The Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, who lives in Hamburg and Tehran, has been sentenced to one year in prison by the Iranian Revolutionary Court last Saturday.
As early as September 2017, Iranian authorities withheld Rasoulof's passport when he returned to Tehran from the Telluride Film Festival. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps accused him of »endangering national security« and »propaganda against the Islamic government«. This propaganda charge led to a conviction by Division 26 of the Revolutionary Court last Saturday. Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to one year imprisonment and has been banned from membership of political and social organisations for the next two years. In addition, the filmmaker is not allowed to leave Iran for the next two years. This judgement was made due to the critical portrayal of Iran in the director's last three films (Goodbye, Manuscripts Don't Burn, A Man of Integrity).
»As is so often the case, an artist is the victim of arbitrary jurisdiction. Mohammad Rasoulof's crimes consist of making films about his homeland. We who live in a free world have the duty to protest against this. Mohammad Rasoulof has been associated with FILMFEST HAMBURG for years and has lived in Hamburg since 2012. We hope that the Iranian regime will allow him to make films again and return to his family,« states festival director Albert Wiederspiel.
In 2005, Mohammad Rasoulof was guest at FILMFEST HAMBURG for the first time and has been a friend of the festival ever since. His film Iron Island received the Hamburg Film Critics Award in 2005. Later, The White Meadows was screened in Hamburg, as well as the opening film for 2011 Goodbye, which at the time had to be smuggled out of Iran. After the confiscation of his passport, Rasoulof was unable to attend the German premiere of his film A Man of Integrity at FILMFEST HAMBURG in 2017. The film had previously been awarded the main prize of the »Un Certain Regard« section in Cannes.
The filmmaker had already come into conflict with the Iranian authorities repeatedly in the past. After the release of his film Manuscripts Don't Burn, which was shown at FILMFEST HAMBURG in 2013, Rasoulof was not allowed to leave the country for nine months. Two years earlier, Mohammad Rasoulof and his colleague Jafar Panahi had been sentenced to a 20 year ban from filmmaking and six years' imprisonment for working on a documentary about the protests after the 2009 presidential election. The ban was later lifted, the sentence was reduced to one year and put on probation.
Mohammad Rasoulof's family lives in Hamburg.