Open Letter to the Empire Theatres
Regarding “the 1th Iranian Short Film Festival” in Toronto Sponsored by Islamic Regime
Empire Empress Walk
5095 Yonge Street
North York, Ontario
According to the reports by the Fars News and Persia Film, from November 6th to November 12th 2009, that your Theatre is hosting the “Canada’s 1th Iranian Short Film Festival” organized by Iranian Young Cinema Society (attaché of cinema department of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance), Persia film Inc. and the Cultural Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran-Ottawa. This ‘festival” was originally planned for the Summer of 2009 in Richmond Hill, Ontario – the 20th Anniversary of mass execution of the Political Prisoners in Iran. This Festival was cancelled during the atmosphere of the uprising in Iran and brutality of the Islamic Regime in Iran and under the pressure of activists.
Shockingly, the First prize of the “Festival” is named in honour of “Seifollah Daad”, the Director of the “Anti Semitic” film, the “Survivor” and writer of screenplay of the film “the Son of Morning” the life of “Khomeini” directed by Behrooz Afkhami.
The Iranian Artists in Exiles are very concerned about the fact that The Empire Empress Walk has agreed to host such a festival. We assume that The Empire Theatres is unaware of the issues.
The Islamic Regime in Iran through Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, known as “Ministry of Censorship” has been restricting and censoring artists inside the country for the past 30 years. Iranian Artists inside Iran cannot publish their art such as books, records, films, and must apply and receive the approval by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The suppression of “freedom of expression” and the state of censorship in Iran has had generated extremely difficult atmosphere for the artist which has led to the creation of “Underground Cinema/Arts” in Iran.
It is a fact not only that the organizers of this festival are closely related to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran, but that this is not the first time the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the Islamic Regime in Iran is sponsoring such a hypocritical event. The Iranian Regime has been using these types of cultural and artistic events as propaganda to convince the International Community that it respects the Rights of Iranian Artists and their Rights to Freedom of Expression.
In light of the suppression of Freedom of Expression imposed on Iranian Society, artists, and arts community by Iranian Regime and the great restrictions and censorship put on Iranian independent artists inside Iran by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, We urge you in solidarity with Iranian independent artists and the Iranian People not to host this “Festival” and the festivals organized and supported by the Islamic Regime of Iran.
Thank you for your support and consideration,
Joseph Akrami, Film Producer in Exile
Faramarz Shiravand, Journalist