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Iranian director Mani Haghighi banned from leaving Iran to attend London film festival

The ongoing crackdown on filmmakers in Iran continues at a worrying pace.

Mani Haghighi is the last to be affected as the actor and director was unable to leave Iran to attend the BFI London Film Festival, where his film subtract was set to premiere on October 15. The Hollywood Reporter understands that Haghighi, who first debuted the film in Toronto, where he was able to attend, was stopped at the airport in Iran and his passport was confiscated. He has since returned to his home in Tehran.

“We understand that no reason was given to Mani Haghighi for the seizure. The BFI London Film Festival supports Haghighi and all filmmakers in their freedom to make their films and present them around the world,” said a spokesperson for the film festival.

The spokesperson added: “Earlier this week, in solidarity with imprisoned Iranian filmmakers and the brave women of Iran fighting for their freedom, the filmmakers and delegates of the BFI London Film Festival joined festival director Tricia Tuttle for a moment of solidarity and reflection. ”

Haghighi is a hugely popular filmmaker and a fixture on the festival circuit. Haghighi has premiered several films in Berlin, including Modest Reception, Pig and A Dragon Arrives, and collaborated with Asghar Farhadi on two feature films. As an actor, he starred in Farhadi’s critically acclaimed breakthrough film About Elly and, most recently, Borzou Niknejad’s 2020 drama Amphibious.

Haghighi’s inability to leave Iran comes amid unrest in the country following the death of Mahsa Amini while he was in police custody in Tehran on September 16. Her alleged murder by the authorities sparked widespread protests with thousands – many of them teenage girls and women – taking to the streets to oppose the regime and defend their basic rights, especially women’s rights, while a brutal authoritarian crackdown was reported. human rights organizations has resulted in the killing of hundreds of people so far. Farhadi was one of the country’s most prominent voices, the two-time Oscar winner who released a video and statement last month inviting artists to show solidarity with the people of Iran and praising the “progressive and courageous” women in the protests. lead.

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