Maryam Moghadam, Behtash Sanaeeha
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The organizers of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival have sent an official statement to the Iranian authorities demanding that directors Maryam Moghadam and Behtash Sanaeeha leave the country to attend the premiere of their new film “My Favorite Pie”.

The film, made by Iranian cinematographers, won a place in the competition program of the upcoming Berlinale, to be held February 15-25. However, Moghadam and Sanaeeha faced an obstacle when they were arrested at Tehran airport last fall and had their passports confiscated. The filmmakers must now appear before an Iranian court.

In a statement, the festival’s organizers, artistic directors emphasized that the Berlinale is committed to freedom of expression and creativity. They expressed their concern at the inability of Moghadam and Sanaeeha to attend the festival and present their film, and called on the Iranian authorities to return their passports and lift the restrictions.

Maryam Moghadam
Maryam Moghadam

Last September, the directors were due to travel to Paris to work on the post-production of their new work, “My Favorite Pie”. The film tells the story of an aging woman who bravely defies norms in a country where women are restricted.

However, at the airport in Tehran, Iranian security officials confiscated the filmmakers’ passports and warned them of impending prosecution, allegedly due to the film’s content. Despite the Iranian authorities’ actions, “My Favorite Pie” was included in the Berlinale selection. Last December, human rights organizations and film associations appealed to the Iranian authorities to stop the persecution, but there was no response.

«The Ballad of a White Cow»

This is the second film by Maryam Moghadam and Behtash Sanaeeha to be included in competition at the Berlin Film Festival. Their previous work, The Ballad of a White Cow in 2021, which tells the story of a woman’s struggle against an unjust system after her husband’s arrest, also received critical and audience acclaim.

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