EntertainmentIran Urged to Grant Directors Attendance at Berlinale Festival

Iran Urged to Grant Directors Attendance at Berlinale Festival

The Berlin⁤ Film Festival has made a​ plea to Iran to allow directors Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha to⁢ travel⁢ out of the country to attend the world premiere of their highly anticipated film My⁤ Favorite Cake,‌ which will be‍ screening in competition at the 74th Berlinale.

According to a recent statement,‌ the festival has been informed that Moghaddam and Sanaeeha‍ have‍ been prohibited ​from traveling, having their passports confiscated by Iranian authorities,‌ and are now facing a court trial due to their involvement as ‍artists ‍and filmmakers.

“The Berlinale is a festival fundamentally committed to freedom of speech,‍ freedom of expression and freedom ‌of ​the arts, for all people around ⁤the world and the ‍festival is‍ shocked and dismayed‍ to ‍learn that Moghaddam and Sanaeeha could be prevented ‌from traveling⁣ to the festival to⁣ present their ​film and meet their audience ‌in Berlin,” Berlinale directors⁢ Carlo Chatrian und Mariëtte Rissenbeek said ⁢in a statement. “We call​ for the Iranian authorities to return the passports and to end all restrictions preventing Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha ‌from⁢ freely traveling to Berlin⁣ this ‍February, together with the other international⁢ directors and filmmaking talents from around‌ the world, so they can present their new film ⁤ My⁣ Favourite Cake ‌as part of the Berlinale’s ​2024 competition.”

Moghaddam and Sanaeeha previously ⁤had ⁤a film, Ballad of a White Cow,⁣ at‍ the Berlinale in 2021. My Favourite Cake was supported by⁢ the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund, and was developed in part at the 2020 Berlinale co-production market, where it won ‌the Eurimages⁤ Co-Production‍ Development Award.

Iranian cinema, particularly⁣ controversial cinema, has a history of being featured at the German festival. Mohammad Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil took Berlin’s top prize in 2020.⁤ Jafar​ Panahi’s Taxi received the festival’s highest honor in 2015. Both filmmakers were blocked from attending​ the festival by the Iranian regime. Last year, the Berlinale ⁢said it would not accredit any companies‌ or media outlets⁤ with direct ties to the Iranian government, extending a ban the festival imposed on Russian‌ state-backed companies after Russia’s invasion of⁤ Ukraine.

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