As reported by Giona A. Nazzaro in Il Manifesto, the Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi went to prison last Monday. A few days before his incarceration, Karimi had said, ‘I’ll be in jail for one year. There’s nothing else to do. I’m scared to death.’ According to the journalist, Karimi felt ‘powerless, frustrated.’
Karimi, who premiered his first fiction film, Drum (Iran-France, 2016), at the past Venice Film Festival, was disappointed in the reaction of his colleagues and fellow artists, which he associated with his ethnic background: ‘I can’t understand why they’re not talking about me. (…) Many of them raised their voices for Panahi. I’m afraid it has to do with my being a Kurd.’
In February, Karimi’s Writing on the City (Iran, 2015, 60min) had its world premiere in the Official Selection of the 10th Punto de Vista Film Festival. In this essay film, the director ‘reads’ murals and political graffiti in Teheran from a historical perspective. For this historical review of the Iranian capital’s walls, which earned him a special mention of the Punto de Vista jury, Karimi was sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes. An appeal court then reduced the sentence to one year in jail – which he finally began to serve this week.
When the sentence was announced, Punto de Vista launched an international campaign in support of Karimi. It consisted of a film, 223 Words, made of contributions from filmmakers from around the world, which was screened following Writing on the City in Pamplona.