By Indiewire | Indiewire March 27, 2001 at 2:0AM
Letter to The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures by Jafar Panahi
by Jafar Panahi
[EDITORS NOTE: The following letter was sent to indieWIRE by Mohammad Atebbai , associate producer of Jafar Panahi's film, "The Circle" and the Senior Editor of Film International. It was sent on behalf of Jafar Panahi and the publication is authorized.]
The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the winner of Freedom of Expression Award for my film, "The Circle," I would like to take your kind attention to what happened to me in your country, an event that takes place everyday in US. And let me hope to see your reaction to these inhuman events. I believe, I am entitled to be curious about the response of the Board who granted me such Award, a response in proportionate to the behavior I and many other people faced and will face. You have considered my movie as a "wonderful and daring" film and I wish your Board and the US media would dare to condemn the savage acts of American police/Immigration officers and may such condemnation would make the people aware of these acts. Otherwise, what would mean winning such Award for me? And what honor I would have to keep it? Then, I may return this Award to you as you may find another figure that is more in proportionate to freedom!
In the booklet you kindly sent me together with your Award, I read that prestigious film personality like Orson Welles has already received this Award. Should I be happy that this great man is not among us now to hear how the American police behave the filmmakers or people who enter your country? As a filmmaker obsessed with social issues, my films deal with social problems and limits and naturally I cannot be indifferent to racist, violent, insulting and inhuman acts in any place in the world. However, I certainly do detach the acts of American police and politicians from the cultural institutions and figures as well as people of USA, as I was informed the film critics and audiences in your country very well received my film. Nevertheless, I will inform the world media about my unpleasant experience in New York and I hope, your Board, who strives in freedom of expression, would react properly in this respect.
On April 15, I left Hong Kong Film Festival to Montevideo and Buenos Aires Festivals through United Airline