Berlin Film Festival bans companies, media outlets with ties to Iran – The Hollywood Reporter

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The Berlin Film Festival and its accompanying European Film Market will not accredit any companies or media outlets with direct links to the governments of Russia or Iran, the Berlinale confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

Berlin introduced a ban on Russian-backed companies and outlets last year after Russia invaded Ukraine, following a policy also implemented by the Cannes and Venice festivals. Now Berlin has added Tehran to the list, responding to the Iranian government’s brutal crackdown on the wave of protests that has been ravaging the country for months. The demonstrations were sparked by the death, in September, of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested by the country’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly.

Germany is home to a large Iranian diaspora – including film luminaries such as Berlin Alexanderplatz director Burhan Qurbani and actress Jasmin Tabatabai (Baader Meinhof Building) – and the country has seen large demonstrations in support of the protesters.

Berlin will not ban films from independent Russian and Iranian directors from participating in the festival. The animated feature The Siren France-based Iranian director Sepideh Farsi will open this year’s Panorama section, Berlinale’s main sidebar.

In a statement, the Berlinale said it “strongly condemns Russia’s ongoing war of aggression, which is against international law, and expresses its solidarity with the people of Ukraine and its -everyone who is campaigning against this war.” Regarding Iran, the festival said that they “stand with the courageous activists in Iran as they defend themselves against a violent regime, undemocratic.”

Berlin stressed that it “will not expel filmmakers, artists, business representatives or journalists because of their Russian or Iranian nationality.” … While we are aware that individual review of accreditation applications may not always lead to clear conclusions, we remain committed to this course of action.”

The 73rd Berlin Film Festival runs February 16-26. The European Film Market runs 16-22 February.

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