Escalating U.S. Pressure, Sanctions on Iran Take Toll on Its Film Industry

  • Variety
U.S. President Donald Trump’s escalating pressure on Iran is taking its toll on the country’s film industry, with production slowing down owing to the crippled economy and international sales of Iranian movies — especially to U.S. distributors — being hampered by sanctions.

“The economic situation is a disaster for independent cinema” in Iran, said Paris-based sales agent and producer Katayoon Shahabi, who is Iranian and was a member of the main Cannes jury three years ago. “Inflation is slashing budgets and funding sources.”

The sanctions mean that “it’s basically impossible to sell to any country, not just to the U.S.,” she said, because for companies based in Iran, “you can’t receive any money.”

Shahabi’s Cannes slate this year includes Tehran-set drama “I’m Scared,” directed by veteran Iranian auteur Behnam Behzadi, who was in Un Certain Regard in 2016 with “Inversion.”

“I’m Scared” — which
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