting abroad. Another independent filmmaker, Mohammad Rasoulof, was jailed along with Panahi, though with a shorter sentence – “only” one year.
The international film community continues to express its support for the Iranian filmmakers, and its outrage at the lack of creative freedom in the country. As do we, Russian film-critics, journalists and simply movie-going audience.
We will protest on the opening day of the Week of Iranian Film and the Days of Iranian Culture in Moscow, to show our support for the oppressed filmmakers, against the culture of the government sponsored censorship in Iran and worldwide, including Russia, where the pressure has been steadily increasing. As been well reported, Panahi is on the shortlist of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Award along with Pussy Riot.
On October 1st at 6:30 p.m., MT, at Art Cinema Theater,or Khudozhestvenny, we will picket the opening of the Festival and the arrival of the Iranian Minister of Culture, Seyed Mohammad Hosseini. We will be marching as individuals with banners demanding freedom to Jafar Panahi.
Our goal is to attract the attention of the world to the plight of this prominent filmmaker who, despite the recognition and respect of his audience and peers became a victim of state-sponsored political repressions. Organizers of the international film festival 2morrow will support our protest by screening In Film Nist, directed by Jafar Panahi, while he was waiting for an appellate court to make its decision. Last year the film won the Critics Prize at the festival.
Please, consider publishing this press-release as a gesture of support of not only the Iranian filmmakers, but the freedom of creative expression worldwide. The world has to know and remember the fates of those artists who became victims of totalitarian regimes.