A statement by Mania Akbari, director of ONE.TWO.ONE

Mania Akbari

A statement by director Mania Akbari of ONE.TWO.ONE (screening in the Festival of Films from Iran) in response to the Iranian government’s September 20 arrest and imprisonment of Katayoun Shahabi, the distributor of the film.

Artists are the world's treasures

The country and the world of a cultural and artistic person, one whose interpretation of life surpasses the mundane and whose existence enriches our lives, belongs, not only to her native country but to the entire world and her identity cannot be defined by a specific country, a particular place or a limited time. To an artist and her relationship to the world, politics and its issues cannot be the primary concern. An artist cannot confine herself to the political language since she connects to the world through her sensibilities and uses a language that is broad and universal.

We are hereby requesting from all political organs and their affiliates responsible for this matter to have a cultural view...historically, artists and cultural people are and have always been the world's greatest assets.

The film ONE.TWO.ONE discusses a very human and intimate story about relationships. The film's distributor, Katayoun Shahabi, who was indeed familiar with the entire film and was certain that it will definitely receive all the relevant permits for its inside and international release, invested her time, money and identity and backed this film. Unfortunately, her simple course of action tuned into an incredibly complicated event and she ended up in prison.

As a filmmaker, I am therefore requesting from all related organizations, filmmakers and people who belong to this world, to support Katayoun and to help release her and all other documentary filmmakers who are imprisoned at the moment. I hope that those responsible in detaining these artists realize that we should not be scared of cultural and artistic people, instead we should embrace and accept them knowingly as national and the world's treasures who will help sustain all nations.

I dedicate the release of this film to Katayoun Shahabi who has helped, for the last 18 years, the Iranian cinema become an international entity.

—Mania Akbari