Wednesday , 25 May 2022

New Wave of Arrests of Documentary Filmmakers Under Way in Iran

Iranwire – IranWire has received information that a new wave of arrests of documentary filmmakers and cinematographers has started in Iran.

Firoozeh Khosrovani and Mina Keshavarz are among the at least five female filmmakers known to have been targeted in 48 hours

So far all of the known detainees have been women. “Last night, May 9, Mina Keshavarz and Firoozeh Khosrovani, two documentary filmmakers, were arrested at their homes,” an informed source told Iranwire on Tuesday.

The next day, they said, security agents had also raided the home of a Kurdish filmmaker, whose family asked that she not be named: “They searched the home thoroughly, confiscated her personal belongings including her laptop, mobile phone, passport and ID.” The filmmaker was taken to an unknown location.

Khosrovani was allowed to make a phone call to her family and informed them she had been arrested by the Ministry of Information and was in detention at Evin Prison’s Ward 209. Mina Keshavarz is on the same ward.

A colleague of theirs, who also asked not to be named, separately told IranWire that security agents had also raided the home of cinematographer Parisa Anvari. The cinematographer Reyhaneh Taravati was also arrested on Monday, May 19.

All the arrests were apparently following warrants issued by Shahid Moghaddas Court at Evin Prison. It is not yet clear why these three, or others besides, have been targeted. A person close to one of them speculates that the detentions are meant to intimidate them and the wider journalistic community ahead of potential unrest over food price hikes in Iran.

Mina Keshavarz, born in 1984, has made six documentaries and in 2019 an entry of hers was accepted at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Firoozeh Khosrovani is a graduate of Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera and holds an MA in journalism from Iran. She has contributed to and collaborated with numerous Italian newspapers and magazines In 2020, her Radiography of a Family won best feature at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. 

Khosrovani was briefly arrested in summer 2009 along with and a number of other filmmakers who had gone to Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery to lay flowers on the graves of people killed following nationwide pro-democracy protests that year.