Director Flees Iran Amidst Pressure: ‘Seed Of The Sacred Fig’ Helmer Speaks Out

Mohammad Rasoulof’s Daring Escape: Fleeing Iran for the Freedom of Artistic Expression


At the illustrious Cannes Film Festival, renowned Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof graced the press conference for his latest cinematic masterpiece, “The Seed of the Sacred Fig.” This poignant film explores the complexities of a family grappling with the oppressive forces of the Iranian regime. However, behind the scenes, Rasoulof faced a harrowing journey, culminating in a daring escape from his home country.

The Impending Threat:

As the final days of filming for “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” approached, ominous clouds gathered over Rasoulof. News reached him of imminent charges levied against him by Iranian authorities. The filmmaker faced the grave prospect of a five-year prison sentence.

A Momentous Decision:

Amidst a whirlwind of emotions, Rasoulof found himself at a crossroads. Aware of the dire consequences if arrested, he grappled with a profound decision. The scales tipped towards a perilous path — fleeing Iran to preserve his artistic freedom and safeguard his film from censorship.

Clandestine Escape:

With the clock ticking, Rasoulof deftly drew upon connections forged during a previous prison stint. His trust in these individuals proved invaluable as they planned a secretive escape route. Within a matter of hours, he bid farewell to his beloved home and embarked on a covert journey.

Crossing the Border into Uncharted Territory:

Through a treacherous trek and with the aid of trusted guides, Rasoulof crossed the Iranian border into an undisclosed neighboring country. He spent several days in hiding, his whereabouts known only to a select few.

European Council Intervention:

Rasoulof’s contacts reached out to the European Council, who verified his identity and provided crucial assistance. They facilitated his safe passage out of the country, ultimately transporting him to Germany.

The ‘Gangsters of Cinema’:

Describing his experiences, Rasoulof drew a parallel between filmmakers operating under repressive regimes and criminals. “We learn to avoid detection,” he explained. “Our lives resemble that of gangsters, except our illicit trade is the art of cinema.”

A Poignant Stand at Cannes:

Despite the risks involved, Rasoulof made a triumphant appearance at the premiere of “The Seed of the Sacred Fig.” The film received a thunderous standing ovation that shattered festival records. His presence sent a powerful message of defiance and resilience.

Honoring Absent Cast:

At the press conference, Rasoulof took a moment to acknowledge the actors who were unable to attend the festival due to government restrictions. He expressed his solidarity with them and his hope for a future free from artistic censorship.


Mohammad Rasoulof’s daring escape from Iran stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of artists who refuse to be silenced. His film, “The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” not only exposes the oppressive nature of authoritarianism but also provides a beacon of hope for those yearning for freedom of expression.