Cine Foundation International was launched on December 10 as both a non-profit film company and human rights NGO aiming to “empower open consciousness through cinema.” They are wasting little time, having announced a campaign calling for the release of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. The campaign will include protest films that speak to human rights issues in Iran and throughout the world, six of which are commissioned feature-length, plus twenty shorts. Participating filmmakers may act anonymously or through pseudonyms since voicing their stories can be dangerous. The films, which will address themes of nation, identity, self, spiritual culture, censorship and imprisonment, will be aimed for public, web and various exhibition media.
The campaign is prompted by Panahi’s six year prison sentence for “assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.” Panahi, an outspoken supporter of the country’s Green Movement (following the country’s sham elections in 2009), and winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion and the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear awards, has also been shackled by a twenty-year ban on directing and writing any film and from doing any form of interview within or outside of Iran.