2,000 sign petition to lift ban on House of Cinema

Growing outrage over decision to ban cinema guild

Close to 2,000 members of Iran’s film community have voiced their protest against the Iranian government’s decision to ban the House of Cinema, an independently run organisation that promotes the film industry.

In a petition published by the Kaleme website, the signatories said they opposed “the order to dissolve the House of Cinema and … call for this house’s continuation.”

The list of signatories includes the names of renowned Iranian filmmakers and actors such as Majid Majidi, Kamal Tabrizi, Manouchehr Mohammadi, Ebrahim Hatami-Kia, Niki Karimi, Leila Hatami, Parviz Parastooei, Atila Pesyani and Shahab Hosseini.

Following the decision to shutter the House of Cinema, well-acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farghadi, who recently won the best foreign language film award at the 69th Golden Globes, wrote a letter to the deputy of Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance calling for the decision to be put to a vote.

Many believe that the relentless efforts to outlaw the House of Cinema are rooted in the rigged 2009 presidential election when a large contingent of Iranian actors and filmmakers threw their weight behind opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi by publicly endorsing him and appearing in his campaign ads.

Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi spearheaded the Green Movement until mid-February 2011 where they were placed under house arrest after they had called for protests in solidarity with the Arab Spring on 14 February. The demonstrations were marred by the security forces’ violent crackdowns which left at least two dead.

Since the start of their arbitrary detention, the 2009 presidential candidates have not yet been granted a fair trial. Rights groups say their continued captivity and maltreatment is inconsistent not only with human rights provisions but also with Iran’s own constitution.

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