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Iranian Actress Arrested for Appearing in Australian Film Sans Headscarf, Sentenced to Flogging

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Marzieh Vafamehr is an Iranian actress and director who played the lead role in My Tehran For Sale, a 2009 film made through the collaborative efforts of Australian and Iranian artists. She was arrested in July, officially for filming in Tehran without proper permits, a charge that Cyan Films and Vafamehr’s husband, another Iranian filmmaker, deny. Vafamehr does appear in a scene of My Tehran for Sale while not wearing a headscarf, and this appears to be the unspoken reason for her arrest. She was released a month later on bail, but her sentence was recently revealed by an Iranian opposition website.

The movie was directed by Granaz Moussavi, another Iranian woman artist, and just to give some idea of the irony, it concerns the life of an actress named Marzieh whose theater work is banned by Iranian authorities, and she must turn to secret and underground communities in order to express her talents. My Tehran for Sale was also never actually released in Iran, nor intended to be. Its presence there relies entirely on piracy and the black market, not the purposeful dissemination of the film by its creators.

According to Deadline, it appears that Iranian courts have sentenced Vafamehr to a year in jail and nintey lashes. Australian producers of My Tehran for Sale Kate Croser and Julie Ryan “continue to offer our support to Marzieh and her family by respecting their wishes to let the case and the appeal follow the proper legal channels.” Vafamehr appears to be in the process of appeal.

Here’s the trailer for My Tehran for Sale. The very least anyone can do would be to watch and appreciate the film that Vafamehr risked her life to make.

(via Deadline.)

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