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Iran Culture Ministry bans Farhadi's film over his remarks


Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

Deputy Culture Minister for Cinematic Affairs Javad Shamaqdari has said that latest remarks by film director Asghar Farhadi's forced them to revoke the production license for his film "Separation of Nader and Simin". "His remarks were not amusing," he told the Persian service of ISNA on Saturday.

Film director Asghar Farhadi

"He was given a one-week opportunity to retract his remarks, but he refused to do so and consequently, the decision was made about his film," Shamaqdari said.

He also said that they are trying to be honest, adding, "People deserve to know why a filmmaker is encouraged and why he or she faces a ban," Shamaqdari noted.

During the award presentation ceremony at the 14th Iran Cinema Celebration on September 16, Farhadi had criticized Iranian cultural policy for isolating a number of prominent cineastes, including Bahram Beizaii, Amir Naderi, and Golshifteh Farahani.

This past week, Shamaqdari's office was unofficially helmed by Culture Ministry Supervision and Evaluation Office (SEO) Director Alireza Sajjadpur, as Shamaqdari was a member of the delegation accompanying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his visit to New York last week.

Thus, the decision to revoke the production license for "Separation of Nader and Simin" was made by Sajjadpur and he declined to give any reason for the decision.

"I prefer not to make any comments about this issue at the present time," Sajjadpur said on Thursday.

The shooting of "Separation of Nader and Simin", which had begun in late August, has been halted after Sajjadpur announced the decision on Farhadi's film.


Sajjadpur also announced last week from Shamaqdari's office that "Farewell Baghdad", a U.S.-Iraq war drama, has been submitted to the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Films category.

Shamaqdari said that he has talked about the film during his meeting with members of the academy during his trip to New York.

A copy of the film is being sent to the academy for screening, he added.

"Farewell Baghdad" has not yet been screened publicly in Iran and this is in conflict with the Academy Awards' special rules for the Best Foreign Language Film Award category.

According to the rules, any submission to this category must be screened in the country submitting the film entry for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater for the profit of the producer and exhibitor no later than September 30, 2010.

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