Iranian director Mani Haqiqi, whose new film "Rahat" will be screened at the London Film Festival this weekend, has been banned from leaving Iran. Despite attending the Toronto International Film Festival in September, Iranian authorities allegedly prevented Hakim from boarding a plane bound for London.
In a statement obtained by Deadline , a London Film Festival spokesperson confirmed that Haggai had been "turned down" when he attempted to board the plane and had his passport confiscated. "He returned to his home in Tehran", reads the note. We understand that real money has not been given any reason for forfeiture. The BFI London Film Festival supports Hajiji and all directors in the freedom to make and present films around the world. "
The action against Haqi is the latest step in Iran's crackdown on filmmakers amid mass protests. In July, famed director Jaafar Panahi was sentenced to six years in prison, sparking protests and protest marches at the Venice Film Festival in September. Iranian media reported that Panahi was arrested after learning of the arrest of two of his fellow directors, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mustafa Al-Ay Ahmed. Prior to their arrest, Rasoulaf and Al-Ahmad exchanged statements on social media criticizing the Iranian government's response to protesters in Abadan.
A few months later, the protests in Iran became more violent after the death, on September 16, of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was taken into police custody. Three days before her death, Amini was arrested for wearing an excessively loose veil. Although Iranian authorities claimed Amini died of a heart attack, eyewitnesses and inmates on his side said officers brutally beat Amini.
Hajiji spoke freely about his arrest and protests in a taped statement that will be shown before the premiere of "The Submission " in London on Saturday. In a video obtained by Variety , Genuine apologized for his absence and complained about the "extremely aggressive behavior" of the Iranian authorities. Although Haqiqi claimed that "no reasonable explanation was given" for his arrest, he explained two of his theories as to why the "Iranian regime" would have wanted to keep him in their country.
"Firstly, a few weeks ago I recorded a video on Instagram in which I criticized the mandatory veil law in Iran, the repression of young people protesting against it and many other injustices in their lives. Perhaps the authorities thought that by holding me here they would be able to monitor me closely, perhaps from During my threats and silences .. Well, the fact that I'm talking to you in this video right now is kind of a bane of that plan.
He continued: The second theory is that this unit is the opposite. They should make my country and my native country an intolerable prison for me and punish me by forcing me to remain their prisoner. Well, let me tell you that being here in Tehran right now is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. I cannot put into words the joy and honor of witnessing this great moment in history. And I'd rather be here than anywhere else in the world right now. So if it's punishment for what you did, do it. I hope you enjoy the movie. I promise to be with you soon in my next movie. And let me conclude with the three words that have given us so much Iranian joy and courage in recent weeks: women, life, freedom ”.