AFP is reporting that a grand assembly of filmmakers, actors and producers from around the world have signed a petition urging the release of director Roman Polanski, who was arrested Sunday in Switzerland on a warrant for a 1977 underage sex case in the United States. Woody Allen, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, Wong Kar Wai, Harmony Korine, Stephen Frears, Alexander Payne, Michael Mann, Wim Wenders, Tilda Swinton, Julian Schnabel, and Pedro Almodovar are among the 100 and counting film industry figures who have signed the petition, coordinated from France by the SACD, an organization which represents performance and visual artists.
"We demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski," urges the petition. "Film-makers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision… It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary film-makers, is used by police to apprehend him."
The following is the SACD petition, followed by a list of names of people who had signed it as of tonight. For a more extensive detailing of Polanski's arrest and potential extradition to the United States, check out indieWIRE's coverage from earlier today.
Petition for Roman Polanski
We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski's arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking.
His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals.
Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects.
Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.
Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians — everyone involved in international filmmaking — want him to know that he has their support and friendship.
On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.
If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.
-For a list of signatories, continue to the next page.-
Polanski petition signatories, as of September 29th:
Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Rosalinde et Michel Deville
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Wong Kar Waï
Betrand Van Effenterre