Film-makers' association Facets Multimedia, critics group FIPRESCI and dozens of film directors have voiced their support for jailed Iranian auteur Tahmineh Milani, who faces execution over her recent film The Hidden Half.

Industry luminaries who have appealed to the Iranian government to relent include Francis Ford Coppola, Ang Lee, Steven Soderbergh, Catherine Breillat, Guillermo Del Toro and Chris Marker.

Milani is currently free on bail pending a trial later this month and has been charged with supporting factions waging war against God, and misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armed opposition groups. She was arrested on the orders of Iran's Revolutionary Council as she was promoting The Hidden Half, which she wrote and directed. The film depicts internal struggle within Iran soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A vocal feminist Milani has credits which include The Legend Of A Sigh (1991), What Else Is New' (1992) and Two Women (1999).

FIPRESCI points out that The Hidden Half was made under Iran's strict censorship procedures and received approval for theatrical release from the ministry of culture. This argument appears to have struck home with one person Mohammed Khatami, president of Iran, who personally supported her appear for bail.