Kurdish Human Rights Project is disturbed to learn that Bahman Ghobadi, director of many award-winning films including Turtles Can Fly has been banned from filming in his native Iran.
In a press statement dated 19 January, Ghobadi stated that he first learned of the ban on a cinema website on which the Cinema Department in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance had announced ‘Under current circumstances and according to numerous reasons and based on regulations production of any film by Bahman Ghobadi is not within the professional filmmaking agenda of the General Censors Office’. Though he initially believed that there had been some sort of misunderstanding, enquiries by his office did not elicit any formal denial of the ban by officials.
This ban comes on the heels of increasing difficulties and obstacles faced by the director in the production of his previous film Half Moon, for which, he claims, he was subjected to accusations of being a separatist, despite statements on his part that he regards himself ‘as an Iranian Kurd and condemn(s) even an inch of my country to be disintegrated’. Although in the past Ghobadi has remained silent during government-instigated disruption to his work, his recent press release stated ‘if the Censors Office in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance refuses to issue a permit for the making of my new film, I will personally take action and start its shooting in the streets of Tehran’.
In reaction to news of the ban, KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz stated ‘Iranian cinema, in particular the work of Bahman Ghobadi, is held in the highest esteem worldwide, a symbol of the cultural richness of Iran and the creativity of its citizens. Kurdish Human Rights Project calls on the Iranian authorities immediately to lift this needless and damaging restriction on free expression and to allow the work of Ghobadi to continue unhindered.’
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Kurdish Human Rights Project
11 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1DH
Tel: 020 7405 3835
Kurdish Human Rights Project is an independent, non-political human rights organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of the human rights of all people in the Kurdish regions. It is a registered charity, founded and based in London
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