By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Call for support to Bahman Ghobadi upon the arrest of his brother

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival wishes to express its fervent support to Kurdish Iranian film director Bahman Ghobadi and his brother, Behrouz Ghobadi, who was recently arrested and is currently detained by the Iranian authorities.

Bahman Ghobadi, one of the honored directors during the 53rd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which was concluded 10 days ago, has made a public appeal to the Iranian government for the immediate release of his brother, who he believes is detained illegally. In his protest letter, the award-winning filmmaker, who has been a self-exile since 2009, states: “My younger brother, Behrouz Ghobadi, disappeared more than two weeks ago, and I have learned that he has been detained by Iranian authorities and accused of acting against national security…He has never been involved in any political or opposition activities.  He was interested in film, served as a production manager in some of my movies and directed a few short films. We are extremely worried about Behrouz, especially because of his chronic health issues. We ask that the Iranian authorities release him without delay.”

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival condemns any form of violation of human rights and declares its full solidarity to Bahman and Behrouz Ghobadi, hoping for the quickest and most successful resolution of the case.

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“I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I like to subscribe to Susan Sontag’s thought of no highs and lows. I think dismissing popular culture and popular films can be really dangerous because they may seem innocuous, but some are works of art and even when they’re not they can say so much about the culture that they’re reflecting. This also gets into the idea of canon. What is good and isn’t good? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. Specifically, who writes these canons? Mainly, straight white guys — which basically rigs the system. So, if you have a knowledge of female filmmakers, queer filmmakers, African or Asian filmmakers, some people won’t give them the same culture capital. They’ll say, “Oh, that’s nice niche knowledge.” No, it’s not. You’re just seeing it through the prism of something white and male. Like Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal.’ I love that show, but is it a guilty pleasure because it’s a soap on TV? No. I think it has incredible writing, incredible thought and characters, so we should take it seriously. That’s a long-winded answer to say, “Yes, I love Titanic.” I was 10 years old when it came out and my mom took me to see it three times. I was so obsessed with it. A big thanks to my mom who’ll never get those nine hours of her life back.”
~ Toronto Int’l Programmer and Critic Kiva Reardon

“A lot of us felt blindsided,” Van Vliet told me. In the seventies, Van Vliet was drafted out of film school by Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now 62 and semi-retired, he said, “Once you get into your fifties, you’re pretty disposable.” Van Vliet was in the middle of reviewing DVD screeners before casting his Oscar votes, a process he estimated would take a hundred and twenty hours. “The Academy is essentially asking us to give them three weeks of labor, and then they’re going to take our results, put them into a ceremony, and sell it,” he said, referring to the seventy-five million dollars that the organization earns from the television broadcast. “Then they’re turning around and kicking us in the teeth.”
~ “Shakeup At The Oscars”