Filmmakers call on Iranian authorities to drop charges against 2 movie directors

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Filmmakers and movie festival organizers from around the world have called on Iranian authorities to drop all charges against two Iranian film directors and lift their travel ban.

Maryam Moghadam and Behtash Sanaeeha had planned to travel to Paris in September for post-production on their new film, “My Favorite Cake,” but authorities confiscated their passports and informed them that they were banned from leaving Iran, said an open letter by PEN America on Tuesday that was signed by 30 filmmakers and artists.

The two were among some 70 Iranian filmmakers and movie industry workers who had joined the hashtag #put_your_gun_down, which was a reference to a violent crackdown during an unrest following the Metropol building collapse in the southwestern city of Abadan that killed at least 41 people in May 2022.

Moghadam and Sanaeeha gained international recognition for their 2020 film “Ballad of a White Cow,” which won several prizes, including an Audience Award at the Berlinale, Best Film at the 2022 Der Neue Heimatfilm Festival, and a Special Mention at the Zurich Film Festival.

Iran ranked second on the PEN America 2022 Freedom to Write Index list of the top 10 jailers of writers globally.

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