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Iran threatens unlicensed films' cast and crew with punitive action

Report Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

An official from the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance threatened on Friday that they would take punitive action against cast or crewmembers who collaborate in producing films which lack the necessary licensing for filmmaking in Iran.

The remark was made by Culture Ministry's Supervision and Evaluation Office (SEO) Director Alireza Sajjadpur after the Iranian film "The White Meadows" won two accolades at the 6th International Film Festival on Wednesday.

The White Meadows

Director Mohammad Rasoulof received the festival's Special Jury Prize and Hassan Purshirazi won the Best Actor Award for his role in the film, which was produced before obtaining the necessary licenses from the Culture Ministry.

Sharam Karini, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mohammad Shirvani wearing green in support of the Iranian opposition movement - San Sebastian Film festival, September 2009.
Many Iranians cineastes have been openly expressing their support for the green movement


"As a member of the new team managing Iranian cinema, once again, I announce that we will take action against artists who collaborate in producing unlicensed films; henceforth, this office will punish them," Sajjadpur told the Persian service of Fars News Agency.

Sajjadpur had previously warned Iranian cineastes about collaborating in film projects lacking the necessary licensing in early October, just few days after he was appointed to the office.

"'The White Meadows' was produced a year ago when I was not in charge of the SEO, so I can not initiate any action concerning its production and its foreign premiere. However, I am now announcing that we will take serious action against the directors, who make film before obtaining a production license," he added.

"This decision has been made to promote justice in professional Iranian cinema due to the fact that many Iranian filmmakers have invested substantial amounts of time to receive a production license," Sajjadpur sated.

A screenplay must be approved by the Culture Ministry to obtain a production license in Iran. In addition, the film's producer must apply for a screening license from the ministry for a domestic or foreign premiere.

No film can be produced or premiere in Iran if the Culture Ministry refuses to grant the necessary licenses.

Over the past decade, Iranian directors Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Bahmad Qobadi and several other filmmakers have made films without applying for a production license from the Culture Ministry.

However, their films premiering in many international festivals have received the praises from their organizers. In addition, DVD copies of the films also are being circulated among the Iranian movie maniacs.

Iranian cultural officials have frequently accused the filmmakers of tarnishing Iran's image in the world. They also believe that there are political motives behind the international awards given to these Iranian films.

... Payvand News - 12/19/09 ... --

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