Rotterdam, 9 March 2020
URGENT CALL FOR THE FREEDOM OF FILMMAKER MOHAMMAD RASOULOF FACING INCARCERATION IN IRAN
International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), The European Film Academy, the Deutsche Filmakademie, the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, the Filmfest Hamburg, IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Netherlands Film Fund – Filmfonds and the Accademia del cinema italiano-Premi David di Donatello wish to express their deepest concern about the imminent incarceration of the Iranian film director 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, like his previous films, casts a critical eye on the consequences of life under authoritarian rule.
Mohammad Rasoulof has just 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.
"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." Mohammad Rasoulof
In line with our public statement issued in January 2018, we strongly protest against the summons of Mohammad Rasoulof and urgently call on the Iranian authorities to ensure his safety and health. We also ask for the charges against Mohammad Rasoulof 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.
Wim Wenders, President of the European Film Academy 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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With nearly 330,000 admissions and over 2,400 film professionals attending, IFFR is one of the largest audience and industry-driven film festivals in the world, offering a high quality line-up of fiction and documentary feature films, short films, exhibitions, performances, masterclasses and talks.IFFR actively supports new and adventurous filmmaking talent through numerous industry initiatives including co-production market CineMart, the Reality Check conference, the BoostNL initiative, the Hubert Bals Fund and Rotterdam Lab. IFFR's 49th edition takes place from Wednesday 22 January to Sunday 2 February 2020. More information can be found at IFFR.com.