Taylor Hackford 'outraged' over director's jail term

The Directors Guild of America President has blasted the Iranian government’s arrest and sentencing of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

“The Directors Guild of America condemns the baseless arrest and sentencing of filmmaker Jafar Panahi by the Iranian government,” said DGa president Taylor Hackford. “We are outraged by this attempt to lock away and silence Mr. Panahi, a world-renowned filmmaker, along with his fellow filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof who was similarly sentenced. We understand full well how crucial creative freedom is to liberty, art, culture and human rights, and we oppose any attempt to suppress the rights of artists to engage in creative expression.”

Panahi, 50, was sentenced Monday to six years in prison by an Iranian court on vague charges of “propaganda against the system,” along with Rasoulof. Panahi has also been banned from making films, writing scripts, traveling abroad or giving interviews for 20 years.

“We stand together with the world’s film community to protest this illegal action,” Hackford said. “We urge the Iranian government to rescind its misguided decision and free Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof.”

Panahi is widely known outside Iran for his social commentary films, including “The Circle,” winner of the Venice Golden Lion in 2000; “Crimson Gold,” which won Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2003; and 2006’s “Offside.”

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