Got the Golden Shell but still not free in Iran / October 3 - 2006 / Melbourne

    Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi's last feature film 'Nîvê
    Heyvê' (Kurdish for Half Moon) is banned in Iran on the basis
    that it was a ‘separatist’ film. Bahman Ghobadi told the
    press, during the award ceremony at 54. San Sebastian Film
    Festival in Spain, that although he is happy of getting Golden
    Shell, the best film award, for Half Moon, he is very sorry as
    his film has not been able to get the permission for
    screening in Iran yet.

    Also Ghobadi told, in an interview conducted by Michael
    Guillen for Toronto International Film Festival, that he already
    made self-censoring in the film but it looks like that was not
    enough for the Iranian authorities. He said: “For example, I
    had a beautiful musical sequence where women sang but I
    had to self-censor it for myself because I knew it would be a
    problem for the government to accept it. So I cut it. The irony
    of it is that, even though I censored myself so badly, last
    week in Iran my film was banned for the very first time. The accusation was that the film was
    separatist, which is absolutely absurd. It's not a separatist movie at all. That's the reason why now
    I regret my self-censorship. I feel now that, if it had to be banned, I should have filmed it like I
    wanted to do in the first place.” (

    Interestingly this is not the first time Ghobadi facing
    restriction from the Iranian censors. When Bahman
    Ghobadi completed his second feature and applied
    for screening permission for the film he has been
    told by Iranian authorities that the original title of the
    film, “The Songs of My Motherland” was too
    “nationalist”. The authorities advised him to change
    the title but Ghobadi resisted keeping the original
    title. (Jamsheed Akrami’s interview with Bahman
    Ghobadi, at As a result of
    this dilemma his second feature, which later titled
    by the distribution company as “Marooned in Iraq”,                   
    was only screened in one theater in Iran in the city of                   Hediye Tehrani in Half Moon
    Tehran, apart from Kurdistan region of Iran.

    Likewise young Iranian woman director Samira Makmalbaf’s second feature film “Blackboards”
    made in 2000, which tells the plight of Kurdish teachers and victims of Halabja massacre
    wandering on the mountains of Kurdistan, had faced same kind of trouble because of its Kurdish
    content and thus the film had to be smuggled out of Iraq and completed in Italy.

    Related news:

    'Nîvê Heyvê' won the Golden Shell

    Ghobadi has been banned of shooting films in Iran!