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Iran: Open Letter to the Sundance Community

This weekend, Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat, a Sundance Institute Artist Trustee, sat at our annual Board Retreat and described in terrifying detail a situation we all know about, but perhaps not in enough detail. Among many others recently arrested in Iran’s post-election demonstrations are Iranian artists, journalists, filmmakers and human rights leaders, including some filmmakers who have received Sundance support. Shirin spoke of torture, and in extreme cases, executions. The situation is urgent.

When the press doesn’t cover an issue adequately, it runs the risk of falling off of the radar. Sundance Institute reaches out now to artists everywhere to stand witness until our colleagues, and all detainees, are freed.

This week, Shirin is one of the organizers of a hunger strike demonstration at the United Nations in New York City on behalf of her fellow Iranians, asking for their immediate release. On the evenings of July 22, 23, and 24, I ask the Sundance alumni community to stand with her and draw attention to this great human rights violation. This is just one of the many things you can do to keep international attention focused on the issue.

Sundance Institute has long stood for freedom of expression and the power of human rights through artist’s eyes. Lend your efforts — your voice can make a difference.