Berlin Film Festival and EFM Wont Accredit Companies or Media Outlets With Ties to Russian or Iranian Governments

Film delegations, companies and journalists working for media outlets with direct ties to the Russian and Iranian governments will be persona non grata at the upcoming Berlinale.

The Berlinale, which comprises the Berlin Film Festival and the European Film Market (EFM), has issued a statement to Variety that sees the org adopt the same policy employed last year by the Cannes and Venice festivals following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The new aspect pertains to Iran where the wave of protests sparked in September by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for allegedly wearing a loose hijab has caused more than 500 civilians to be killed by government security forces.

Like Cannes and Venice, Berlin isn’t prohibiting films by independent Russian and Iranian directors from participating at the festival.

For example Paris-based Iranian director Sepideh Farsi’s “The Siren,” an animation feature set in Iran’s oil capital, Abadan, in 1980, when the city was under Iraqi siege, will open Berlin’s cutting-edge Panorama section.

However, Iranian government film entities such as the Farabi Cinema Foundation, Iran’s top national film entity which has been attending the EFM with a stand for years, won’t be present this year, a festival rep confirmed.

Here is the festival’s full statement:

The Berlinale staunchly condemns Russia’s ongoing war of aggression, which violates international law, and expresses its solidarity with the people in Ukraine and all those who are campaigning against this war.” 

The festival also stands with the courageous protesters in Iran as they defend themselves against a violent, undemocratic regime.

In expressing this solidarity, the festival will not exclude filmmakers, artists, industry representatives or journalists because of their Russian or Iranian nationality.

However, the festival will not grant accreditations or allow presentations for the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival for those working for official national or state-controlled institutions, companies or media, or for people/media supporting those regimes.

While we are aware that individual scrutiny of accreditation applications may not always result in clear conclusions, we remain committed to this course of action.

The 73rd edition of the Berlin Film Festival will run Feb. 16-26, while the European Film Market runs Feb. 16-22.

Christopher Vourlias contributed to this report.

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