Iran Film Organization launches council to protect filmmakers from sexual abuse


TEHRAN — The Cinema Organization of Iran (COI) on Tuesday announced the inauguration of a council to protect filmmakers from misconduct, harassment and sexual abuse.

The Professional Film Ethics Council is composed of the Director General of the Iranian House of Cinema, the Director of the Supervision and Evaluation Office of the Ministry of Culture, the Director General of the Farabi Film Foundation, the Director of the Office of COI Security, the Director of the COI Legal Office, COI Advisor on Professions, Lawyer Maedeh Chitsaz and Filmmaker Ensieh Shah-Hosseini.

The council was created in response to an Iranian Me Too movement, which emerged last week after Somayyeh Mirshamsi, an assistant director, revealed her story of being the victim of sexual misconduct and harassment by a big name actor in 2021.

Subsequently, a group of around 300 actresses and directors, including Taraneh Alidoosti, Narges Abyar, Hedyeh Tehrani and Niki Karimi, signed a statement condemning all forms of misconduct, violence, sexual harassment, intimidation and rape in the workplace and calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

“In its first mission, the Professional Film Ethics Council is responsible for setting up an all-female committee composed of two filmmakers, a psychologist, a sociologist and a lawyer to immediately investigate the case and submit a report to the council. on the matter,” said IOC Director Mohammad Khazaei.

He also asked the Iranian Cinema House, also known as the Iranian Alliance of Motion Picture Guilds, to investigate and seek solutions to resolve the issue by activating its Safeguard Council.

Khazaei said that the Cinema Organization of Iran considers it its duty to protect the dignity and honor of female filmmakers.

In a more recent case that emerged on Tuesday, screenwriter Chista Yasrebi told her story about a famous filmmaker’s attempt to rape her.

The spread of the Me Too movement has also drawn reactions from officials.

Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Ensieh Khazali has invited Me Too movement organizers to a meeting with her to seek safeguards to protect them from misconduct, sexual harassment and abuse by their male colleagues .

“The Office of the Vice President for Women and Family Affairs considers it necessary to listen carefully to the demands of women in Iranian cinema,” she said.

Earlier this week, Iran’s deputy judiciary chief and secretary of the High Council for Human Rights, Kazem Gharibabadi, also offered words of support in a press release.

“Because of their susceptibility, women working in the arts, especially those working in film, need to be supported and protected,” he said.

Pictured: Officials of the Film Organization of Iran attend a meeting in Tehran on April 5, 2021 to announce the launch of the Film Professional Ethics Council. (THIS)



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