Back to IndieWire

When Are Films Political? When They’re Iranian (Again)!!

When Are Films Political? When They're Iranian (Again)!!

You are surely aware of the situation that is affecting Jafar Panahi, and that didn’t allow him to come in Cannes this year to present the movie This is Not a Film (Ceci n’est pas un film) (ISA: Wide Management). At that time, he was out of prison and awaiting his hearing, but banned from filmmaking and from traveling. The latest event does not augur well : His co-director on the film, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, had his passport confiscated at the airport on his way to France to support the French release of the picture, and he was supposed to go to Toronto after.

Dear Friends,

We are writing you with a great anxiety to tell you that Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, the co-director with Jafar Panahi of This Is Not A Film, had his passport forfeited at Tehran airport yesterday, September 5th, 2011, just before flying to Paris along his wife and son.

He is now banned from travelling outside Iran and had all his belongings (laptop, notebooks) confiscated. Only his wife and son were allowed to travel. We are very worried about the situation of the directors.

The purpose of this trip to France was to promote the French theatrical release of the film, scheduled for September 28th, 2011, before going to Toronto where the film will be shown in the Masters section and travel to international festivals (New York, London, Busan etc).

This terrible news means that all his travels coming up are now compromised.

On their behalf, we are kindly asking you to communicate on this worrisome situation and inform the audience and press; both Mojtaba and Jafar count a lot on your support.

Also, they are asking you again, to make official requests to Iranian Ministry of Culture as well as to the Iranian Embassy in your country and ask them to allow them to travel to your festival.

Thanks for all your support.

Warm Regards,
All of us who care about art, freedom of expression and liberty
– — – – – – – –

Chers Amis,

C’est avec une profonde inquiétude que nous informons qu’hier, le 5 septembre 2011, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, co-réalisateur avec Jafar Panahi du film THIS IS NOT A FILM/ CECI N’EST PAS UN FILM, s’est vu confisquer son passeport alors qu’il devait embarquer avec sa femme et son fils pour un vol en direction de Paris.

Il est désormais interdit de sortie du territoire iranien et ses affaires personnelles (ordinateur portable, carnets de notes) ont également été confisquées par les autorités iraniennes.
Seuls sa femme et son fils ont eu l’autorisation de voyager.
Nous sommes particulièrement préoccupés des conséquences de cet acte pour Jafar et Mojtaba.

Le motif de son voyage était de promouvoir la sortie française de son film le 28 septembre 11 avant d’entamer une tournée mondiale pour présenter le film dans des festivals internationaux de prestige (Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, London Film Festival etc).

Nous vous demandons de communiquer sur la situation alarmante de Jafar et Mojtaba, et d’informer le public et la presse, car vous représentez leur seul soutien et outil de pression.

Nous vous prions d’adresser des courriers officiels au Ministère iranien de la Culture ainsi qu’à l’Ambassade iranienne de votre pays afin d’exiger la levée de l’interdiction de sortie de territoire de Jafar Panahi et Mojtaba Mirtahmasb.

Merci infiniment de votre aide et de votre soutien.

A film by Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb
35 mm – DCP – HD – Iran – 2011 – 75min

Original Language: Persian

“Our problems are all our assets.”
Understanding this promising paradox helped us not to lose hope, and to be able to go on since we believe wherever in the world that we live, we are going to face problems, big or small. But it is our duty not to be defeated and to think of solutions. The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping cinema alive motivated us to go through the existing limitations in Iranian cinema. The existing possibilities in cinema have convinced us that a filmmaker has only himself to blame if he is unable to make films. The discerning nature of art not only paves the way for the artist to overcome problems, but in the process of creativity, it turns every limitation into a subject for work. The unpleasant reality governing Iranian cinema and filmmakers today drove us to not overlook this (perhaps transient) reality and to depict parts of it that were reflected in us.
Jafar Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (May the 5th of 2011)

Cannes International Film Festival 2011 – OFFICIAL SELECTION
Montreal World Film Festival 2011
68th Venice Film Festival – CINEMA & HUMAN RIGHTS
New York Film Festival 2011
Pusan International Film Festival 2011 – WIDE ANGLE
BFI – London Film Festival 2011 – WORLD CINEMA
Vienna International Film Festival 2011
Dubai International Film Festival 2011 – MUHR ASIAAFRICA COMPETITION
Tokyo Film EX 2011
Hong Kong International Film Festival 2012 – OFFICIAL COMPETITION

PUBLIC 1 TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 8 September 2011 09.45 PM
PUBLIC 2 TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 9 September 2011 04.45 PM
PRESS & INDUSTRY TIFF Bell Lightbox 5 8 September 2011 02.30 PM

A film by Mohammad Rasoulof
DCP – HD – Iran – 2011 – 104min

Original Language: Persian

Mohammad Rasoulof’s latest film, GOODBYE is the story of a young lawyer (Lelya Zareh) in Tehran, Iran in search of a visa to leave the country. She recently had her license to practice law revoked for participating in activist campaigns against the government. Her husband was exiled to work in the desert because of his role as a political journalist. Now pregnant and alone, the woman is fed up with Iran and considering terminating her pregnancy as part of a complicated scheme to leave the country. Rasoulof himself, was in search of a visa during the winter of 2010/11. He was not permitted to attend the film’s Cannes premiere in the Certain Regard category.


Cannes International Film Festival 2011 – UN CERTAIN REGARD
Cannes International Film Festival 2011 – Directing Prize of Un Certain Regard, 2011
PUBLIC 1 AMC 6 9 September 2011 08.15 PM
PUBLIC 2 AMC 6 10 September 2011 10.00 AM
PUBLIC 3 AMC 10 16 September 2011 5.15 PM

A film by Tawfik Abu Wael
35 mm – DCP – HD – 2011 – Israel, France, Germany, Palestine– 80 min

Original Language: Arabic
Cast: Lana Haj Yahia, Ali Badarni, Kais Nashif

Nour and Iyad, a Palestinian couple living in East Jerusalem, are preparing to move to Paris. He is a surgeon at the top of his game; she is a young actress from a Palestinian bourgeois intellectual background, attractive, independent and whimsical. On the way to the airport, a news report of a terrible accident forces Iyad has to return to his hospital and delay their departure. Abandoned by her husband once again, Nour starts to question their future move as well as their marriage, while showing how attached she is to all that she is about to leave behind.
64th Locarno International Film Festival (2011) / World Premiere
PUBLIC 1 AMC 9 11 September 2011 09.00 PM
PUBLIC 2 AMC 1 12 September 2011 06.00 PM
PUBLIC 3 AMC 6 16 September 2011 03.30 PM
PRESS & INDUSTRY TIFF Bell Lightbox 5 9 September 2011 07.00 PM

A film by Atia Al-Daradji & Mohamed Al-Daradji
DCP – HD – UK, The Netherlands, Iraq – 2011 – 85min

Original Language: Arabic

Husham works tirelessly to build the hopes, dreams and prospects of the 32 damaged children of war, under his care at a small orphanage in Baghdad’s most dangerous district. Against this threatening backdrop, with funds running desperately low, the bittersweet dramas of childhood play out: 7-year-old SAIF can only remember his dead mother’s name, ‘Mejuda’, as he faces the taunts of other kids in constant playground battles; teenager MOHAMMED struggles to balance academic life with his search for self-identity ; whilst young Salah fears he may never be able to go to school. When the landlord gives Husham and the boys just two weeks to vacate, a desperate search ensues.


PUBLIC 1 AMC 10 13 September 2011 05.00 PM
PUBLIC 2 Jackman Hall – AGO 14 September 2011 08.30 PM
PUBLIC 3 AMC 9 19 September 2011 12.30PM
PRESS & INDUSTRY 1 TIFF Bell Lightbox 5 12 September 2011 07.45PM
PRESS & INDUSTRY 2 TIFF Bell Lightbox 5 16 September 2011 07.30PM

A film by Nadav Lapid
DCP -HD – Israel – 2011 – 105min

Original Language: Hebrew
Cast: Yiftach Klein, Yaara Pelzig

The policeman, Yaron, stands in the center of a group of elite policeman, belonging to the Israeli Anti Terrorist unit. He and his fellow unit members are the weapon; the gun the state is pointing at its opponents, the ‘Arab enemy’. Yaron worships his unit, the male comradery, his muscular body, his beauty. Yaron is excited, his wife is expecting their baby very soon; he could become a father any minute. An encounter with a radical, violent, extraordinary group, will confront him with the Israeli class war as well as with the war within his own soul.


Locarno Film Festival 2011 – Special Jury award
The Gottlieb Award for Best Screenplay in a Full-Length Feature – Jerusalem International Film Festival 2011
The Van Leer Award Group Fondation for Cinematography in a Full-Length Film – Jerusalem International Film Festival 2011
Nominations Israeli Film Academy: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound

Locarno Film Festival 2011 – OFFICIAL COMPETITION
Vancouver International Film Festival 2011 – CINEMA OF OUR TIME
New York Film Festival 2011
BFI London Film Festival 2011– WORLD CINEMA
National Release 1 st September 2011

A film by Anca Damian
35 mm – DCP – HD – Romania & Poland – 2011 – 73min

Original Languages : Romanian & English
Voices by: Vlad Ivanov, Jamie Sives

The animated documentary feature-length “Crulic – The Path to Beyond” tells the life’s story of Crulic, the 33 years old Romanian who died in a Polish prison while making hunger strike. The acclaimed Romanian actor, Vlad Ivanov, narrates Crulic’s ironic voice over from beyond the grave. A strong visual style, the result of beautiful hand drawn, collage, stop-motion and cut-cut animation techniques, blend to create a striking, surprisingly integrated and memorable film.
Voices by : Vlad Ivanov (4 Months, 3 weeks & 2 days) & Jamie Sives (starring in the upcoming One Day with Anne Hathaway)

Beautiful artwork and a powerful story are the key elements of animated docu “Crulic — The Path to Beyond.”
Jay Weissberg,

Locarno Film Festival 2011 – Prix FICC / IFFS

Locarno Film Festival 2011 – International Competition
Telluride Film Festival 2011 – GREAT EXPECTATION PROGRAM
Reykjavik International Film Festival 2011
Pusan International Film Festival 2011 – WIDE ANGLE
BFI – London Film Festival 2011 –WORLD CINEMA

A film by Rafael Lewandowski
35mm -DCP – Poland – 2011 – 108min

Original Language: Polish
Cast: Borys Szyc, Marian Dziedziel, Magdalena Czerwinska, Wojciek Pszoniak

PAWEL, a Polish man in his early 30’s works with his father ZYGMUNT, by importing second-hand clothing from the North of France to Southern Poland . On his way back from one of his regular “business trips”, Pawel suddenly discovers his father’s picture on the cover of a Polish tabloid with the headline “traitor”. Zygmunt is a genuine hero of the struggle against totalitarianism and a recognized member of the “Solidarnosc” labor movement of the 80’s but still he is being accused, by the local paper, of having acted as a secret informer called THE MOLE by the communist regime.


Best supporting actor to Marian DZIEDZIEL at the Gdynia Polish Film Festival 2011
Best male actor to Borys Szyc at Montreal World Film Festival 2011

Montreal World Film Festival 2011 – WORLD COMPETITION

A film by Morteza Farshbaf
HD -Iran – 2011 – 85min

Original Languages : Persian
Cast: Kiomars Giti, Sharareh Pasha, Amir Hossein Maleki

A violent quarrel breaks out between a couple at midnight. Being at a relative’s house in the north of Iran , they depart for Tehran in the middle of the night, but they do not bring along their son. Something terrible happens on their way…


Pusan International Film Festival 2011 – NEW CURRENTS
BFI London Film Festival – WORLD CINEMA

A film by Halkawt Mustafa
HD – Norway /Iraq- 2011 – 78min

Original Languages : Arabic
Cast: Kiomars Giti, Sharareh Pasha, Amir Hossein Maleki

The movie is a stirring love drama about two teenagers battle to be together, in a land where your own choice of spouse cannot be taken for granted. Shirin and Soran are secretly sweethearts, waiting for the right occasion to ask for their parent’s permission to get married. When Shirin’s mother dies, her father seeks to find a new wife. His chosen one has one demand for this marriage: Shirin has to marry her son. To be together, Soran and Shirin has evidently no other choice but to escape. Is the love between Shirin and Soran strong enough to handle the brutal reality?


Montreal World Film Festival 2011

A film by Bartosz Konopka
35 mm – DCP – Poland – 2011 – 90min

Original Languages : Polish
Cast: Marcin Dorocinski, Krzysztof Stroinski, Magdalena Poplawska

Tomek, a 30 year old man, escaped from the province and decided to sort out his life in a big city. He has a career as a TV reporter and has just started a family when he receives a message from a psychiatric hospital in his home town. His estranged father is there. Against himself and the advice of his closest ones, Tomek decides to reach out to his father, although they haven’t seen each other for years. As a result, Tomek gets involved in a relationship on the verge of craziness and normality, which will make him re-evaluate his entire life.
Polish director nominated for the Academy Award 2010 with Rabbit à la Berlin!


Best debut film at the Polish Film Festival Gdynia 2011
Best Make-Up Award for janusz Kaleja – Gdynia Polish Film Festival, Poland 2011
Best Polish Film – Insk Film Festival, Poland 2011

Montreal World Film Festival 2011 – FIRST FILM WORLD COMPETITION

A film by Anthony Baxter
HD – Uk – 2011 – 95min

Original Language: English

Donald Trump is not a subtle man. So when the tycoon developer sets out to build the world’s most luxurious golf resort, he naturally picks the bonniest seaside village in Scotland —the birthplace of the sport—as his proposed site. Nestled between ancient sand dunes and rolling greens, the picturesque town of Balmedie seems perfect, aside from a handful of residents who immediately worry over the impact the mammoth project will have on their beloved natural habitat. When farmer Michael Forbes refuses to sell his land to make way for the shovels, Trump’s goodwill publicity appearances turn into all-out declarations of war. As work literally threatens to bulldoze forward, locals dig in and document what they see as strong-arm tactics and a distinctly American bullying campaign.

The Sheffield Green Award 2011
Special Jury Prize at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival 2011!

Sheffield International Documentary Festival 2011 – Official Competition
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival 2011

A film by Arnaud Gaillard & Florent Vassault
HD – France – 2011 – 65min

Original Language: English

At nightfall, on the outskirts of Salt Lake City , surrounded by his family, a grandmother will attend the execution of her husband’s murderer. In Oklahoma , a former death row inmate exonered after 22 years in prison tells his amazing story. In Texas , a woman struggles against the criminal justice system for his son to survive, while he is awaiting his execution for 14 years. In Huntsville , a small provincial town in eastern Texas , the Department of correction performs the executions by lethal injection almost as a weekly ritual. Based on the numerous absurdities of the death penalty, the film shows through these three characters how this death sentence generates pain, unfairness, violence and inefficiency in the heart of the American society.

A film by Philip Judith-Gozlin
HD – France – 2011 – 64min
Original Language: French & English

Behind the nudity of this sculptural « Ebony Venus » Freda Josephine Mac Donald was a committed artist, a convinced militant and the mother of a multicultural family. Along the years she fought for numerous causes, first glory and then black and oppressed people. This film is an intimate portrait of a mixed blood African American woman, a less known side of Josephine Baker. A woman born in the USA and one of the precursors of a political and democratic change.

A film by Helene Lee & Christophe Farnarier
HD – France – 2011 – 90 & 52min
Original Language: English
At the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard Percival Howell (1893 – 1981) left Jamaica, became a sailor and travelled the world. On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from Gandhi to anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis, he sought to find his promised land. With this cocktail of ideas Leonard “Gong” Howell returned to Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta community in 1939.
Based on the novel by Hélène Lee, The First Rasta, released in the UK, France, Japan, Germany
Portobello Film Festival, London 2011 – CARRIBEAN FILM CORNER
Amsterdam African Film Festival – Caribbean Creativity 2011 – Rasta Event


A film by Marlène Ionesco
HD – France – 2011 – 95min
Original Language: French

The new feature length documentary of Marlène Ionesco focuses on the talented choreographer, Pierre Lacotte & on his muse Ghislaine Thesmar, prima ballerina & highly skilled professor at the Opéra de Paris. They dedicated their whole life to the Ballet. Pierre Lacotte dancer and choreographer, has composed the most beautiful choreographies (Marco Spada, The Voice, The Night is the Witch, La Sylphide , Ondine,…) performed by the prima ballerinas of the Bolchoï, the Kirov and the Opéra de Paris. Nowadays Pierre Lacotte is considered by his peers as the precious guardian of the romantic ballet. A Life for ballet explores 60 years of ballet, from 1954 to 2010, through archives unseen before. Forty five minutes of ballets excerpts (with the foremost ballerinas such as Rudolf Noureev, Agnès Letestu , Michael Denard, Evgenia Obratsova, Svetlana Zakharova…) illustrate the strong testimonies of this unusual couple and give resonance to this poetic, aesthetic and contemporary opus.

Pierre Lacotte’s actuality
March 2011: Coppelia at the Opera de Paris
May 2011: Ondine performed by Evgenia Obratsova at The Marinsky Royal Theatre (Saint-Pertesburg)
26th of October 2011: La Sylphide at the Opera of Vienne
3rd of December 2011: La Sylphide at the Stanislavski Theatre (Moscow)
Coming up 2011: Merry Widow & The Three Musketers (P.Lacotte’s creation)
in Japan

Ghislaine Thesmar continues teaching to the prima ballerinas of the Opera de Paris.

The Opéra de Paris will be on tour in:
Singapore: 16-22 January 2012
USA: Chicago 22nd June 2012 // Washington 1st July 2012// New York 8th July 2012
Marlène Ionesco also directed Othello’s Dream, Like a Dream, Flight of Eagle Spirit & Views of a Principle Dancer.
Starring Rudolf Noureev, Agnès Letestu , Michael Denard, Evgenia Obratsova, Svetlana Zakharova!
Kaunas International Film Festival 2011


Anaïs Clanet Clémentine Hugot
Wide House – General Manager
Wide Management – Head of International Sales
& Acquisitions
c +33 6 83 22 18 06
Attending from
9th to 16th September
at Unifrance Booth
at Hyatt Hotel – Mezzanine Floor

Wide Management – Head of Film Sales & Acquisitions
c +33 7 61 57 96 86
ch AT
Attending from
8th to 15th September
at Unifrance Booth
at Hyatt Hotel – Mezzanine Floor

40 rue Sainte-Anne | 75002 Paris | FRANCE
T. +33 1 53 95 04 64 | F. +33 1 53 95 04 65
NEW direct phone line for festivals & special screenings purposes: +33 1 53 95 24 44

Join the WIDE on Facebook here! Download our line up, our catalogues and subscribe to our newsletter on our website:

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox