On the morning of 10 May 2022, internationally renowned Iranian documentary filmmakers Mina Keshavarz and Firouzeh Khosravani were arrested in Tehran after their homes were searched and their personal and professional belongings such as mobile phones, hard drives and laptops were confiscated. On 17 May, they were released on bail and banned from leaving the country. After almost a year has passed without any official charges, Keshavarz and Khosravani their case is now closed and their passports returned in April 2023.
The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) remains steadfast in its demands for an end to an environment of fear and insecurity in which filmmakers live and work. While two cases seem to have been resolved, there are many more which must not be forgotten who remain behind bars, on bail or under constant threat such as directors Jafar Panahi and Mohamed Rasoulof, and actress Taraneh Alidoosti.
“Putting such world-class filmmakers in a suspended state of “release on bail” prevents them from travelling, working, or contributing to both the international and the Iranian cultural life. This is already a drastic measure aimed at artists whose work shows the most loving and respectful image of Iranian art and culture to the whole world. An image that breaks down barriers of stereotyping and prejudice. Such measures are dangerous, and such artists deserve to be treasured, not persecuted. Furthermore, they are not alone! Filmmakers around the world will stand by their side and protect their freedom and safety”, said Orwa Nyrabia, ICFR Chairman.
Founded by the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, International Film Festival Rotterdam and the European Film Academy, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk’s mission is to advocate for and to act in solidarity with filmmakers at risk. The Coalition acts in cases of persecution or threats to the personal safety of these filmmakers and will defend their right to continue their work, by mobilizing the international film community.