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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


Iran jails Jafar Panahi and one other prominent opposition filmmaker

Iran has sentenced two prominent filmmakers to six years in jail each on vague charges of working against the ruling system, their lawyers said Monday. One of the two, the renowned filmmaker Jafar Panahi, has won awards at the Chicago, Cannes and Berlin film festivals. His films have been screened at various film festivals in India.

He was invited as chief guest at the recently concluded 41st international film fest in Goa (IFFI) but was not allowed to leave the country.

Iran has  banned him from shooting films or scriptwriting for 20 years and also barred from leaving the country for the same period, his lawyer Farideh Qeirat said.


The Berlin International Film Festival sharply condemns the harsh sentences handed down to the renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi and his directing colleague Mohammed Rasulof. Accused of spreading "propaganda against the system", Panahi has been sentenced to six years in prison and banned from practicing his profession for 20 years. Rasulof has also received a six-year prison sentence.

In his films, Jafar Panahi provides a critical perspective on the social situation in his homeland and he is a supporter of the opposition movement against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The conviction of both artists is an infringement of the freedom of opinion and the freedom of art. The unrestricted right of assembly and freedom of speech and opinion are not only a part of international human rights conventions, which Iran has signed, but also part of the Iranian Constitution.


The Berlin International Film Festival invited the renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi to participate in the International Jury of the 61st Berlin International Film Festival.

Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick: “We are very concerned and filled with indignation over the conviction of Jafar Panahi. It is shocking that a renowned director is punished so severely for his artistic work. Jafar Panahi can be sure he has our full support.”

The message of the conviction of Iranian film makers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rassoulof has been received with great concern and outrage by the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Both have been connected to the Rotterdam Film Festival for many years in various capacities: as film maker, producer and jury member. According to recent announcements, Panahi and Rassoulof have been sentenced to six years of imprisonment for, among other things, ‘propaganda against the Islamic Republic'. Furthermore they are not allowed, for twenty years, to make films, write scripts or speak to media representatives.
The IFFR calls on the Iranian authorities to revise the sentence and pleads for the release of Panahi and Rassoulof as well as for cancellation of the ban on making films. It is unacceptable that the work of an important, humane and committed film maker like Panahi is subject to oppression.
The IFFR hopes that protests will sound worldwide and calls on every cinephile to condemn this outrageous conviction.


Thessaloniki Film Festival Director Dimitri Eipides, a staunch supporter and promoter of contemporary Iranian cinema since its earliest days, who has hosted on several occasions Panahi and his films in the Festival, states: "The conviction of Jafar Panahi and Mohammed Rasulof, as well as the ban on filmmaking, is an intolerable infringement of human rights, as well as artistic freedom. We will do anything in our power to see that this unjust sentence is reversed".

Read Jafar Panahi speech in court, at this trial!: (french version)

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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