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Iran complains: Berlin awards movie made in defiance of 20-year ban

27 February 2013

Iranian authorities logged a protest with the Berlin International Film Festival for giving its Best Screenplay Award Silver Bear to Iranian film director Jafar Panahi and co-director Kamboziya Partovi for their film ‘Closed Curtain’, according to a report from one of the country’s leading news agencies.

Jafar Panahi

Jafar Panahi was unable to attend the award ceremony in Berlin as he remains under house arrest in Tehran. Subsequently, the Iranian government has banned co-director Kamboziya Partovi and actress Maryam Moghadam from leaving the country to promote the new film, and confiscated their passports.

“We believe that the Berlin fest organisers should correct their behavior. Everyone knows that a license is needed to make films in our country and send them abroad but there are a small number who make films and send them out without a license. This is an offense… but so far the Islamic Republic has been patient with such behavior,” Javad Shamaqdari, Iran’s deputy culture minister and the country’s ‘cinema chief’, was quoted as saying in a report by the Iranian Students’ News Agency, according to The Guardian.

Shamaqdari said it without mentioning Panahi or the film by name, reported the news agency.
“Thoughts bear fruit everywhere”
Kamboziya Partovi said onstage in Berlin: “It is impossible to stop a thinker and a poet. Their thoughts bear fruit everywhere.”

It remains to be seen whether Kamboziya Partovi, Moghadam and the film’s cast and crew will be censored or prosecuted further for their participation in the film.

Speaking at a press conference before the film’s premiere at the Berliner Palast last week, the director sidestepped questions about possible repercussions when they return home. “There’s nothing we can really expect – nothing has happened up until now,” he said.
Ordered to quit filmmaking
Jafar Panahi was detained, sentenced to six years in prison, and then released on house arrest, but subjected to a 20-year filmmaking ban. He was accused for making “anti-government propaganda” in the aftermath of the mass demonstrations after the 2009 presidential elections.
Panahi had flouted the ban before, with 2011’s ‘This Is Not a Film’, a piece shot nearly entirely in his apartment because he was under house arrest at the time. The film reportedly was smuggled out of Iran in a USB device hidden inside a cake, and it premiered at Cannes.
The Hollywood Reporter – 27 February 2013:
Iran Bans ‘Closed Curtain’ Team From Leaving Country
Tehran has confiscated the passports of the film’s star Maryam Moghadam and co-director Kamboziya Partovi. Scott Roxborough
The Hollywood Reporter – 20 February 2013:
Iran Protests Berlin Festival Award for Jafar Panahi’s ‘Closed Curtain’
The country’s top cinema regulator describes the film as an “illegal act” and demands the Berlinale “correct their behavior” after awarding the best screenplay honor to the banned filmmaker. By Clarence Tsui.
Reuters – 19 February 2013:
Iran protests Berlin film award for banned Jafar Panahi
Iran has complained to the organizers of the Berlin film festival for giving Iranian director Jafar Panahi an award for an allegorical movie made in defiance of a 20-year state ban. By Marcus George.
Hollywood Reporter – 11 February 2013:
Berlin 2013: ‘Closed Curtain’ Stirs Debate About Iran
The prominence of Jafar Panahi’s competition film is a sign of rising international attention to the plight of Iranian filmmakers. By Clarence Tsui
The Guardian – 19 February 2013:
Iran berates Berlin film festival over Panahi award
Islamic republic protests against best screenplay prize for banned director Jafar Panahi, who remains under house arrest. By Ben Child

• Wikipedia, the open encyclopedia:
wikipedia.org/wiki/Jafar_Panahi

• Artsfreedom.org – 21 June 2012:
Iran: Travel ban on film director

 

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