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By Film Threat Staff | October 26, 2001

Ms. Tahmineh Milani was arrested on the orders of Iran’s Revolutionary Council as she was promoting the film “The Hidden Half,” which she wrote and directed. “The Hidden Half” depicts internal struggle within Iran soon after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Ms. Milani has been charged with supporting factions waging war against God, and misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armed opposition groups. The Revolutionary Council has previously ordered the arrest of journalists and other cultural figures, but this is the first time it has taken direct action against a filmmaker.
One of Iran’s best-known filmmakers, Tahmineh Milani has written and directed films including The Legend of a Sigh (1991), What Else Is New? (1992), and Two Women (1999), in addition to The Hidden Half (2001). She is well-known for taking strong feminist positions in both films and public appearances.
Mr. Mohammad Khatami, the President of Iran, personally supported Ms. Milani’s release on bail. Like all domestically produced Iranian films, The Hidden Half went through intense censorship processes. It was then approved by the Ministry of Culture and released to theatres. For the director then to be arrested for the content of the film seemed, as Mr. Khatami himself put it at the time, unfair to say the least.
Today, Facets Multimedia of Chicago released a declaration of solidarity with Ms. Milani signed by dozens of filmmakers from around the world.
The filmmakers who have signed include such eminent directors as Jamsheed Akrami, Hisham Bizri, John Boorman, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Carlos Diegues, Ali Kazimi, Hanif Kureishi, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Lucrecia Martel, Raoul Peck, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, plus many other directors, producers, actors, and other filmmakers. The filmmakers come from across the Middle East, North America, Asia, Europe, and South America.
The declaration has been sent to Mr. Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Mr. Mohammad Khatami, the President of Iran; Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, the Head of the Judiciary; Mr. Masjed Jamee, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance; and many other dignitaries and interested parties.
Facets Multimedia coordinated this declaration of solidarity because of long-time commitments to promoting and distributing Iranian cinema, to human rights, and to the freedom of artists. Milos Stehlik, the Director of Facets Multimedia, says of the declaration: “We expect this filmmakers’ declaration of solidarity to be the first action in a worldwide protest against the arrest of Tahmineh Milani, leading to the charges against her being dropped.”
Other filmmakers, organizations, and individuals who would like to express their solidarity with Ms. Milani are invited to send faxes to His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, at 98 21 649 5886; His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Minister of Justice, at 98 21 646 5242; His Excellency Mr. Masjed Jamee, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, at 98 21 391 3535; Mr. Mohebbi, President of the Farabi Cinema Foundation, at 98 21 670 8155; and Ray Privett of Facets Multimedia at 1 773 929 5437. They are also invited to sign the petition online, a website with links that will be updated as new information related to Ms. Tahmineh Milani’s case becomes available.
The Declaration of Solidarity reads as follows: ^ FILMMAKERS STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH TAHMINEH MILANI ^ As fellow members of the film community we were outraged to learn of the recent arrest of Tahmineh Milani by the Islamic Government of Iran. This is the first time the current Iranian government has taken such action against a filmmaker. Although she has been released on bail, charges against her have not been dropped. We wish to express our solidarity with her.
John Akomfrah ^ Jamsheed Akrami ^ Angela Alston ^ Roy Andersson ^ Ben Barenholtz ^ Alan Berliner ^ Hisham Bizri ^ Peter Bogdanovich ^ John Boorman ^ St. Clair Bourne ^ Geoff Bowie ^ Catherine Breillat ^ Alden Brigham ^ Charles Burnett ^ Laura Colella ^ Francis Ford Coppola ^ Sofia Coppola ^ Guillermo del Toro ^ Jonathan Demme ^ Dominique Deruddere ^ Carlos Diegues ^ Faye Dunaway ^ Morgan Evans ^ Leonard Farlinger ^ Harun Farocki ^ Ivan Fila ^ James Fotopoulos ^ William Friedkin ^ Richard Fung ^ John Gianvito ^ Jill Godmilow ^ Marina Goldovskaya ^ Gaylene Gould ^ Lina Gopaul ^ John Greyson ^ Rajko Grlic ^ Erik Gunneson ^ David Hare ^ Joseph Hillel ^ Agnieszka Holland ^ Ted Hope ^ Richard Horowitz ^ Magnus Isacsson ^ Sharifa Johka ^ Jennifer Jonas ^ Jon Jost ^ Peter Kaufman ^ Philip Kaufman ^ Kees Kasander ^ Lawrence Kasdan ^ Michael Kastenbaum ^ Ali Kazimi ^ Hanif Kureishi ^ Valerie Lalonde ^ David Lawson ^ Richard Leacock ^ Ang Lee ^ Helen Lee ^ Spike Lee ^ Nancy Lefkowitz ^ Mike Leigh ^ Joshua Leonard ^ Steven Lippman ^ Lech Majewski ^ Dusan Makavejev ^ Chris Marker ^ Loren Marsh ^ Lucrecia Martel ^ Pier Marton ^ Jim McKay ^ Nina Menkes ^ Joe Moulins ^ Jag Mohan Mundhra ^ Alice Nellis ^ Jan Nemec ^ Denise Ohio ^ Katrin Ottarsdottir ^ Raoul Peck ^ Robin Wright Penn ^ Sean Penn ^ Marguerite Pigott ^ Mark Rappaport ^ Pen-ek Ratanaruang ^ Julia Reichert ^ Francoise Romand ^ Shiva Rose ^ Ken Russell ^ Helma Sanders-Brahms ^ James Schamus ^ Richard Schenkman ^ Paul Schrader ^ Barbet Schroeder ^ Sandra Schulberg ^ Martin Scorsese ^ Peter Sellars ^ Franci Slak ^ Steven Soderbergh ^ Ines Sommer ^ Stanislav Stanojevic ^ Jos Stelling ^ Oliver Stone ^ Leslie Thornton ^ Blaine Thurier ^ Jacob Tierney ^ John Walker ^ Karen Walton ^ Elizabeth Westrate ^ Bellamy Young
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