Iran asks award-winning film-maker to report to prosecutor

AFP , Wednesday 20 Sep 2017

Director Mohammad Rasoulof
Director Mohammad Rasoulof during the 70th Cannes Film Festival (Photo: Reuters)

Iranian authorities have asked award-winning film director Mohammad Rasoulof to report to the prosecutor's office after confiscating his passport at Tehran airport, a co-producer of his latest film said Tuesday.

On Friday, Rasoulof "was detained for two hours at the airport and his passport was confiscated without the slightest explanation", said Kaveh Farnam, who co-produced the prize-winning film "Lerd".

Rasoulof, who has previously been jailed for "anti-regime propaganda", was "invited" to present himself in person to the prosecutor for media and culture, Farnam said.

The director would probably go "next week", which in Iran starts on Saturday, he said, adding: "We have no idea what's going on".

Lerd won the top prize in the "Un Certain Regard" section at this year's Cannes film festival.

The film is about a man working on a goldfish farm in northern Iran who becomes caught up in corrupt ties between local leaders and businessmen.

Since receiving the award, Rasoulof had twice entered Iran without problems, Farnam said.

On Friday, he returned to Iran after screening his film at the Telluride film festival in the United States.

Rasoulof was sentenced to six years in prison in 2010 for a documentary about protests after the disputed re-election of then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the previous year.

In 2011 while he was still in jail, Rasoulof took best director in the same competition in Cannes for "Goodbye".

Another of his films, "Manuscripts Don't Burn", about authors and activists murdered in the 1980s and 1990s, was shown at Cannes in 2013.

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