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Cineastes: Even Without Passport, We Are Iranians

Source: Tehran Times Art Desk

Motamed-Arya, Mirtahmasb, and Panahi sent a joint letter to the Iranian media on Friday, saying even without their passports, they are Iranians.

Culture Ministry must respond to prohibition of cineastes' exit: Asgarpur

TEHRAN -- Iran's House of Cinema Managing Director said the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance must show a response to the prohibition on the exiting of cineastes from the country.

Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpur attended a press conference on Wednesday to review the outcomes of the Iranian delegation's visit to the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The delegation, consisting of Asgarpur, Farhad Tohidi, Amin Tarokh, Alireza Raiisian, Ebrahim Hatamikia, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, Reza Mirkarimi, and Mojtaba Raei took part in "Up Close and Personal: Iranian Filmmakers in Their Own Words", a program organized by UCLA and the Academy that took place from October 9 to 18.

Actress Fatemeh Motamed-Arya and documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, both members of the delegation, were prevented from traveling to the U.S. at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport.

No official comment has been released about the reasons behind the moves taken.

"In my opinion, it is not an appropriate action. The Culture Ministry must respond," Asgarpur said.

"The ministry should intervene to resolve the issue or should declare if it has any other perspective on the matter justifying its actions," he added.

In addition, world-renowned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's passport was confiscated at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport just as he was departing for France on October 15.

Motamed-Arya, Mirtahmasb, and Panahi sent a joint letter to the Iranian media on Friday, saying they will always remain independent Iranian cineastes.

"We have always been proud of our country's culture and have shown it to the world," they wrote.

"But now, we have not been allowed to travel abroad. We aren't complaining, even though we don't know the nature of the accusation against us. We won't complain again, as we want to always remain as independent Iranian cineastes," they said.

MAMI chairman asks Iran to allow Jafar Panahi to visit Mumbai

TEHRAN -- The chairman of the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) has asked Iran to lift the ban on Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's departure from Iran.

Shyam Benegal made his request in a letter he sent to the Iranian embassy in India on October 16, Iranian media announced on Sunday.

The MAMI is the organizer of the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), which will be held from October 29 to November 5.

Panahi and American screenwriter and director Paul Schrader have been selected for the International Jury for the First Feature Film of Directors competition of the MFF.

"We at the 11th Mumbai Film Festival... are eagerly looking forward to welcome the eminent Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi," Benegal said in the letter.

"I would like to bring to your attention that his sudden withdrawal from the jury may lead to an unnecessary and unfortunate portrayal in the Indian and international media," he stated.

"I appeal to you to kindly facilitate his participation in the 11th Mumbai Film Festival as a member of the international jury of the festival," Benegal asked in conclusion.

Panahi and members of his family had previously been arrested during an opposition protest that was held at a Tehran cemetery on July 30 in memory of the demonstrators who were killed in the streets as a result of the unrest after the June 12 presidential election.

In addition, he also presided over the competition jury of the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival where he was seen wearing a scarf of green, a color that symbolizes Iranians protesting against the outcome of the June 12 presidential election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared as winner.

... Payvand News - 10/24/09 ... --

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