In a new statement shared with the Venice Film Festival, imprisoned Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rosoulof have said the “hope of creating again” is a “reason for existence.”
Venice showed solidarity with persecuted filmmakers in Iran and Turkey as part of a session co-organized with the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) that highlighted the plight of creatives in these countries, and the remaining work required to raise awareness of their immense struggle.
Iran, in particular, is seeing a major crackdown on the filmmaking community. In early July, Mohammad Rasoulof, winner of the 2020 Berlin Golden Bear for “There Is No Evil,” and fellow filmmaker Mostafa Al-Ahmad were arrested for posting a statement on social media in the wake of a violent government crackdown. Just days later, dissident Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi, known globally for prizewinning works such as “Offside” and “Taxi,” was also arrested after inquiring about his imprisoned peers.
In the joint statement, distributed to journalists at a Saturday press conference on the Lido, the directors said: “We are filmmakers. We are part of Iranian independent cinema. For us, to live is to create. We create works that are not commissioned. Therefore, those in power see us as criminals. Independent cinema reflects its own times. It draws inspiration from society. And cannot be indifferent to it.
“The history of Iranian cinema witnesses the constant and active presence of independent directors who have struggled to push back censorship and to ensure the survival of this art. While on this path, some were banned from making films, others were forced into exile or reduced to isolation. And yet, the hope of creating again is a reason for existence. No matter where, when, or under what circumstances, an independent filmmaker is either creating or thinking about creation. We are filmmakers, independent one.”
More to come.
Imprisoned Iranian Filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof Say ‘Hope of Creating Again’ Has Become a ‘Reason for Existence’