Three Iranian documentary filmmakers' associations have called In a joint statement for the immediate release of Mina Keshavarz and Firoozeh Khosrovani, who were arrested at their homes on May 9 and have yet to reappear. "Despite numerous promises," the statement read, "the situation of our colleagues remains unclear and no official explanation has been provided on how and why they were arrested."
The co-signatories were the boards of the Documentary Film Directors Association, the Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association and the Documentary Producers Guild. The same statement pointed out that alongside the homes of these women, the homes and workplaces of at least 10 documentary filmmakers were searched by security agencies during the abrupt crackdown. Their mobile phones, laptops, hard drives and other personal items were largely confiscated.
The associations demanded again to know why these moves took place, also expressing concern that their colleagues may have become trapped in “a maze of increasing political misunderstandings”. They also called for an end to “the atmosphere of fear and security surrounding the lives and work of documentary filmmakers.”
In the absence of an official explanation, it has been speculated that the detentions were meant to intimidate or disable a group of people who might well have taken part in - or worse, recorded - the ongoing unrest over food price hikes in Iran that have now spread to many cities.
Mina Keshavarz, born in 1984, has made six documentaries and in 2019 an entry of hers was accepted at the Berlin International Film Festival. Firoozeh Khosrovani is a graduate of Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera and holds an MA in journalism from Iran. She has contributed to and collaborated with numerous Italian newspapers and magazines. In 2020, her Radiography of a Family won best feature at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.