Press Release by The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival today expressed its deep concern in response to the recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers by the Iranian authorities on charges of espionage. The six filmmakers are Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Katayoun Shahabi, Hadi Afarideh, Nasser Saffarian, Shahnama Bazdar and Mohsen Shahrnazdar. The detainees have been accused of collaborating with the BBC network, forbidden in Iran, and of portraying a negative image of the country in their films.
Mr. Mojtaba Mirtahmasb is the co-director of banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's latest film THIS IS NOT A FILM, which was most recently screened as part of the 36th Toronto International Film Festival.
We are extremely concerned by the arrest of these six filmmakers, whose work should be seen and their voices heard. Iran's filmmakers, including Mirtahmasb, Shahabi, Afarideh, Saffarian, Bazdar, Shahnazdar and Jafar Panahi, have long been celebrated as representatives of a rich and vibrant culture. Their films have been shown at festivals all over the world, including here in Toronto. Filmmakers must be allowed to express themselves through their films, without fear of reprisal.
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $170 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, Major Sponsor and official bank RBC, Major Sponsor BlackBerry and Visa. For more information, visit tiff.net.
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