Mohammad Khazaee, the head of the Iranian Cinema Organization

Iran Bans Protesting Filmmakers From Working

Tuesday, 05/30/2023

Iran has banned protesting filmmakers from working after participating in the Cannes Film Festival without obtaining a permit.

Mohammad Khazaee, the head of the Iranian Cinema Organization, said these filmmakers will be prevented from operating in Iran, without referring to the fact many industry members had been part of protests and spoken out against regime oppression.

“They cannot be an opposition figure and work in the Iranian cinema,” stated Khazaee in a ceremony Monday evening. Over the months since the protests figures in the entertainment and sports industry have been punished with the likes of bank account freezes and salary cuts.

"Our duty is to protect the cinema and create job security. The fact that an underground film is produced and released in the market without complying with Sharia issues will put job security at risk."

It is believed he was referring to a feature called "Me, Maryam, the Children and 26 Others" directed by Farshad Hashemi, which was screened by the Iranian Independent Filmmakers' Association on Sunday, at the Cannes Film Festival.

The feature was made in Iran without following the censorship laws of the Islamic Republic, including the mandatory hijab for the actresses.

Last year, after the collapse of the Metropol building claimed scores of lives in Abadan, around 170 people in the film industry signed an open letter expressing solidarity with local protesters and asking security forces to “put down your guns”.

In recent months, a large number of filmmakers and cinema stars have expressed solidarity with anti-government protests, ignited by the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini in custody of the country’s hijab.

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