|Statement of the Association of Film Trades on the detained documentary Filmmakers|
According to a report from the House of Cinema, the Iranian Association of Film Trades issued a statement in which they requested their members to preserve their restraint and be patient. They also requested security organizations to observe impartiality in their treatment and investigation of the detained filmmakers, and demanded urgent action and the issuance of fair and just verdicts from the judiciary authorities.
Text of the statement:
About one week has passed since several of our documentary filmmakers were arrested. Unfortunately, the arrest has been caused by a misunderstanding regarding the sale of films created by our colleagues to the BBC television network.
To begin with it should be asked whether there are laws prohibiting sale of cinematic productions to the BBC network. If there is any such law, then why is it that government exhibiting and distribution organizations engage in transactions with the said network on the international scenes? Does the law authorize government organizations to engage in such transactions and forbids private filmmakers from engaging the same type of transactions?
The rise of the Iranian cinema on the international scenes owes to the wise management of the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Imam Khomeini. The Iranian cinema is one of the fruits of the Islamic revolution, and social documentary filmmaking is an inseparable part of the cinema. It is sad to observe that the Iranian documentarists, especially those working in the social areas, have been facing numerous obstacles and inattention for years. They often have to make their films without any government support and have to rely on their own personal resources. Their products do not have public screening and no government organization offers to buy them, while their distribution through home video channels is impossible. Under the circumstance, we have to ask the question of how these filmmakers are to provide for their living expenses.
In all parts of the world governments support sale and export of films and artworks by offering a variety of incentives to artists. Iranian artists do not expect the government to help them; they only expect that sale of films to television networks is not treated as serious security offense, and are not announced by the media as confirmed violations of law even before the offense has been considered at the court. And it is sad to observe that the minister of culture and Islamic guidance reiterates the accusations instead of helping the artists.
Artists need the good will of the authorities more than anything else. We ask our colleagues and the film trades to preserve their equanimity and we are confident that the security organizations will treat the arrested artists with impartiality and observe their human prerogatives, and that the judicial authorities will study the issue in fair tribunals so that the international prestige of the Islamic Republic of Iran does not suffer as a result of misunderstandings and mismanagements.