Association of Iranian Film and Theatre Artists Abroad (AIFTAA)
Who are We and What are our Objectives?
We are a group of theatre and film artists, most of whom had no choice but to leave Iran at different times, to scatter all over the world. This is because in Iran, under the rule of the Islamic Republic, we did not enjoy the necessary security for creative life and work, without censorship and surveillance. Some of us were active in theatre and film in Iran until very recently, but when the Iranian people’s revolutionary movement began, those of us too, like so many other Iranians, accepted the consequences of supporting the movement openly.
This remarkable and one of a kind social, cultural, and political revolutionary movement has taken shape with women as its axis. It has stirred us, regardless of our diverse worldviews, to come together, to support the rights of political prisoners and protesting artists who are under pressure, who have been harmed or imprisoned. We also stand with the progressive movement of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ (Persian: Zan, Zendegi, Azadi; Kurdish: Jin, Jiyan, Azadi).
In order to build greater support for this revolutionary movement among the theatre and film artists of the world, we will strive to highlight the Islamic Republic’s use of artistic festivals and gatherings around the world for propaganda purposes. In doing so, we try to put an end to the presence and influence of Iranian state institutions in such events, and to support independent artists.
We stand together in protest against institutionalized government violence, misogyny, and all types of discrimination and infringement of the rights of citizens, and commit ourselves to amplify the voice of the people until our shared values, ‘freedom and equality’, are realized.
The Current Situation inside Iran
It has been over two months since the revolutionary movement began in Iran; a movement that was triggered by the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Jina (Mahsa) Amini in the custody of the Iranian Hijab Police. Since then, the people of Iran have taken to the streets unarmed, courageously expressing their protest in slogans and actions demanding freedom and justice. The Islamic Republic’s response, however, has been bullets, arrests, and torture.
Extensive detentions of thousands of protesters, the execution by hanging of two protestors called Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, and death sentences issued for several other political prisoners, the brutal repression of the brave Kurdish and Baluch peoples, opening direct fires on people, arrests and murders of children under the age of 18, the rape of some of the prisoners and protesters in Tehran and other cities across Iran, and the pressuring of the families of the victims, they all indicate that the Islamic Republic is continuing the repressive approach it has adopted over the last forty three years.
At the same time, we have witnessed that some of the Iranian film and theatre artists have joined the movement, removing their compulsory hijab, openly protesting repression and massacre, and in doing so, standing with the people of Iran. A number of these artists have been arrested and imprisoned, and others are under constant pressure to remain silent.
The time has come for widespread protests to prevent the Islamic Republic from committing any more atrocities and to join forces with the people of Iran to put an end to this repressive regime.
Oppression of Film and Theatre Artists
The Islamic Republic’s animosity towards independent artists is so great that it tries to prevent any manifestation of independent art, including any attempt at documenting its crimes. Shirin Alizadeh and Ghazaleh Chalavi were murdered by bullets fired directly while recording videos of state violence. The camera person Sepehr Sharifi is also among the 450 who have been killed during the street protests. More than 18,000 have been arrested so far during this revolutionary movement, including many film and theatre artists. The names listed below are not the names of every film and theatre artist arrested, but just those whose names and news of their arrests have reached the media until the moment of the release of this statement. Many more artists have been interrogated, and many have been temporarily released on bail and are awaiting trial or have been banned from travelling abroad or even continuing their profession. Hosein Mohammadi, the 26-year-old theatre actor, has also received the death sentence.
Names of Some of the Arrested Film and Theatre Artists
Alireza Amoozadeh (Field of Theatre), Faezeh Ayin (Designer), Samiramis Babaie (Field of Theatre), Amir Hossein Barimani (Filmmker), Elaheh Bayramian (Field of Theatre), Azadeh Dehghani (Filmmaker, Animator), Hossein Esmaili (Field of Theatre), Sajjad Fatahpour (Field of Theatre), Fatemeh Habibi (Actresse), Hessam Hassanabadi (Cameraman), Keivan Hosseini (Field of Theatre), Seyed Mohammad Hosseini (Clipmaker), Mehdi Hosseini (Field of Theatre), Behnam Heydari (Field of Theatre), Mozhgan Inanlu (Filmmaker), Alireza Izadi (Filmmaker), Nooshin Jafari (Photographer), Adel Karimi (Filmmaker), Homayoun Khanlari (Field of Theatre), Siavash Khademhoseini (Actor), Toomaj Nourai (Filmmaker), Jafar Panahi (Filmmaker), Mahdokht Rahmani (Field of Theatre), Amirali Rahmati (Field of Theatre), Amirhosein Rahimi (Field of Theatre), Mohammad Ramezani (Photographer), Faramarz Ramezanian (Filmmaker), Pouria Ranjbar (Field of Theatre), Mohammad Rasouloff (Filmmaker), Mohammad Razazian (Filmmaker), Farhang Roshni (Director), Daniyal Safdari (Field of Theatre), Mohammad Sajedi (Field of Theatre), Shirin Samadi (Field of Theatre), Farinaz Saraf (Field of Theatre), Karim Soleimani (Playwright, Director), Shiva Shabani (Filmmaker), Arash Shahbazi (Field of Theatre), Ali Yazdali (Field of Theatre), Nik Yousefi (Filmmaker), Mohammad Zareie (Playwright, Director).
- We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including artists. We shall try all possible paths to reach this goal.
- We ask all film and theatre artists to stop or avoid working with the Islamic Republic’s security apparatuses and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
- We ask all festivals, cultural establishments, and arts and academic institutes around the world to stop or avoid any collaboration with the Islamic Republic’s state-affiliated institutions.
- We expect the international community to put widespread pressure on the Islamic Republic for an immediate cessation of death sentences and for answering for their inhumane crimes.
Let’s create a solidarity through which we can amplify the voices of Iranians, especially those of children and women. United we can give a new meaning to international solidarity.
Kaveh Abbasian (Filmmaker, Academic), Mohammad-Ali Behboudi (Actor, Director), Niloofar Beyzaie (Playwright, Theatre Director), Shabnam Farshadjoo (Actor), Yaghoob Keshavarz (Writer, Director), Atefeh Khademolreza (Filmmaker), Hossein Khandan (Writer & Director), Aida Keykhaii (Actor, Director), Kamran Malekmotiee (Actor), Didar Razzaghi Shirazi (Actor, Director), Maziar (Raphaël) Razaghi (sound engineer), Sahar Salahshoori (Filmmaker), Mohammadreza Shams (Filmmaker, Academic), Mehran Tamadon (Filmmaker), Mohammad Yaghoubi (Playwright, Director).
Asal Abbasian (Writer, Theater & Film Journalist), Manouchehr Abrontan (Documentary Filmmaker), Hossein Afsahi (Writer, Theatre Director in Exile), Omid Ahangar (Actor, Filmmaker), Shahram Alidi (Filmmaker), Marzieh Alivirdi (Actor), Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Actor), Farrokh Asadi (Actor, Theatre Director), Kazhan Asadi (Actor), Shahryar Assadi (Cinematographer), Mary Apick (Actor, Filmmaker), Shoreh Assemi (Actor, Theatre Director), Mehri Ataee (Costume & Stage Designer), Soheila Azizi (Actor), Mina Azarian (Actor), Behrokh Babai (Actor, Director), Jamshid Bahrami (Filmmaker), Sharifeh Banihashemi (Writer, Actor), Amir Barghashi (Actor), Elika Bavar (Hair and Makeup Artist), Alireza Behbahani (Documentery Filmmaker), Majid Beheshti (Actor, Filmmaker), Behrouz Behnejad (Director), Sassan Behrouzian (Writer, Filmmaker), Chakameh Chamanmah (Actor), Ferydoun Daemi (Dubbing Artist), Hamid Daneshvar (Actor, Director), Neda Ebadi (Animator), Javad Emami (Filmmaker), Hermin Eshghi (Actor), Parisa Entezam (Script Supervisor), Soussan Farrokhnia (Actor, Director), Shahyar Ghanbari (Filmmaker, Poet), Tina Gharavi (Artist, Filmmaker), Davood Gholamhoseyni (Actor, Director), Solmaz Gholami (Filmmaker), Majid Golbababai (Actor), Maryam Hassanzadeh (Graphiker), Helen Hemmati Hammarström (Director, Dramaturg, Actor), Reza Hesami (Actor, Director), Kamal Hosseini (Actor, Director), Kambiz Hosseini (Actor, TV Presenter), Shirin Hosseinpour (Actor), Borna Jafari (Colorist), Nooshin Jafari (Actor), Keyvan Jahanshahi (Film Composer), Guity Javadi (TV & Film Director), Hamidreza Javedan (Actor, Director in Exile), Katayoun Jalilipour (Filmmaker) , Ali Kamrani (Poet, Actor in Exile), Afshin Katanchi (Actor), Borna Kazerani (Filmmaker, Host), Mohammad Khalkhalian (Actor, Director), Alireza Khatami (Filmmaker, Academic), Maryam Keshavarz (Director), Nooshin Khany (Actor), Nasser Khavari (Voice Actor), Houman Khodadoust (Actor), Keyvan Mahmoodnezhad (Actor), Hamidreza Mahnani (Writer, Actor, Director), Erfan Malakouti (Writer, Director), Farhang Malek (Actor), Said Manafi (Filmmaker), Mahtab Mansour (Director), Sara Mashayekh (Theater Actor, Director), Somayeh Mirshamsi (Assistant Director), Mozaffar Moghaddam (Actor, Director), Ala Mohseni (Filmmaker), Alireza Mojallal (Actor, Producer), Taghi Mokhtar (Writer, Actor, Director), Said Mola (Actor, Director), Sarir Mostafanejad (Makeup Artist), Farhad Motaghi (Actor), Samaneh Naderidelpak (Photographer), Manouchehr Namvarazad (Actor, Director), Ahmad Nikazar (Actor, Filmmaker), Behruz Nikzat (Production Manager), Shahbaz Noshir (Actor, Filmmaker), Asghar Nosrati (Actor, Theater Researcher), Zanyar Omrani (Filmmaker), Saeed Owaisi (Actor, Director), Soheil Parsa (Theatre Director), Rahyar Rahimi (Actor), Massoud Rahnama (Actor, Director), Zoreh Ramsey (Actor), Sara Rastegar (Filmmaker), Samereh Rezaei (Actor, Filmmaker), Daryoush Rezvani (Writer, Director), Arian Risbaf (Actor, News Anchor), Amir Rohanifar (Actor, Director), Mahdiye Sadrnezhad (Actor, Makeup Artist), Leili Safdieh (Filmmaker, Editor), Hayedeh Safiyari (Editor), Sanaz Safaei (Actor), Nadereh Salarpour (Producer, Dubbing Artist), Samin Salek (Makeup Artist), Azar Salimi (Actor), Hamid Sayahzadeh (Actor), Maryam Sayyad (Mythological Consultant, Art Director in Film & Theatre), Shilan Shahbazi (Actor), Siba Shakib (Filmmaker, Writer), Sima Seyed (Actor), Nahid Saifolapour (Actor), Bita Shafipour (Filmmaker), Saeid Sharifian (Actor, Director), Houtan Shirazi (Producer, Director), Gelareh Siavash (Cinematographer), Hoda Sobhani (Filmmaker), Setareh Soheili (Actor), Amir Soleymani (Filmmaker), Ladan Tabatabaei (Actor), Massi Taghipoor (Actor, Director), Mohsen Taremi (Playwright, Actor), Susan Taslimi (Actor, Director), Mansour Tehrani (Filmmaker), Shabnam Tolouei (Actor, Director), Arash T. Riahi (Filmmaker, Producer), Bahram Vatanparast (Actor), Hamid Yasamin (Dubbing Artist), Hesam Yousefi (Filmmaker), Mohsen Zare (Writer, Director).
Oreet Ashery (Artist, Filmmaker), Clio Barnard (Filmmaker), Jordan Baseman (Artist, Filmmaker), Jerome Bel (Theater Director), Claudine Bories (Filmmaker), Patrice Chagnard (Filmmaker), Christophe Cognet (Filmmaker), Catherine Corsini (Filmmaker), Dietrich Brüggemann (Filmmaker), Mark Cousins (Filmmaker), Benedict Cumberbatch (Actor), Stephan Bruckmeier (Theatre Director), Denis Côté (Filmmaker), Shezad Dawood (Artist, Filmmaker), FM Einheit (Theatre & Film Composer), Vedat Erincin (Actor), Mike Figgis (Filmmaker), Andreas Fontana (Filmmaker), Stephanie Geiger (Costume and Stage Designer), Ute Hannig (Actress), Tom Hirtz (Theatre Director), Deborah Hofmann (Filmmaker), Joanna Hogg (Filmmaker), Eva Humburg (Costume & Stage Designer), Marc Issac (Filmmaker), Lisa Jopt (Actress, President of GDBA), Cedric Klapisch (Filmmaker), Andreas Klaue (Actor), Burghart Klaußner (Actor), Andrew Kötting (Filmmaker), Ernst Konarek (Actor, Director), Dirk Laucke (Playwright, Screenwriter), Paul Laverty (Screenwriter), Mike Leigh (Filmmaker), Philipp Leinemann (Filmmaker), Dani Levi (Filmmaker), Sharone Lifschitz (Artist, Filmmaker), Ken Loach (Filmmaker), Anamaria Marinca (Actor), Stefan Maurer (Theatre Director), Rolf Mautz (Actor), Avi Mograbi (Filmmaker), Carlos Motta (Filmmaker), Katie Mota (Filmmaker), Mauricio Mota (Producer), Thomas Nennstiele (Film Director), Nathan Nicholovitch (Filmmaker), Barbara Nüsse (Actress), Rebecca O’Brien (Producer), Miranda Pennell (Artist, Filmmaker), Raphaël Pillosio (Producer), Sébastien Pilote (Filmmaker), Jeff Preiss (Artist, Filmmaker), Laura Poitras (Filmmaker), Ben Rivers (Artist, Filmmaker), Mariana Rondon (Filmmaker), Lynne Sachs (Filmmaker), Margaret Salmon (Artist, Filmmaker), Pierre Salvadori (Filmmaker), Bettina Schoeller-Bouju (Film Director), Nesrin Semdereli (Playwright, Screenwriter), Cedar Sherbert (Filmmaker, Programmer), Claire Simon (Filmmaker), Gaston Solnicki (Filmmaker), Thierry Spicher (Producer), John Smith (Artist, Filmmaker), Saeed Taji Farouky (Filmmaker), Isabella Vertes-Schütter (Artistic Director, Actor), Elena Tatti (Producer), Swantje Tessmann (Actress, Musician), Eyal Weizman (Artist, Academic), Matthias maria Wittmann (Film Critic, Academic), Penny Woolcock (Filmmaker), Rezan Yesilbas (Filmmaker), Andrea Luka Zimmerman (Filmmaker), August Zirner (Actor, Musician), Deniz Buga (Artist, Filmmaker), Radu Jude (Filmmaker), Herbert Knau (Actor), Aylin Kuryel (Filmmaker),
Release date: December 12, 2022