European institutions call for the freedom of Mohammad Rasoulof, facing incerceration in Iran
- Cineuropa adheres to the call issued by several film bodies including the EFA, Deutsche Filmakademie, Accademia del cinema italiano, Cannes Film Festival and IFFR, among others
The European Film Academy (EFA), the Deutsche Filmakademie, the Accademia del cinema italiano-Premi David di Donatello, the Cannes Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), the IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Filmfest Hamburg, the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and the Netherlands Film Fund have issued a statement expressing their deepest concern about the imminent incarceration of Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof.
Rasoulof, having already won awards at Cannes, just won the Golden Bear at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival for his latest work There Is No Evil [+see also:
film profile] (read news), like his previous films, casts a critical eye on the consequences of life under authoritarian rule. Rasoulof has been summoned by the Special Prosecutor's Office for Offenses Relating to Media and Culture to serve one year in prison. On July 23, 2019 the Iranian Revolutionary Court had sentenced the director to one year in prison and a two-year prohibition against working as a director for alleged propaganda against the government, in addition to imposing a two-year ban on leaving the country and getting involved in any social or political activity.
Mohammad Rasoulof says, "Summoning me to serve my prison sentence only reveals a small fraction of the intolerance and anger that is characteristic of the Iranian regime's response to criticism. Many cultural activists are in prison for criticizing the government. The widespread and uncontrollable spread of the Covid-19 virus in Iranian prisons seriously endangers their lives. These conditions call for an immediate response from the international community."
The signatory institutions urgently call on the Iranian authorities to ensure his safety and health, as well for the charges against him to be retracted and the travel ban against him to be lifted immediately and unconditionally and call on festivals around the world, cinemas and all artists to do the same.
EFA president Wim Wenders declares, "Our colleague Mohammad Rasoulof is an artist who keeps telling us about a reality we would otherwise know little about. His Golden Bear winning film There Is No Evil is a deeply humane portrait of people in extreme situations, situations no human should be forced to experience. We need voices like that of Mohammad Rasoulof, voices defending human rights, freedom and dignity."
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