The cinematographers put forward their demand in a letter addressed to the president, the minister of culture, and the head of the nation’s Cinema Organization.
In the letter, the film-makers criticized what they called biased and personal judgment by officials tasked with issuing permits for movies.
“We, the undersigned, demand an end to the narrow-minded and reactionary look by relevant authorities at film-makers, and hence, we [who are] at the lowest level, call for the licence for making feature films to become optional,” part of the letter reads.
They called for the revocation of an act which obliges cinematographers to receive licences for making movies.
Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the past two decades. Some critics now rank Iran as the world’s most important national cinema, artistically, with a significance that invites comparison to Italian neorealism and similar movements in past decades.
A range of international film festivals have honored Iranian cinema in the last twenty years. World-renowned Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with many film critics from around the world, have praised Iranian cinema as one of the world’s most important artistic cinemas.
Although the Iranian film industry is flourishing, its filmmakers have operated under strict rules. Some Iranian films that have been internationally acclaimed are banned in Iran itself.
The application of the strict rules is often inconsistent. Several films have been refused to be released inside Iran, but have been given export permits to enter international film festivals.
By the way, the rules have not kept Iranian film-makers from turning the country’s cinema into one of the world’s most respected ones winning dozens of international prizes each year.