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Berlinale Makes Appeal For Iranian 2024 Golden Bear Contenders Maryam Moghaddam & Behtash Sanaeeha As They Barred From Travel

The Berlin Film Festival has put out a statement in support of Iranian filmmakers Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha, whose feature My Favourite Cake is due to compete for the Golden Bear at the 74th edition.

In a release bannered “Call for Freedom Of Movement, Freedom Of Expression for Competition Directors Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha”, the Berlinale said it had been informed the pair would not be allowed to leave Iran to attend the festival, running from February 15 to 25.

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As previously reported by Deadline, the pair were banned last fall from travel and face a trial in Iran in relation to the film.

The pair discovered they were subject to a travel ban at Tehran airport at the end of September after their passports were confiscated as they went to catch a flight to Paris to work on post-production of My Favourite Cake.

The Berlinale said it was “shocked and dismayed” to learn that Moghaddam and Sanaeeha could be prevented from traveling to the festival.

“We call for the Iranian authorities to return the passports and to end all restrictions preventing Maryam Moghaddam and Behtash Sanaeeha from freely travelling 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,” said Berlinale heads Carlo Chatrian and Mariëtte Rissenbeek.

Moghaddam and Sanaeeha previously presented their film Ballad of a White Cow in Competition to critical acclaim at the 2021 Berlinale.

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