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BLINDFOLDED DIRECTORS PROTEST TREATMENT OF IRANIAN FILMMAKER

November 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

About 20 directors attending the Stockholm Film Festival gathered at the Iranian embassy in the Swedish capital today to protest against the censorship of Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof. The protest was initiated after the festival learned that Iranian authorities had confiscated Rasoulof’s passport and barred him from attending the festival, where his latest film, Manuscripts Don’t Burn, is scheduled to be screened. In 2010, Rasoulof and fellow director Jafar Panahi were sentenced to six years in prison, prohibited from making films for 20 years, and barred from talking to foreign reporters after they were convicted of making “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” Both men have remained under house arrest and both have managed to make films and spirit them out of the country. The election of the moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani to the presidency of the country had raised hopes that the sentences of the two filmmakers would be overturned, but the latest development appears to dash such hopes. The Associated Press reported that during their protest in Stockholm, the directors, who included Sean Gullette of the U.S. and Sweden’s Tarik Saleh, stood blindfolded, a reference to a scene in Rasoulof’s film. AP quoted Kristian Petri, chairman of the festival jury, as saying that the directors wanted to “show that it is unacceptable to prevent filmmakers, artists and journalists from performing their work.”