DGA Stands With Dissident Iranian Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof: “No Director Should Fear Imprisonment…” – Cannes

The Directors Guild of America is standing in solidarity with Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof who had fled authoritarian Iran, and is currently at the Cannes Film Festival with his competition title The Seed of the Sacred Fig.

“The Directors Guild of America strongly supports Director Mohammad Rasoulof in his flight from unjust sentencing and we stand in solidarity with him as he seeks safe harbor. No Director should fear imprisonment, physical punishment, or fines for exercising their right to express themselves artistically,” said DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter.

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“It is imperative that filmmakers be allowed to freely pursue their calling without fear of persecution. Creative freedom is crucial to liberty, art, culture and human rights, and we stand together with the world’s film community to protect this fundamental right and support Director Mohammad Rasoulof in his fight for freedom of expression.”

The DGA’s statement comes in the wake of news that Rasoulof will attend Friday’s Cannes premiere of his competition movie The Seed of the Sacred Fig; the filmmaker leaving Iran where the country’s authorities had handed the filmmaker an eight-year prison sentence for “signing statements and making films and documentaries.”

The Seed of the Sacred Fig is about an investigating judge in Tehran who grapples with paranoia as nationwide political protests intensify and his gun mysteriously disappears.

Rasoulof’s has a history of being in the crosshairs of Iran’s authoritarian Islamic Republic government. He was arrested in July 2022 for signing a petition titled “Lay Down Your Arms” calling on security forces to exercise restraint in relation to popular protests. He was released on a temporary basis in February 2023 from Tehran’s Evin jail due to ill health and has been under house arrest ever since.

The Iranian filmmaker has had a long run with Cannes: His films Manuscripts Don’t Burn (2013) and A Man Of Integrity (2017) world premiered in Un Certain Regard in 2013 and 2017, winning the Fipresci Prize and best film prize respectively.

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