By Dana Harris | Indiewire September 20, 2011 at 5:10AM
Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb, Jafar Pahahi's co-director on "This is Not A Film," is among the six filmmakers who were arrested by Iranian authorities who claim that the group was spying on behalf of BBC Persia.
Cine Foundation International, among others, identified the six filmmakers who were arrested September 17.
The six are also listed on an extraordinary site, hyperactivist.info, which tracks currently incarcerated prisoners in Iran.
Earlier this month, Iran barred Mir Tahmaseb from accompanying "This Is Not a Film" to the Toronto Film Festival. During the festival, Palisades Tartan announced that it had acquired all all U.S. and U.K. rights to the film, which Mir Tahmaseb and Panahi shot secretly on an iPhone and smuggled into France for its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The film examines Panahi’s life since being placed under house arrest and banned from filmmaking for 20 years for his political views.
“We are saddened by the news that Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb, Jafar Panahi's co-director on 'This is Not a Film,' is among the six filmmakers arrested in Iran," said Soumya Sriraman, president and CEO at Palisades Tartan. "But we are not completely surprised, given the extreme lack of freedom and expression that exists in Iran today. We acquired the rights to 'This is Not a Film' so that we can share it with filmgoers in the Western world who should appreciate the freedom that we sometimes take for granted.”
The imprisoned filmmakers are:
- Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb. Director; served as Jafar Panahi's co-director on "This is Not a Film"
- Katayoun Shahabi. Producer, Iranian documentary "A Brief Peace."
- Hadi Afarideh. Documentarian.
- Naser Safarian. Documentarian.
- Shahnam Bazdar. Documentarian.
- Mohsen Shahrnazdar. Documentarian.
[Photo credit: Cine Foundation]
According to Hyperactivist.info, they have been taken to Ward 240, Section 209 of Evin Prison, which is under the control of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence. Per an email sent by Cine Foundation to its supporters:
During the last years many of Iran political prisoners have died in this Section under torture and many others kept in it have ended up being executed by firing squads or hanged.
Those currently held at the Section include political dissidents, human rights activists, students, trade union officials and workers, as well as many other Iranians from all walks of life.