flaying the Islamic Republic for its treatment of people in the Iranian film industry.
It was the first time the nine groups had ever come together to take a joint stand on any issue.
The condemnations came from organizations of actors, writers, directors, cinematographers and the academy that issues Oscars.
The statements were prompted by the recent arrest of six documentary producers, the appeals court confirmation of the six-year prison term for director Jafar Panahi and the sentencing of an actress to be lashed 90 times for appearing in a film of which the regime did not approve.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has 6,000 members from 35 countries and issues the Oscars each year, said, “These filmmakers—and others—are artists, not political combatants.… They deserve the same full freedom of expression that the overwhelming majority of our members enjoy every day, no matter where they are from, no matter where they work, no matter what their beliefs.”
The Directors Guild of America said, “For a society to flourish, artists must have the freedom to live and work without fear of imprisonment, retribution or censorship. Creative freedom is an essential building block of liberty, culture, civil and human rights.”
The Writers Guilds of America, West and East, said in a joint statement, “The art of Iran is one of the great treasures of humankind. Its cinema has a long and vibrant history—and, in recent years, the Iranian cinema has been one of the very brightest lights illuminating the art form for the rest of the world. Its filmmakers represent the richness of Iranian culture and the extraordinary imagination of the Iranian people. All of us are poorer when their voices are stilled. We urge the government of Iran to remember that these are artists, not political enemies, that they have, as all free people do, the right to hold and express opinions. And we urge the government of Iran to remember that their work is the most powerful ambassador of understanding between the people of Iran and the people of the world.”
Other similar statements were issued by the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild of America, the International Documentary Association, the American Cinema Editors and the American Society of Cinematographers.