The Cannes Film Festival calls for the release of Iranian filmmakers

The Cannes Film Festival has called for the immediate release of filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Alehahmad and Jafar Panahi, detained by Iran for the past few days.

In a statement released on Monday, Cannes organizers said: “The Cannes Film Festival strongly condemns these arrests as well as the wave of repression evidently underway in Iran against its artists.”

Panahi, which has won numerous awards including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Festival, the Golden Lion at Venice and the Silver Bear at the Berlinale, was arrested on Monday while protesting against the detention of two other award-winning filmmakers, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alehhmad.

The Berlinale, the European Film Academy and the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk have also spoken out against their arrest.

“We are deeply concerned about the arrests of Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad. It is shocking that artists are being arrested for their peaceful efforts against violence,” Berlinale organizers said.

Rasoulof – another top filmmaker with several international awards such as the Golden Bear – and Alehahmad – who is known at international film galas for his short films — were arrested on July 8 as part of Iran repression against the signatories of a collective declaration entitled “Lay down the gun» issued by more than 100 film industry personalities at the end of May.

The statement called on the military and security forces which “have become tools to repress the people”, not to repress the protesters during a wave of protests across Iran that was sparked when a 10-storey building collapsed in Abadan, leaving at least 40 people dead and dozens missing.

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