More than 80 renowned French filmmakers and artists have called for the release of jailed Iranian directors Jaafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alehahmad.
In a Wednesday statement signed by 81 French intellectuals, including Costa Gavras, Jacques Audiard, Michel Hazanavicius, Christine Angot, Catherine Corsini, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, and Edgar Morin, they said they will not stop supporting their colleagues until they are released.
“We wish to express our anger against these arrests, intimidations and imprisonments... We extend our absolute solidarity to all Iranian authors, artists, filmmakers, who struggle every day to exercise their art, at the cost of their freedom. We admire your courage, your determination, your works, and the solidarity you show. Know that our support will be unrelenting until your release,” said the signatories.
Panahi, who has won numerous awards, including the Golden Leopard at Locarno Festival, the Golden Lion in Venice, and the Silver Bear at the Berlinale, was arrested July 11 as he was protesting the detention of the other award-winning filmmakers, who had been arrested July 8 as part of the Iranian crackdown on the signatories of a collective statement titled “Lay down the gun” issued by more than 100 film industry personalities in the end of May. The statement was a call on Iran’s military and security forces not to use weapons against civilian protesters.
In mid-July, France had urged the Islamic Republic to release the three film makers in the latest criticism of Iran's record over human rights by a major Western powers. Days earlier, the Cannes Film Festival, the Berlinale, the European Film Academy and the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk also called for the immediate release of the prominent filmmakers.