Venice Film Festival to Hold Flash Mob in Solidarity With Iranian People After Saeed Roustaee Conviction

The upcoming Venice Film Festival has announced it will hold a flash mob on the red carpet in solidarity with the women and men of Iran “who are fighting for their freedom and against the ongoing repression” and also “the filmmakers and artists who have been arrested or imprisoned,” the fest said in a statement on Friday.

Festival organizers specified that the flash mob is partly in reaction to the conviction earlier this month in Iran of director Saeed Roustaee (pictured), who was sentenced to six months in prison for showing his latest film “Leila’s Brothers” at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and banned from making movies. Roustaee had been in the Venice Horizons section in 2019 with the film “Just 6.5.”

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Venice also held a red carpet flash mob last year in solidarity with then incarcerated auteur Jafar Panahi.

Directors, artists and other personalities present at the Lido on Sept. 2 will be invited to participate in a flash mob at 6 p.m. on the red carpet of the Palazzo del Cinema in order to gain awareness from the media, governments and humanitarian organizations worldwide with regard to the situation of the Iranian people.

This year’s flash mob is on the same day as the screening in Horizons of the film “Tatami,” co-directed by Israeli director Guy Nattiv and Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi. The film reconstructs the true tale of a young female Judo champion whom Iranian authorities wanted to force to withdraw from a competition in order to keep her from competing against an Israeli athlete.

The 80th Venice International Film Festival will run Aug. 30-Sept. 9.

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