Friday, May 24, 2024

Mohammad Rasoulof flees Iran post eight-year prison sentence for his Cannes-bound film Seed of the Sacred Fig


Mohammad Rasoulof was sentenced to eight years in prison after refusing to withdraw his new film, The Seed of the Sacred Fig, from the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Iran. Previously, Tehran banned him from attending the Cannes Film Festival. In a statement quoted by Deadline, the filmmaker confirmed that he had fled from his home country. (Also read: Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof banned from attending Cannes Film Festival 2024; here’s everything you need to know)

Mohammad Rasoulof has fled from Iran after he received an eight-year prison sentence.

Iranian filmmaker reveals why he chose exile

The Iranian filmmaker’s statement read, “I arrived in Europe a few days ago after a long and complicated journey. About a month ago, my lawyers informed me that my eight-year prison sentence was confirmed in the court of appeal and would be implemented on short notice. Knowing that the news of my new film would be revealed very soon, I knew that without a doubt, a new sentence would be added to these eight years. I didn’t have much time to make a decision. I had to choose between prison and leaving Iran. With a heavy heart, I chose exile. The Islamic Republic confiscated my passport in September 2017. Therefore, I had to leave Iran secretly.

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Mohammad Rasoulof seeks help from cinema community

Mohammad pointed out how civil rights activists and those who speak against the establishment are harassed by the government. The filmmaker has previously also been arrested for being critical of the country’s administration. Mohammad concluded his post by urging the world’s cinema community to support free speech. He also expressed concern for the well-being and safety of those who helped him in making The Seed of the Sacred Fig.

Mohammad Rasoulof receives support from distributors

Jean-Christophe Simon, CEO of Films Boutique and Parallel45, who are distributing Mohammad’s film said, “We are very happy and much relieved that Mohammad has safely arrived in Europe after a dangerous journey,” quoted by Variety. He further added, “We hope he will be able to attend the Cannes premiere of ‘The Seed of the Sacred Fig’ in spite of all attempts to prevent him from being there in person.”

About Mohammad Rasoulof

Mohammad has previously received many laurels at the Cannes International Film Festival. He won the Un Certain Regard and François Chalais Award – Special Mention for Goodbye (2011) at Cannes. The filmmmaker was honoured with FIPRESCI Prize – Un Certain Regard at Cannes for Manuscripts Don’t Burn (2013). He also received Un Certain Regard Award for A Man of Integrity (2017).




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