20 - A Project for jafar panahi and freedom

In 1995 Jafar Panahi received a Golden Camera in Cannes for his film “The White Balloon“. In the year 2000 he won a Golden Lion in Venice for “The Circle“ and was awarded a Silver Bear in 2006 for “Offside“. In Dubai his documentary “This is not a Film“ (2011) was voted best documentary film in the Asian and African market. In 2012 he was furthermore awarded with the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament for freedom of thought followed by another Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013 for his film “Parde“.

Panahi was arrested twice throughout the protest movements following the presidential election in 2009. He was sentenced to six years of incarceration and a twenty-year occupational ban. He is no longer allowed to leave the country nor conduct interviews with the local and foreign press. Numerous filmmakers have spoken up for his release from prison, such as Michael Moore, Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford, Abbas Kiarostami and Juliette Binoche.

The Iranian musician and composer Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, thrilling the press and audiences all over the world with his unique style, has also received numerous national and international awards for his musical works.

Mortazavi was deeply shocked by the news about Panahi's arrest. In the light of these grotesque verdicts he sought to overcome his initial helplessness by the force of his creativity. He was able to fathom the rhythm of Panahi's heart from prison, sensing the emotions of an artist who cannot express himself freely.

In order to express the calling of Panahi's heart for artistic freedom through his instrument, he surmounted numerous obstacles to record the imprisoned filmmaker's actual heartbeat in Iran. Lead by Panahi's heartbeat he traces Panahi's anguish, his sorrow and his determination to break through constraints and limitiations. Mortazavi acconpanies Panahi's heartbeat, he contributes to the actual beating of the heart by playing on top of it and dwelling in the musical colours of the moment.

And he knows: “Revolution comes from within“.

He is performing twenty minutes for twenty years of occupational ban replaying the original sound of Panahi's heartbeat followed by a tweny-minute performance on his instrument the tombak, dedicated to the filmmaker's freedom and the release of his creative forces.

Mortazavi insists Panahi to be the center of the project while he remains in the background. He does not however entirely manage to hide behind Panahi's heartbeat. Nestling up against the rhythms of the heart, he is setting Panahi's spirit and soul into motion. Playing at alternating speed, ranging from soft and slow to frenetically rapid sequences of sound, he stirs up his audience's core to awaken their spirits.

All artists who participated in "Project - 20" worked on honorary basis.


Artwork Logo: Acci Baba
Recording, Mix & Mastering: Alexander Semrow, StudioX Berlin
A big thanks goes to all of those who helped to realise this project.

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Mohammad Reza Mortazavi @ Facebook