Iranian film director Jafar Panahi will be the honorary president of the international jury of Bif&st 2023 which will take place in Bari from March 24 to 1 April. Next to his empty chair will be the other six members of the jury: the film critics Jean Gili (president) and Grazyna Torbicka, the producer Bettina Brokemper, the directors Salvatore Maira and Pippo Mezzapesa, the actress Valeria Cavalli. The first of the 12 films in competition, No End by Nader Saeivar, is inspired by the figure of Panahi who also edited it. A precise choice by the director of Bif&st, Felice Laudadio, in solidarity with the great director – winner with his masterpieces of countless awards at the Venice, Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, San Sebastian, Tokyo festivals – whose immediate release is being requested, and in support of the Iranian people’s struggle against the vicious regime of the ayatollahs.
Jafar Panahi, already sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the system”, was jailed last July while protesting against the arrest of his colleagues Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad by the ruthless Iranian government which is brutally cracking down on the protests which exploded in the country after the assassination of twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was beaten to death.