Last month (Sep11), the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason.
The arrests sparked outrage around the world and now leading entertainment industry organisations have joined forces to demand the directors’ release.
A statement from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reads, “As an international organization representing over 6000 artists in 35 countries, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened.
“We join our colleagues around the world in calling unequivocally for these filmmakers’ safety, release, and return to filmmaking. They deserve the same, full freedom of expression that the overwhelming majority of our members enjoy every day, no matter where they are from, no matter where they work, no matter what their beliefs.”
And a statement from the Board of Governors of the American Society of Cinematographers reads, “We foster the collaboration of cinematographers and the creative exchange of ideas and issues of mutual concern to our members and to the global filmmaking community. We are deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. We share these concerns with our fellow guilds and film organizations: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), The Directors Guild of America (DGA), The Producers Guild of America (PGA), The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), The Writers Guilds of America East and West (WGA), the American Cinema Editors (ACE) and the International Documentary Association (IDA).”
The groups are also upset about the ordeal of Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was sentenced to “one year in jail and 90 lashes” for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of director Jafar Panahi.