Met with an independent Iranian distributor today and had a lengthy solemn discussion about the dire state for the film business in a country that once was thriving. Media needs to pay more attention to what is happening in this country. 2000 journalists in prison and short trials followed by executions says it all.

Tim Burton’s decision to ask Jafar Panahi (APSA Jury Member 2007) on the jury for this year’s Cannes will have the world’s film media focusing on an empty seat. His imprisonment since March caused outrage around the world yet he remains there along with many others. The Iranian government is pushing the industry from cinema to television which they own and control. Distributors are going out of business and the famous Fajr International Film Festival was internationally boycotted but also many Iranian people chose not to attend. Normally cinema punters would line the streets for blocks. There are 15 Iranian titles screening in the market place. Children’s features, documentaries and narratives. Keen to see as many as I can as I adore their cinema. I look forward to seeing Mohammad Atebbai our Iranian Nominations Council member at our launch on Sunday evening. There is also a chance the truly delightful Iranian actress Fatameh Motamedarya may be in attendance along with Bahman Ghobadi. Let’s hope so.

Jafar Panahi in Australia at the first annual APSAs where he sat on the inaugural Jury with Kim Dong-ho
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