Iranian filmmakers Saeed Roustayi and Javad Norouzbeigi jailed for six months

The director and his producer have also been barred from making films by the courtroom in Iran soon after showcasing a movie at Cannes very last yr without the need of authorities permission.

An Iranian filmmaker and his producer reportedly deal with prison time and staying barred from filmmaking following they showcased a movie at the Cannes Film Pageant with out authorities acceptance, drawing speedy criticism internationally from top American director Martin Scorsese and many others.


Director Saeed Roustayi and producer Javad Norouzbeigi travelled to Cannes last year to demonstrate Leila’s Brothers, competing for the festival’s grand Palme d’Or prize. The movie focuses on a household having difficulties to make ends satisfy as Iran faces worldwide sanctions and involves sequences showing protests in the Islamic Republic as a series of nationwide demonstrations shook the nation.

The movie also depicts stability forces beating demonstrators protesting Iran’s ailing financial system, which has previously sparked mass protests and bloody security drive crackdowns killing hundreds. The loved ones in it loses all its price savings over the speedy depreciation of Iran’s rial currency, one thing Iranians throughout the place have lived with for several years.

In addition, the ageing patriarch, hoarding his family’s prosperity and forcing them into squalor for a possibility at personalized glory, can be found as an allegory to Iran’s theocracy.

“Leila’s Brothers” did not acquire the coveted Palme d’Or but ended up profitable two other awards at Cannes. On the other hand, authorities in Tehran did not nominate the film for the Oscars irrespective of its achievements at the renowned French movie competition, a thing Roustayi afterwards criticised in printed remarks.

On Tuesday, Etemad newspaper documented that Tehran’s Innovative Court sentenced the two guys to 6 months in prison above developing “propaganda towards the system.”

The adult men showcased the movie “in line with the counterrevolutionary movement … with the goal of fame-searching for in purchase to get ready fodder and intensify the media fight from Iran’s spiritual sovereignty,” the courtroom conclusion examine, in accordance to Etemad, a Tehran-primarily based newspaper operate by reformists.

The judge suspended all but 10-odd times of the jail sentence for the following five several years, the newspaper explained. Nonetheless, the adult males will also be banned from filmmaking and speaking with individuals in the industry in the course of that time period, as very well as will have to show up at a mandatory filmmaking study course though “keeping nationwide and moral passions.” The sentence is appealable.

No other big media outlet in Iran claimed the sentencing and Etemad did not describe how it arrived about its information. Iran’s Groundbreaking Courts conduct closed-doorway hearings over alleged threats to Iran’s government, using almost each case involving a suspect with Western ties or dealing with accusations of espionage.

The global reaction from the sentence was swift. 

Scorsese, identified for his films GoodFellas, Casino and the forthcoming Killers of the Flower Moon, requested people today on the web to indication a petition to protest the men’s sentence “so they can carry on to be a pressure of excellent in the planet.”

The Biarritz International Film Pageant, at which Roustayi chaired the jury this calendar year, promptly criticised the sentence as nicely and asked Iran’s judiciary to quash it.


“His only crime is staying a absolutely free-spirited filmmaker,” the pageant stated. “Although he’s not even 35, his sharp get on society would make him a person of present-day major worldwide filmmakers.”

Even inside of Iran, you will find been anger in excess of the sentencing. The Iranian Cinema Administrators Association issued an on the internet assertion, indicating that “the race to concern insulting verdicts, which at the exact time undermines the judiciary by itself, has entered a new phase.”

“If you think that by issuing these types of humiliating rulings, you are helping to address problems, provide people collectively, produce pleasure and hope and bolster countrywide security, then you have not been productive,” the assertion mentioned.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not promptly reply to a request for remark.

Iranian filmmakers, while applauded internationally, have extended confronted governing administration stress back household. The identical goes for actors, significantly after the September 2022 loss of life of 22-yr-old Mahsa Amini soon after staying detained by the country’s morality law enforcement around not adequately wearing a necessary scarf. Her death sparked nationwide protests and observed a safety power crackdown that killed around 500 folks and saw extra than 22,000 other individuals arrested.


One particular of the guide actors in Leila’s Brothers, the Oscar-successful Taraneh Alidoosti, identified herself detained and later on introduced on bail soon after putting up on the web in help of the protests. She posted an impression of herself, with no the necessary head covering, holding a sign examining “Ladies, Lifetime, Independence” in Kurdish – the slogan embraced by demonstrators at the time.