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Iran Sentences Prominent Filmmaker to Six Months In Prison

Renowned Iranian filmmaker Saeed Roustayi has been sentenced to six-month in prison on charges of “anti-regime propaganda activity”.

The regime handed down these charges after Roustayi’s defied their explicit objections to allow his film ‘Leila’s Brothers’ to be screened at Cannes Film Festival, Etemad Online revealed.

Roustayi will serve a preliminary portion equivalent to one-twentieth of his total sentence, while the remaining term will be suspended for five years. During this suspension, he is bound to refrain from any pursuits associated with the alleged offense, discontinue associations with fellow filmmaking professionals, and successfully complete a specialized curriculum at the state TV’s university, in the religious city of Qom. This curriculum will focus on “filmmaking while preserving national and ethical interests.”

‘Leila’s Brothers’, which gives an insight into Iranian society through a complex family saga, was selected for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival Competition section, where it won the Citizen’s Award and the Prix FIPRESCI, chosen by The International Federation of Film Critics. It was also nominated for the distinguished Palme d’Or accolade.

Recognized for his thought-provoking cinematic narratives that explore themes of societal disparity and his nuanced portrayals of women within Iranian society, Roustayi’s artistic endeavors have garnered widespread admiration and commendation.

Last November, The House of Cinema, Iran’s professional film association, compiled a list of 100 filmmakers as well as other movie, music and theater personalities who have been either arrested or banned from work amidst nationwide anti-government protests. Such reports underscore the increasingly difficult and severe restrictions, which impede the work of creative professionals.

Source: Iranintl