STOCKHOLM — Stockholm Film Festival launched a protest outside the Iranian embassy to show support for Mohammad Rasoulof and denounce censorship.
The helmer was supposed to travel to the festival to present his latest film, “Manuscripts Don’t Burn,” and got his passport confiscated during a recent visit to Iran and has been forbidden from leaving the country.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who was invited to sit on the competition jury, was also prohibited from leaving his homeland. “We want to show that it’s unacceptable to prevent filmmakers, artists and journalists from performing their works. Therefore it is important that we, colleagues, jointly raise our voices and protest against the censorship that Mohammad Rasoulof is subjected to,” said Kristian Petri, chairman of the film fest jury.
Added Git Scheynius, the festival director, “Iran has produced films of world class and Stockholm Film Festival just wishes Iranian directors are able to travel to the countries they wish.”
Penned and helmed by Rasoulof, “Manuscripts” is a gripping political film taking place over the course of a day, following two low-level Iranian state officials as they attempt to cover up a state-sponsored crime of dissident intellectuals perpetrated in 1995.
Pic, which is repped by Paris-based Elle Driver, world-preemed at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and won the Fipresci nod. Helmer has been sentenced to one year in prison and is currently out on bail. Along with fellow Iranian director Jafar Panahi, Rasoulof has been imposed a ban on filmmaking.
Festival’s toppers were joined by various Swedish and international directors outside the Iranian Embassy.
The Sweden-based festival will host a Freedom day on Nov. 16 with a dedicated selection of films, including “Manuscripts,” as well as a panel moderated by Mark Cousins.
Fest runs Nov. 7-17.