This is a first: two film directors have been handed down harsh sentences, not for actually making a critical film, but simply because they had intended to make a film. Because the Iranian government assumed it would not like the film Jafar Panahi und Mohammad Rasoulof were planning to make, it has sentenced the two directors to six years in jail and imposed a twenty-year ban on their practicing their profession, traveling, and giving interviews.
The working conditions for artists, journalists, and human rights activists in Iran have been extremely difficult for a long time. Nevertheless, this form of censorship is new and has shocked colleagues fighting within the country and elsewhere for the right to be respected as responsible and autonomous individuals. The Paris-based Iranian film director Rafi Pitts is one of the many people who have demanded that the sentence be revoked immediately. In order to underline his commitment to getting the directors freed he has called in an open letter for a two-hour strike on February 11, 2011, the thirty-second anniversary of the Iranian revolution. Between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. CET on that day people of all nations and political affiliations are being asked to down tools as a gesture of solidarity with Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. It is also the first regular day of the Berlinale Filmfestival. Panahi was invited to be a member of the jury – but it doesn’t seem likely that he will be in Berlin.
As media representatives we, too, strongly protest against the action taken by the Iranian justice authorities and the Iranian government and demand that the sentence be revoked immediately.
In solidarity with the filmmakers and all critical minds in Iran we will color our websites green on the 11th of february and inform our public about the current situation in Iran.
Please Join In! Color your website green and inform your public about the situation in Iran.
Sign our appeal here
Following you find the first who sign the appeal – apart from the taz.die tageszeitung:
Thomas Arslan (Filmemacher, Berlin), Robert Bramkamp (Filmemacher, Hamburg), Ralf Fücks und Barbara Unmüßig (Vorstand der Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Berlin), Gabriele Horn (Direktorin, Kunst-Werke Berlin), Alexander Horwath (Direktor, Filmmuseum Wien), Alexander Kluge (Filmemacher und Schriftsteller, München), Ulrich Köhler (Filmemacher, Berlin), Thomas Krüger (Präsident der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bonn), Matthias Lilienthal (Intendant, Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin), Ali Mahdjoubi (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter im Bundestag, Die Grünen, Berlin), Avi Mograbi (Filmemacher, Tel Aviv), Christian Petzold (Filmemacher, Berlin), Rafi Pitts (Filmemacher, Paris), Oliver Reese (Intendant, Schauspiel Frankfurt), Claudia Roth (Vorsitzende, Die Grünen, Berlin), sauerbrey & raabe (Büro für kulturelle Angelegenheiten, Berlin), Bernd M. Scherer (Direktor, Haus der Kulturen der Welt) Peter Weibel (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe), Albert Wiederspiel (Leiter, Filmfest Hamburg), Hortensia Völckers (Direktorin, Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Halle/Saale), Jasmila Zbanic (Filmemacherin, Sarajevo), Spiegel Online (Hamburg), Der Standard (Wien), Cicero (Berlin), www.getidan.de (Berlin)