On Monday, July 11th the renowned and multi award-winning director Jafar Panahi was also incarcerated. Panahi was arrested when he sought to inquire with the prosecutor‘s office about the directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, who were arrested on Friday, July 8th. We brought you that news on MIME over the weekend. A critic of the Iranian government, Jafar Panahi has been the victim of repression for many years and most recently has been under house arrest, while also unable to travel abroad to present his films.
Panahi's films have been shown at the Berlinale many times, and in 2015, his film Taxi was awarded the Golden Bear. The director presented numerous works at Cannes, including Three Faces, which was selected in Competition in 2018 and awarded the Prize for Best Screenplay, as well as Crimson Gold, which won the Jury Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2003.
Rasoulof and Al-Ahmad were arrested and imprisoned at an unknown location for protesting against violence against civilians in Iran. Mohammad Rasoulof had already been deprived of his freedom of movement and work since 2017, following the screening of his film A Man of Integrity, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes. Rasoulof's films Manuscripts Don't Burn, which won the Fipresci Prize in 2013 and Goodbye, which won the Best Director Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2011, had also been screened in Cannes. He had subsequently won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival in 2020 with There is No Evil.
Both Rasoulof and Al-Ahmad are being held in Evin prison and we believe that Rasoulof is currently in solitary confinement.
Both Berlinale and the Festival de Cannes issues statement calling for the immediate release of all three, Panahi, Rasoulof and Al-Ahmad. We stand with the festivals in their protest against this injustice. Artists should never be made the scapegoats for political leaders and their failed policies.
Photo by © Ali Ghandtschi courtesy of Berlinale, used with permission