Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu is turning down an award from Iran’s Fajr International Film Festival to protest the Islamic Republic’s sentencing of Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulov, Iran Balkan website reports.
In addition to being sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the regime,” Panahi and Rasoulov are banned from filmmaking for 20 years.
Kaplanoglu, who won the best screenplay award for his film “Bal” (Honey), had previously voiced his objection to the sentences by signing a joint letter of protest. He also condemned Panahi’s incarceration in a public speech at Beyoglu Cinema in Istanbul.
According to the Iran Balkan report, Kaplanoglu explained to the media why his film ended up in the Fajr Festival in the first place: “The international distributor of my films, The Match Factory, had sold ‘Honey’ to Iran last year, just like the previous two instalments 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.”