(Paris) The Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday denounced “a serious attack on freedom of expression” after the sentencing in Iran of filmmaker Saeed Roustaee and his producer to six months in prison for the screening of one of their films on the Croisette.

Leïla et ses frères had been presented in official competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, then banned from broadcasting in Iran.

The conviction of Saeed Roustaee, 34, and his producer Javad Norouzbeigui, which comes with a five-year work ban, “constitutes, once again, a serious attack on the freedom of expression of artists, filmmakers , Iranian producers and technicians,” the Festival denounced in a statement.

“Like many professionals around the world, the Cannes Film Festival expresses its support for all those who suffer violence and reprisals in the production and distribution of their works. The Festival is their home. He is and always will be by their side to defend the freedom of creation and expression,” he adds.

The reform-minded daily Etemad reported on Tuesday that a Tehran court convicted Saeed Roustaee of “contributing to opposition propaganda against the Islamic system” in Iran.

Leïla et ses frères, which portrays a poor family on the verge of implosion in an Iran plunged into a deep economic crisis, had been banned from the country for having, according to the authorities, “breaking the rules by participating without authorization […] in Cannes and then in Munich”.

According to Etemad, the court ruled that the two filmmakers would only serve one-twentieth of the sentence, or about nine days, while the rest “will be suspended for five years”, during which time they cannot work.

Several voices have been raised in the world of cinema to denounce this condemnation, including that of the Society of Film Directors and Directors (SRF) or that of the Biarritz Film Festival, of which Saeed Roustaee has just chaired the jury of the first edition. .

Before the one who also rose to prominence with Tehran’s law on drug trafficking, Iran has already targeted and detained filmmakers who have won awards at the biggest festivals and accused of propaganda against the regime, such as Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof.