Woman Life Freedom Project in Cannes

Source: WLF Project

Woman Life Freedom Project in Cannes

Iran’s independent filmmakers are making their presence felt in Cannes, despite the challenges they face at home or in exile abroad.

A key focus is the premiere of Mohammad Rasoulof’s The Seed Of The Sacred Fig which premieres at Cannes on May 24. The dissident filmmaker fled Iran earlier this month after receiving an eight-year prison sentence.

It is understood that some 70 independent Iranian films were submitted to Cannes this year, while the Iranian Independent Filmmakers Association (IIFA) has a stand in the Market.

Also making an impact in Cannes is the Woman Life Freedom Project with billboard posters along the entrance to the Majestic Hotel, featuring Iranian artists who have been censored, banned or imprisoned for their creative expression.

Among the group of filmmakers whose portraits are exhibited are Abdolreza Kahani, Keywan Karimi, Hossein Rajabian and Sepideh Farsi who have been in Cannes.

Exiled filmmaker Farsi who is currently working on a documentary about the war in Gaza, told Screen: “Iranian filmmakers are confronted with the regime’s censorship boundaries and with financial difficulties in Iran, and when in exile, with the problems of raising funds to produce films in the Persian language outside their country. Nonetheless, the Iranian cinema, whether in Iran or in exile, is one of the most creative around the globe.”

Luxumbourgish photographer MOJA along with the Iranian-American lawyer Fedra Fateh initiated the WLF Project in Cannes, in order to bring further awareness for the women-led struggle about women’s rights and human rights in Iran. Fateh also cited the plight of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi who has been sentenced to death in Iran after protesting in support of women’s rights. While in Cannes, the “WLF Project” team has been meeting with government officials, festival leaders and filmmakers and executives to help amplify the campaign.