Moore and Jury Call For Panahi’s Release


Venice’s red carpet was the stage for quiet protests on Friday, as festival director Alberto Barbera and jury president Julianne Moore, among others, staged a somber strike in solidarity with jailed filmmaker Jia Farr Panahi.

When attendees entered the Palazzo del Cinema in Venice to watch the world premiere of Panahi’s latest film, No Bears, the red carpet flow was normal. Then, at exactly 4:30 p.m., the doors of the theater opened, and a large crowd filed out. Moore stood with a delegation that also included juror Audrey Dewan, Horizon Jury President Isabel Coxey, and filmmakers Laura Bisprey and Sally Poe special.

In their resolve, many held posters calling for the release of three Iranian filmmakers, Panahi, Mohammad Rasolov and Mustafa Ahmed, who were imprisoned earlier this year. Others represent Myanmar’s Ma Aeint and Turkey’s Çiğdem Mater, two producers also facing government attacks.

Audrey Diwan, Julianne Moore and Isabel Coixet join the activists of the International Alliance of Venture Filmmakers.

Courtesy of Getty

Without saying a word, the delegation stood in front of the theater for ten minutes, and then went back inside to watch a Panahi film.

The somber demonstration was organised by the International Coalition of Risky Filmmakers (ICFR), an advocacy group co-founded by IDFA, Rotterdam and the European Film Academy, and launched in Venice in 2020. Earlier this year at the festival, the league organized a panel called “Filmmakers Under Attack: Take Stock, Take Action.” There, attendees received a joint statement from Panahi and Rasoulof.

“We are filmmakers,” they said. “We are part of Iranian independent cinema. For us, life is to create. We create non-commissioned works. Therefore, those in power see us as criminals. Independent cinema reflects its own era. It draws inspiration from society. Nor can we remain indifferent.”

“The history of Iranian cinema has witnessed the continued and active presence of independent directors working to overthrow censorship and ensure the survival of this art. Along the way, some have been banned from making films, others have been forced into exile or isolated However, the hope of re-creation is the raison d’être. Whenever, wherever, and under any circumstance, independent filmmakers are either creating or thinking about creating. We are filmmakers, independent.”

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