Turkish filmmaker turns down Iranian film award in protest
Source: Radio Zamaneh
Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu is turning down an award
from Iran's Fajr International Film Festival to protest the Islamic Republic's
sentencing of Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulov, Iran Balkan
In addition to being sentenced to six years in prison for "propaganda against
the regime," Panahi and Rasoulov are banned from filmmaking for 20 years.
Kaplanoglu, who won the best screenplay award for his film "Bal" (Honey), had
previously voiced his objection to the sentences by signing a joint letter of
protest. He also condemned Panahi's incarceration in a public speech at Beyoglu
Cinema in Istanbul.
According to the Iran Balkan report, Kaplanoglu explained to the media why his
film ended up in the Fajr Festival in the first place: "The international
distributor of my films, The Match Factory, had sold 'Honey' to Iran last year,
just like the previous two instalments in my 'Trilogy of Yusuf.' In those cases,
the decision whether a particular film will take part in a festival or not is
made by the film's distribution company in that country."
Kaplanoglu said they discovered the film was running in the
festival only after they were informed about the screenplay award. He added that
he has publicly stated through his distributors that he is turning down the
award for "Honey."
The 29th edition of the Fajr Film Festival, Iran's biggest cinematic event,
began on February 5. In the opening ceremony, veteran Iranian filmmaker Massoud
Kimiyai and Pouran Derakhshandeh also expressed concern for Panahi and Rasouliv
and urged the authorities to overturn their sentencing.
More attention was brought to their plight when the Berlin Film Festival opened
yesterday. Panahi was supposed to serve on the jury, and a chair was left empty
at the jury press conference to symbolize his absence.
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