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Berlinale Issues Call for Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Expression for Competition Directors Maryam Moghaddam & Behtash Sanaeeha


Earlier this month, the Berlinale was pleased to announce the selection of the Iranian film My Favourite Cake by Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha in Competition at this year’s 74th edition of the festival.

Since then, the festival has learned that as of the time of writing Iranian writers/directors Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha have been banned from travelling, have had their passports confiscated, and face a court trial in relation to their work as artists and filmmakers.

The Berlinale is a festival fundamentally committed to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the arts, for all people around the world, and the festival is shocked and dismayed to learn that Moghaddam and Sanaeeha could be prevented from travelling to the festival to present their film and meet their audience in Berlin.

The Berlinale Directors Carlo Chatrian und Mariëtte Rissenbeek stated: “We call for the Iranian authorities to return the passports and to end all restrictions preventing Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha from freely traveling to Berlin this February, together with the other international directors and filmmaking talents from around the world, so they can present their new film My Favourite Cake as part of the Berlinale’s 2024 Competition.”

Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha’s previous film Ballad of a White Cow was presented in Competition at the 2021 Berlinale, emerging as an audience favourite in public voting that year. Their new film, My Favourite Cake, has now been selected in Competition in 2024.

My Favourite Cake was supported by the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund, and prior to this was developed as a project through the Berlinale when it participated in the 2020 Berlinale Co-Production Market, where it was recognised with the prestigious Eurimages Co-Production Development Award.

Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha share a long and rich history with the Berlinale, and must be allowed to return to Berlin this February.

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