The organisers of the Venice Film Festival will hold a flash mob on the red carpet in solidarity with Iranians fighting for their freedom and against “the ongoing repression” as well as the filmmakers and artists arrested or imprisoned by Tehran.
The decision comes after acclaimed Iranian director Saeed Roustaee, who presented his film Leila’s Brothers at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, was sentenced to six months in prison by the Iranian authorities.
“The directors, artists, and other personalities from the world of film present at the Lido on September 2 will be invited to participate in a flash mob at 6 pm on the red carpet of the Palazzo del Cinema in order to raise the awareness of the media, governments, and humanitarian organisations worldwide with regard to the situation of the Iranian people,” the Venice Film Festival organisers said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Roustaee and Leila’s Brother producer Javad Noruzbegi were sentenced to six months for showcasing their film at Cannes without government approval and for creating “propaganda against the system”.
The film focuses on a family struggling to make ends meet as Iran faces international sanctions and includes sequences showing protests in the Islamic Republic as a series of nationwide demonstrations shook the nation, according to Associated Press.
The organisers of the Venice Film Festival said the flash mob is on the same day as the screening in Horizons of the film Tatami, co-directed by Israeli director Guy Nattiv and Iranian actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi.
The film reconstructs the true tale of a young female Judo champion whom Iranian authorities wanted to force to withdraw from a competition in order to keep her from competing against an Israeli athlete.
The prestigious film gala also held a red carpet flash mob in 2022 in solidarity with Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was arrested and ordered to serve a six-year sentence. He was released in February, two days after beginning a hunger strike.
The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival will run from August 30 to September 9.