(Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty) | March 10, 2010
By Kristin Deasy
The poster advertising the opening of Europe’s largest human rights film festival shows a 20-something brunette in leather pants ready to lasso, cowgirl-style, the attention of potential attendees.
She’s also wearing a green jacket. It’s a good fit for the festival’s opening film, “Green Days,” by 21-year-old Iranian filmmaker Hana Makhmalbaf. Makhmalbaf’s documentary also kicks off the focus on Iran-related film offerings in this year’s One World Film Festival, which is sponsored by the Czech NGO People In Need.
People In Need human rights and democracy director Marek Svoboda says that because his group was involved in “a series of grassroots happenings” in Prague following the disputed election of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in June 2009, the festival’s emphasis on Iran this year is “a very natural extension of something we were already involved in.”
Protests erupted in Iran after Ahmadinejad’s election, with thousands of people taking to the streets in the greatest social unrest in the country since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. With the support of organizations like People In Need, Iranian opposition groups throughout Europe have also held solidarity demonstrations.
“Green Days” director Hana Makhmalbaf, the daughter of famed Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, won the Venice Film Festival’s bravery award in September for her documentary on the days leading up to the election.