Powers was seriously upset about the movie and its potential to cause harm, so much so that he wrote an email to the programmer of South by Southwest, where the film was scheduled to screen (Powers had asked Zahedi to withdraw it). "I... was appalled and frightened by what I saw," he wrote. "I think you’ve put yourself in a very difficult position by programming it." And that's not all: Powers then wrote to several film journalists, asking them to consider "the people [Zahedi] took advantage of during filming" when writing about the film.
Powers clearly overstepped, and the reaction toward him in comments-sections has been critical. But it seems to me like he had genuine concern for the safety of the film's participants (one of whom is a colleague of Powers); if I had any power in the filmmaking community, I too might have tried to do something to try to help them, or at least mitigate the fallout. This wasn't personal (Powers has chosen an earlier Zahedi film for SundanceNOW’s Doc Club next year), nor a mere aesthetic disagreement. As Powers saw it, there were lives and livelihoods at stake—real-world consequences for people who didn't ask for them.
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