Iranian filmmaker Reza Dormishian was preparing to attend the International Film Festival of India last week to debut a new film he produced when he was stopped at the Tehran airport by authorities and told that he was barred from leaving his home country. The director’s passport was then confiscated and he was referred to an Iranian court for prosecution. It remains unclear what charges he may face.
Representatives for Dormishian say they believe he was detained because of his recent posts to Instagram voicing support for those speaking out during Iran’s ongoing, nationwide protests. He has been especially vocal in his criticism of the government’s crackdown on filmmakers, expressing solidarity with imprisoned directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof.
Dormishian was due to attend the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa in support of fellow director Dariush Mehrjui’s A Minor, which was premiering in the event’s main competition. The film’s screenings went ahead without him on Thursday and Friday. The movie tells the story of a woman who is torn between the views and desires of her free-thinking daughter, who wants to study music, and her conservative husband.
A prolific screenwriter, director and producer, Dormishian, 41, has exhibited works at many of the world’s major film festivals, with credits including Hatred, I’m Not Angry! and No Choice. Often critical of various aspects of Iranian life, his films have regularly faced difficulty clearing censorship in his country. His second feature, I’m Not Angry!, screened at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival, but later was withdrawn from an Iranian festival after threats of violence from hard-line extremists.
Numerous Iranian filmmakers have spoken out and faced the regime’s ire since protests began roiling the country in the wake of the September death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman while in police custody. In October, filmmaker Mani Haghighi had his passport confiscated as he was about to board a flight to attend the BFI London Film Festival. Earlier this month, Farnaz Jurabchian and Mohammadreza Jurabchian, co-directors of the documentary Silent House, were blocked from traveling to the Netherlands for their film’s premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.