Iran sentences filmmaker to prison for screening film at Cannes

August 21, 2023

An Iranian filmmaker and his producer reportedly face prison time and being barred from filmmaking after they showcased a movie at the Cannes Film Festival without government approval, drawing immediate criticism internationally from leading American director Martin Scorsese and others. Director Saeed Roustayi poses for photographers at the photo call for the film "Leila's Brothers" at the 75th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, May 26, 2022. Advertising Read moreDirector Saeed Roustayi and producer Javad Norouzbeigi traveled to Cannes last year to show “Leila’s Brothers,” competing for the festival’s grand Palme d’Or prize. The film also depicts security forces beating demonstrators protesting Iran’s ailing economy, which has already sparked mass protests and bloody security force crackdowns killing hundreds. However, authorities in Tehran did not nominate the film for the Oscars despite its success at the renowned French film festival, something Roustayi later criticized in published remarks.