Iranians love cinema; it’s their favorite medium of entertainment and so it’s a massive industry in Iran. But movies are highly censored; there’s no freedom on screen to address issues of religion or politics. Filmmakers are tightly controlled; there’s much pain. This industry needs the light and love of Christ.
There were signs that the tight control on cinema might soon be eased when President Rouhani was elected and he re-opened Iran’s House of Cinema. But sadly the message from the administration has been mixed. Rouhani later nominated a man from the conservative camp as culture minister, disappointing many artists and reformists. And various filmmakers remain imprisoned or under house arrest, like Jafar Panahi. It seems cinema in Iran is not going to shake off the shackles of oppression anytime soon. As one young Iranian filmmaker expressed during an interview at an international film festival, “Anything that makes people think is censored in Iran.”
As Christians we should pray for this popular industry. We can pray for filmmakers who have been abused by the regime. We can pray that more Christians would engage in the industry and that many in the industry would come to salvation. And we can pray that Iran’s love of movies would mean many people are willing to watch ‘The Jesus Film’ – a dramatised version of the Gospel of Luke- if they are handed one by a friend, and that many would come to Christ as a result.
• Filmmakers currently imprisoned
• Christians in the movie industry to be brave shining lights
• The Jesus Film to reach many more hungry hearts