LONDON: Dissident Iranian filmmakers have protested the country’s official Oscars entry for 2024 and called on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to consider an alternative film to represent Iran.
The Iranian government-controlled Farabi Cinema Foundation has selected Reza Mirkarimi’s “The Night Guardian” as Iran’s submission to the 96th Academy Awards.
However, the Iranian Independent Filmmaker Association has opposed the decision, arguing that Farabi maintains close ties with the Islamic Republic’s government and that “Iranian cinema’s representative at the Oscars” should not be announced by the state-controlled entity.
In a statement, the IIFMA accused the government of leveraging Farabi to put “terrifying pressure on Iranian artists” and that the Oscars entry shortlist is not reflective of the creative body of work this year by Iranian filmmakers.
It added that Farabi also excluded several Iranian films that were critically acclaimed internationally this year from consideration as Iran’s Oscars entry.
The IIFMA pointed out that Farabi admitted to working with Iranian intelligence agencies to choose the films for the shortlist, adding that the organization has been banned from several film festivals, such as Berlin and Cannes, because of its close ties to the regime.
The IIFMA was formed on the eve of the Berlin Film Festival last February, in the wake of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests, to represent filmmakers who are not affiliated with the Iranian government.
AMPAS has not yet commented on the IIFMA’s protest or on the calls for an alternative Oscars entry for Iran.
However, the academy has a history of supporting filmmakers working in repressive environments.
In 2021, exiled Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi wrote to it suggesting the creation of a special entry in the category representing exiled artists.