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article imageMovie Makers Barred From Leaving Iran for AMPAS LA Film Series

By Johnny Simpson     Oct 10, 2009 in Entertainment
Yesterday I reported on how blacklisted Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed Aria would be in L.A. for an AMPAS film series on Iran. ABC News just reported that Iran barred Fatemeh and another filmmaker from leaving Iran because of their political activities
Yesterday, on October 9th, I reported here at Digital Journal on how blacklisted Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed-Aria, perhaps the most famous actress in all of Iran, would be in Los Angeles as part of a film seminar series on Iranian film. There was some question at the time of my reporting yesterday as to whether Ms. Motamed Aria had even left Iran.
The Green opposition site Mowj reported over 24 hours ago that Ms. Motamed-Aria had been banned from leaving the country. Yet another more recent report by the state-run Tehran Times indicated that all of the film artists would be allowed to travel to Los Angeles for the AMPAS events. That series began last night at UCLA, and will wrap at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater next Friday, October 16.
This morning, ABC News reported that both Ms. Motamed-Aria and documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb had been barred from leaving the Islamic Republic, due their political activities on behalf of Mir Hussein Mousavi and the Greens. According to reports, both filmmakers were stopped from leaving Iran as they prepared to board the same plane with eight other Iranian film artists already scheduled to attend the AMPAS film series:
"These two were stopped from leaving because of their activities in post-election events," the newspaper said, without giving a source.It quoted Mirtahmaseb as saying: "After completing the last stages of our passport inspection, airport agents showed a court order to me and Mrs Motamed-Aria and said that neither of us can leave Iran." He added that no reason was given.
According to the reports, all other eight Iranian film artists are in Los Angeles for the Iran film seminars. Here is the original roster of ten that AMPAS included in its October 6 press release: Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour, Rakhshan Bani Etemad, Ebrahim Hatamikia, Reza Mir-Karimi, Mojtaba Raie and Alireza Raisian; actors Amin Tarokh and Fatemah Motamed-Aria; screenwriter Farhad Tohidi; and documentarian Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. AMPAS has made no announcements, press releases or schedule changes regarding the two filmmakers, both of whom figured prominently in the planned film seminar series. I have yet to receive a response from my inquiry on the matter from the AMPAS Press and Media offices.
As a footnote, it appears that the Green opposition web site Mowj called this story accurately over 24 hours ago, despite contrary reporting by the state-run Tehran Times only hours later. This also seems to lend credence to Mowj's claims that over 100 creative artists in Iran's film industry have indeed been blacklisted and banned from all state TV, film and other media. Another report from the pro-Green Iranian site Gozaar described how the bans are affecting film and TV production in the Islamic Republic.
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