Spielberg, Scorsese call for release of Iran film-maker



LOS ANGELES- Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese are among a slew of Hollywood heavyweights who have signed a petition calling on Iran to release jailed director Jafar Panahi.
Spielberg and Scorsese were joined on the petition by some of the most famous names in movies including Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola, Joel and Ethan Coen, Ang Lee, Michael Moore and Oliver Stone.



Jailed director Jafar Panahi in 2006
Jailed director Jafar Panahi in 2006
The petition called on Iran's government to free Panahi, who was detained on March 1 when Iranian security forces raided his home.
"We... stand in solidarity with a fellow filmmaker, condemn this detention, and strongly urge the Iranian government to release Mr Panahi immediately," according to a copy of the petition posted on several movie news websites.
"Iran's contributions to international cinema have been rightfully heralded, and encouraged those of us outside the country to respect and cherish its people and their stories.
"Like artists everywhere, Iran's filmmakers should be celebrated, not censored, repressed, and imprisoned."
Panahi, 49, is known for his gritty, socially critical movies such as "The Circle," which bagged the 2000 Venice Golden Lion award, "Crimson Gold" and "Offside," winner of the 2006 Silver Bear at the Berlin film festival.
In February, the authorities banned Panahi from leaving the country to attend the Berlin Film Festival.
Iran's culture minister said last month Panahi had been arrested for making an anti-regime film.
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Saturday, May 1st 2010
AFP
           


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