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“Authorities should resolve the problem of the two artists left behind from the trip,” House of Cinema’s Managing Director stated in the US




“I am asking the authorities to resolve the problem of the two artists who were left behind from the trip while there’s still time for them to join the group, so that part of the misunderstanding can be resolved,” said Mohammad Mehdi Asgarpour.
House of Cinema’s Managing Director and one of the artists currently visiting the US based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said about Mirtahmasb and Motamed Aria, “Two members of House of Cinema’s delegation to US were stopped at the Imam Khomeini Airport, and their passports were confiscated. Naturally, now they should go to the appropriate authorities to follow up the problem.”
Describing this recent incident as disturbing, he stressed: “The preparations for this trip go back to more than three months ago, and even early this year, so it’s not a new thing that suddenly happened today or yesterday. There were preliminary steps to send an Iranian group on a trip to US for film screening and visiting American motion picture studios and centers, very similar to what we arranged here for the visiting Academy members.”
He continued: “About 10 days ago, one of the local news agencies got their hands on the news of this trip from the Academy’s website -which had announced the trip with details and names of the visiting filmmakers three weeks ago- and broadcasted the news without conferring with us. That was when the news of the trip went public, and so inevitably everyone found out about the list of filmmakers selected for the delegation. But we never received a notification that some of these colleagues cannot leave the country.”
He further added: “We would have expected to be notified on such problem from two sides, either by the artists themselves if they knew they might have problem exiting the country, and these friends didn’t, or by the organizations who issue such court orders to bar certain people from leaving the country, and we never heard anything from any such organization.”
Asgarpour said: “At any rate, the fact is that our trip was announced quiet openly, at least in the news, but it seems like a norm now that we, who are involved in art and culture and especially cinema, must always pay a high price for everything we do. I don’t know why they make such a habit of it to make things unpleasant.”
He maintained: “If we were informed that two of the selected artists had problems, we would have tried to resolve the problem, or we would have convinced our colleagues not to come to the airport, so that they wouldn’t have to hand over their passports in front of people.”
Pointing out that Fatemeh Motamed Aria is a very well known face among our people, Asgarpour said: “When people see something like that happen at the airport, they always associate it with some political issue. I am an artist, and I might be barred from leaving the country because I haven’t paid my taxes, but because I’m a moviemaker and people know me, they would very likely come to an entirely different conclusion.”
He stressed: “It doesn’t look good for the cultural management and the general management system of our country when no explanation is offered either before or after the fact.” In another part of the interview, House of Cinema’s Managing Director asked the country’s authorities including the President, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Ministry’s Director of Cinema Affairs to find a solution for this problem while there’s still time for these two artists to join the other members of the group in the US.
He went on to mention: “Mr. Mirtahmasb’s film will be screened tomorrow night (local time) and ‘Gilaneh’ will go up on the screen a couple of days after, and I think a big part of the misunderstanding will be resolved if these two artists’ problem is worked out and they can be here for the remainder of the trip.” 
On the effect of this incident overseas, Asgarpour said: “It wasn’t good here either. Of course for the moment we just put it down to some complications, and said we’re hopeful that theses colleagues can join us shortly, and so tried not to let it turn into a political situation, for fear that most of us would then be forced to come up with explanations on something we know nothing definite about.” 
The prominent director reflected: “If this is the way it is going to be in the future, I think we would have to go make a formal inquiry, days before each trip, which is what we did many many years ago, despite the fact that things are now more advanced, and there are mechanized systems for such matters.” 
 

 

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