Iran General News Bosnian filmmakers protest jailing of Iranian directors

Bosnian filmmakers protest jailing of Iranian directors

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AFP: About 50 Bosnian filmmakers and actors gathered Monday in front of the Iranian embassy in Sarajevo to protest against prison sentences handed out to directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof.

SARAJEVO (AFP) — About 50 Bosnian filmmakers and actors gathered Monday in front of the Iranian embassy in Sarajevo to protest against prison sentences handed out to directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof.

“It is terrible that in the 21st century there are fascist systems that do not allow freedom of speech, of expression, of art,” said Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic, the Berlin Festival’s 2006 Golden Bear winner for her movie Grbavica.

“I came to provide my support to my colleague Panahi who I have met in Berlin. I really feel bad because of what happened to him,” she told reporters.

Defying snow and freezing temperature, the protestors watched one of Panahi’s films on a huge screen erected opposite the Iranian embassy.

Last week the 50-year old Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films or leaving Iran for 20 years. Rasoulof was reportedly given the same sentence.

Panahi was arrested in March and Iranian officials have said he was detained for making an “anti-regime” film about the unrest that rocked Iran after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

Panahi is known for his gritty, socially critical movies such as the “Circle,” which bagged the 2000 Venice Golden Lion award, “Crimson Gold,” and “Offside,” winner of a Silver Bear prize at the 2006 Berlin film festival.

Panahi’s movie “White balloon” opened the first Sarajevo film festival in 1995, while the Iranian director attended the festival in 2001 when his “Circle” was showed.

The sentences to two directors have prompted protests throughout the world’s film industry.

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