A statement from Jafar Panahi, unjustly imprisoned since July 2022 by the fascist theocrats in Tehran:
“We are filmmakers. We are part of Iranian independent cinema. For us, to live is to create. We create works that are not commissioned. Therefore, those in power see us as criminals. Independent cinema reflects its own times. It draws inspiration from society. And cannot be indifferent to it.
“The history of Iranian cinema witnesses the constant and active presence of independent directors who have struggled to push back censorship and to ensure the survival of this art. While on this path, some were banned from making films, others were forced into exile or reduced to isolation. And yet, the hope of creating again is a reason for existence. No matter where, when, or under what circumstances, an independent filmmaker is either creating or thinking about creation. We are filmmakers, independent ones.”
Some of the copious praise for No Bears, the film he finished just before being arrested:
“If watching a Jafar Panahi film is something of a political act, then it is also a soul-nourishing one.” ~ Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail