Mike Fleming

Martin Scorsese has issued a statement about the 6-year prison sentences slapped on Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammed Rasoulof. Along with Steven Spielberg and Francis Coppola, Scorsese spoke out on Panahi’s behalf at Cannes, when the Iranian filmmaker was first arrested.

“I was shocked and disheartened by the news of Jafar Panahi and Mohammed Rasoulof’s conviction and sentencing,” Scorsese said. “It’s depressing to imagine a society with so little faith in its own citizens that it feels compelled to lock up anyone with a contrary opinion. As filmmakers, we all need to stand up for Panahi and Rasoulof. We should applaud their courage and campaign aggressively for their immediate release.”

This follow similar sentiments of support by Iranian filmmakers Ali Samadii Ahadi (docu The Green Wave) and Maryam Keshavarz (Cirumstance) each of whom are bringing those pictures to next month’s Sundance Film Festival.