Three arrested Iranian filmmakers still incarcerated: what is their situation? | Movies & Series

Iranian filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Al Ahmad and Jafar Panahi werearrested in their own country in July. What is their situation at the moment?

By our entertainment editors

A group of cinematographers, including Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Al Ahmad andJafar Panahi, wrote a statement at the end of May that eventually led to theirarrest. It is in response to government intervention in protests following thecollapse of a ten-storey building. On May 23, the Metropol collapsed as aresult of various violations in its construction.

According to state media, 41 people have died and 37 people have been injured.The population is taking to the streets demanding that those involved be heldaccountable. The government responded by cracking down on the protests.

First, Rasoulof and Al Ahmad are arrested, after which Panahi decides toredress at the prison where the two are currently located. The filmmaker isarrested on the spot. Signing the statement is seen as an activity directedagainst the Iranian regime. Panahi denies that; according to him, thestatement is intended to show solidarity and empathy towards the population.

Renowned filmmaker and honored in the film world

Panahi is a renowned filmmaker; he has won several awards in his career,including the Golden Lion for best film at the Venice Film Festival, theGolden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival and the Golden Palm forbest screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival. This year he also won a specialjury prize for his latest film, from prison No Bears at the Venice FilmFestival.

Rasoulof’s work has also been regularly awarded; for example, in 2020 he won aBerlin Golden Bear for his film There Is No Evil.

During this year’s Venice Film Festival, protests against the detention, amongothers, Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al Ahmad.

Photo: Getty Images

Not the first arrest for Panahi

Panahi was previously arrested in 2009 and 2010 for allegedly turning againstthe Iranian regime. When Panahi was released after his second arrest, it wason condition that he would abstain from making films, writing scripts, doinginterviews and traveling abroad for 20 years.

Like his colleague, Rasoulof has been arrested several times in Iran. Heregularly receives intimidating text messages, threatening more lawsuits andjail time. The three filmmakers are still in prison. Their situation has notbeen disclosed for about two weeks.

  • Jafar Panahi derde gearresteerde regisseur binnen enkele dagen inIran

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Recently, several journalists, photographers and activists have been arrestedfor reporting on the protests that have arisen after the death of Mahsa Amini.Amini recently died in a police station after being arrested by the religiouspolice. The 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman is said to have not covered herhead properly. Heart problems were the cause of her death, police said. Herfamily says she was healthy and did not suffer from a heart condition.

Calls from all over the world for the release of the three filmmakers, as wellas the journalists and photographers who have been arrested in recent weeks.