Monday, 6 February 2023
The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) organised two initiatives at the 52nd edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival (25 Jan - 5 Feb) to demonstrate solidarity with the filmmakers who have been arrested or imprisoned around the world over the past year, to signal the need for the world of cinema to mobilise and to discuss possible actions that the international community can concretely undertake to help them.
ICFR Panel at IFFR
The international panel took place on 31 January 2023 as part of the festival program in Rotterdam. The panel opened with a word from IFFR artistic director Vanja Kaludjercic and included co-ordinator for the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk Sara Ishaq, who introduced the ICFR and the panel, as well as moderator and head of Hubert Bals Fund, Bianca Taal; Nadir Öperli, producer (BURNING DAYS, European Editing at the European Film Awards 2022, IFFR 2023); Nafiss Nia, poet, (screen-)writer, filmmaker, cultural entrepreneur and public speaker (THAT AFTERNOON, IFFR 2023); Dr. Asli Özgen-Havekotte, Assistant Professor of Media and Culture in the University of Amsterdam’s Media Studies Department and Farahnaz Sharifi, filmmaker, editor and writer. The panel gave an update on ICFR's advocacy, funding, and support for filmmakers at risk. Attention was given particularly to the increasingly precarious situation for filmmakers in Iran and Turkey, expanding on recent calls for action on the release of actress Taraneh Alidoosti in Iran and producer Cigdem Mater in Turkey.
During the panel, the ICFR announced the temporary re-opening of the Emergency Fund for Filmmakers for the duration of the festival in support of filmmakers in Ukraine, where the mobilisation of the international film community has raised EUR 550,000 to help with emergency relocation, visas, shelter and other expenses for over 500 filmmakers from Ukraine.
In solidarity with persecuted filmmakers, a flash-mob was held after the world premiere of the Iranian film ENDLESS BORDERS on 2 February at IFFR, in collaboration with the Irani Independent Filmmakers Association (IIFMA). Filmmakers and other personalities from the film community attended the demonstration on schouwburgplein in Rotterdam to focus attention on imprisoned peers around the world, including Jafar Panahi (who had just entered a hunger strike in Evin Prison and has since been released on bail).
Storytelling is a powerful tool in the quest for justice, democracy and a fair and equitable society, and the ICFR vows to vehemently oppose the persecution and silencing of those in the industry, simply for doing their work or raising their voice. ICFR was created by the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, Rotterdam International Film Festival and the European Film Academy. Since its inception in 2020, the ICFR has aided filmmakers in Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Myanmar and Ukraine, among other countries.