Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr has been sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes for her starring role in Australian film My Tehran for Sale.
Although the exact charges are not clear, Vafamehr do appear with a shaved head and no headscarf in the film, which also explores cultural oppression in Iran and taboos such as drug use, all no-no’s under Iranian tough laws.
Shot in secret in Iran with a local crew in 2008, My Tehran for Sale is described as a groundbreaking film, revealing fresh truths behind the facade of contemporary Iran. Marzieh is an actress living in Tehran where, like most young people, she is forced to lead a secret life to express her art. At an underage rave party she meets Saman, now an Australian citizen, who offers a way out–until things go terribly wrong. Is Australia a place of hope, or simply another regime whose aim is to freeze the soul? shot entirely on location in Tehran, with the assistance of Bahman Ghobadi (Turtles can Fly) and post-producedin Adelaide, this is a uniquely daring project. it explores a woman’s struggle for independence and for the courage necessary to break from everything in your life. Adelaide-based filmmaker Granaz Moussavi is one of the most prominent poets of her generation in Iran. She has based this uncompromising debut feature on friends and acquaintances n Tehran’s underground arts community.
Vafamehr will reportedly appeal her sentence.
In related news, two of eight documentary film-makers detained in Iran were released, the website of the organization of documentary filmmakers said.
“Our colleagues Naser Safarian and Mohsen Shahrnazdar were released,” a statement said. However, no additional details were available.
Filmmakers Mojtaba Mir Tahmaseb, Katayoon Shahabi, Hadi Afarideh, Naser Safarian, Shahnam Bazdar and Mohsen Shahrnazdar were arrested on September 17, accused of espionage and other charges related to a BBC documentary they were working on.