World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoğlu on Wednesday said he is turning down an award from Iran's Fajr Film Festival for "Bal" (Honey) as an act of protest against the Iranian government's sentencing last year of filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasulov to six years' imprisonment for anti-regime propaganda.
In addition to their jail terms, both Panahi and Rasulov were also banned from making movies for the next 20 years.
Kaplanoğlu, who has been voicing his opposition to Iran's treatment of Panahi and Rasulov since the sentencing in December, said in a written statement that he was told on Wednesday that his film had been deemed worthy of the best screenplay award at this year's Fajr festival.
"The international distributor of my films, The Match Factory, had sold 'Honey' to Iran last year, just like the previous two installments in my 'Trilogy of Yusuf.' In those cases, the decision whether a particular film will take part in a festival or not is made by the film's distribution company in that country," Kaplanoğlu explained, addressing potential concerns over his protest as his film is running in the festival's international feature competition.
"We found out that 'Honey' was actually running in the festival when [the festival] informed us about the screenplay award," Kaplanoğlu added. "I publicly declared through The Match Factory that I am turning down the award for 'Honey'," the statement said.
The Fajr Film Festival, the biggest and most popular cinematic and cultural event in Iran, is marking its 29th edition from Feb. 5 through 15. Turkish director Reha Erdem's 2009 film "Kosmos" is also among the 10 titles running this year in the fest's international feature competition, according to the festival's website, //fajrfestival.ir/29th/en.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Şubat 2011, 15:19