European Film Academy, Festivals Join Calls to Release Imprisoned Iranian Actress Taraneh Alidoosti

Several of Europe’s key film organizations, including the European Film Academy, the German Film Academy, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, and the Berlin and Rotterdam film festivals issued a joint statement on Wednesday protesting the arrest of Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti and calling for her immediate release.

The Salesman star, one of the most famous faces of Iranian cinema, was detained on Saturday, Dec. 17 after posting messages on social media expressing solidarity with the antigovernment protests that have rocked Iran since September.

“The imprisonment of Taraneh, of one of Iran’s most famous performers, sends a clear signal to celebrities [that the Iranian regime] will not tolerate any challenge to its rapidly crumbling authority,” said EFA chair Mike Downey in the statement. “We call on Iranian authorities to put an end to the arbitrary detentions. The Iranian people are being denied fundamental freedoms, among them expression and peaceful assembly.”

In addition to prominent figures from the film industry — well-known Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof have also been jailed for criticizing the regime in Tehran — Downey noted that “lawyers, cultural figures, journalists and campaigners” have also been targeted.

The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk and its founding institutions, expressed their “full and heartfelt solidarity with all those in Iran who stand up for their basic human rights and the freedom of expression, and call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Taraneh Alidoosti and her colleagues.”

Two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who has directed Alidoosti in four features, recently called for her release in a post on social media. “If showing such support [for protesters] is a crime,” Farhadi wrote, “then tens of millions of people of this land are criminals.”

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