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BSFC Press Release - March 22, 2010








BOSTON —The Boston Society of Film Critics has added its voice to the other critics and international groups in calling for the release of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is being held in solitary confinement in an Iranian jail.


Panahi, whose works include “The White Balloon,” “Crimson Gold,” “The Circle” and “Offside” — films that illustrate the struggles of women and the poor in his native land — was incarcerated on March 1st, 2010, and has yet to be charged.


In an open letter, fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, director of “Taste of Cherry” and a longtime Panahi collaborator blamed the Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture for Panahi’s ordeal. “He is paying for the conduct of officials who have for years closed all doors on him, leaving open small passages and dead end paths.”


The Federation of European Film Directors, the European Film Academy, the Toronto Film Critics Association, the Berlin Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and others have already issued formal statements imploring the immediate release of Panahi.


“In a poll of our membership, the support for Panahi was unanimous,” said Tom Meek, president of the BSFC. ‘”It’s a travesty to see such a talented, award-winning director silenced for speaking the truth. I have always looked forward to his next film with high anticipation. Now we don’t know when that will be, let alone the peril he may be in.”