While the festival itself has left a seat on its jury open for the imprisoned filmmaker, that’s not the only way the 2011 Berlin Film Festival will be honoring and showing support for jailed Iranian director Jafar Panahi.
THR is reporting that the festival will be screening four of Panahi’s films, one for each of the festival’s main sections: Offside will show in competition (it won the festival’s Silver Bear in 2005), The Circle will play in the Panorama sidebar, Crimson Gold in Forum, and The White Balloon will screen in Berlin’s youth film sidebar Generation.
It may not seem like a big deal to most, but while the news surrounding Panahi’s situation has not been great, it is really nice to see the support come flowing in from not only filmmakers, but entire festivals as well. It’s a horrible and unjust situation, and while it doesn’t appear to be changing, this is one story that should never be put out of the minds of the public, film fans or not. Here’s hoping we get some good news soon.
Our thoughts are with Panahi and fellow imprisoned director, Mohammad Rasoulof, and their families.
From the Berlinale press release:
Shortly after the Berlinale invited Jafar Panahi to be on this year’s International Jury, he was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from filmmaking for the next 20 years. Ever since, people have been protesting worldwide against this verdict as it violates the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the arts. In his films, Jafar Panahi critically explores the social situation in his homeland. His conviction violates the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the arts.
The Berlin International Film Festival very strongly condemns the harsh sentences imposed on Jafar Panahi and his colleague director Mohammad Rasoulof. The Berlinale is holding a place open in the Jury for Jafar Panahi to signalize its support for his struggle for freedom. Festival Director Dieter Kosslick states: ‘We invited Jafar Panahi to be on the International Jury in 2011. But then in December 2010 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment and banned from filmmaking for the next 20 years. We are going to use every opportunity to protest against this drastic verdict.’
On February 17, the Berlinale Talent Campus and the World Cinema Fund are organizing a panel discussion entitled ‘Censored Cinema’ with Iranian filmmakers and artists on censorship, and the restriction of freedom of opinion and expression in Iran. The filmmakers Rafi Pitts (The Hunter, Berlinale Competition 2010), Ali Samadi-Ahadi (The Green Wave, 2010) and Sepideh Farsi (Tehran Without Permission, 2009) as well as author and activist Mehrangiz Kar will take part in the discussion. The event will be held in the Hebbel am Ufer / HAU1 at 2:00 pm.
To draw attention to the fact that International Jury member Jafar Panahi will not be able to attend the Berlinale, the Festival will show one film by this renowned director in each of several sections.
Offside by Jafar Panahi
On February 11, 2011, the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, the prize-winning Berlinale film Offside (2005, Silver Bear 2006) will be shown in the Berlinale Palast at 4:30 pm. Many illustrious guests are expected who want to express their solidarity by attending the screening. Festival Director Kosslick will introduce the film.
Each of the following screenings in the Jafar Panahi film series will be introduced and presented by Iranian directors or actors:
Talaye sorkh (Crimson Gold), 2003 on February 12 in Cinestar 8 at 11:00 am
Introduction & Presentation by Rafi Pitts
Untying the Knot, 2007 on February 12 in CinemaxX 5 at 4:00 pm
Introduction & Presentation by Ayat Najafi
(Repetition of Untying the Knot on February 16 in CinemaxX 3 at 10:00 pm, on February 17 in Colosseum 1 at 5:45 pm, on February 18 in CinemaxX 5 at 4:00 pm)
Badkonak-e Sefid (The White Balloon), 1995 on February 14 in House of World Cultures (HKW) at 4:30 pm
Introduction & Presentation by Jasmin Tabatabai (actress)
Dayereh (The Circle), 2000 on February 17 in Cinestar 3 at 5:45 pm
Introduction & Presentation by Ali Samadi Ahadi