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May 2010, Week 4


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Tue, 25 May 2010 14:04:42 +0000
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Following are two items related to the jailing of master Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi.  The first is from the English languge daily newspaper Hurriyet News and Economic Review in Istanbul.  The second is from Criterion Collection and contains a method by which to sign the petition for his release. 





Tuesday, May 25 2010 16:45 GMT+2
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Iran filmmakers call for Panahi's release

Sunday, May 23, 2010

TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse 

A group of 85 Iranian filmmakers has called for the release of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi, who has been incarcerated since March and reportedly on a hunger strike for seven days, the ILNA news agency reported Saturday.


“The undersigned, a group of independent filmmakers, want the release of Jafar Panahi and quick action on his situation and demands in jail,” said a letter signed by a group of mostly young and upcoming directors.


Panahi went on a hunger strike May 16 in protest against his conditions in jail, demanding to be released until a trial date is set.

His lawyer and family told Agence France-Presse they expected to hear this weekend whether he will be granted bail.

Panahi, who won an award at the 1995 Cannes festival for “The White Balloon” and scooped up the Venice film festival’s top award in 2000 for “The Circle,” has been a vocal backer of Iran’s opposition movement.


He was detained, according to Iran’s culture minister, for making an “anti-regime” film about the unrest that rocked the country last year after the disputed presidential election that kept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.


Panahi had been invited to the Cannes festival in France this week to join the jury that decides the winner of the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, but was prevented from going by his continued detention.


His mentor, Abbas Kiarostami – whose movie “Certified Copy” is a candidate for this year’s Palme d’Or – on Tuesday denounced the Iranian authorities’ crackdown on artists and called for Panahi’s release.


Prominent international and Iranian filmmakers, as well as the French government, have called for Panahi’s freedom.

From the Criterion Collection.

 Petition for Panahi 

The March arrest and continued detainment of the great Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi—whose gripping, subversive films include The Circle, Crimson Gold, and Offside—have American directors and film writers rallying in support. Panahi, an outspoken backer of the country’s opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi during the highly contested and tumultuous 2009 elections, is being held as a political prisoner in Tehran’s Evin prison. Though the reasons for his arrest were originally not given, Iranian officials now allege that he was planning to make a film critical of the current regime. A petition calling for Panahi’s immediate release has been organized by a committee including Jamsheed Akrami, Godfrey Cheshire, Jem Cohen, Kent Jones, and Anthony Kaufman. Among those who’ve signed are Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, Michael Moore, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Frederick Wiseman. See the full petition here. (or go to the following web-site.)


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