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Golden Orange expects to host director under arrest

ISTANBUL | 8/28/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was banned from directing and producing films for 20 years and is currently serving his six-year sentence under house arrest, has been invited to the Antalya GoldenOrange Film Festival along with another notable Iranian director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb

Preparations continue for the 48th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival that will be organized in collaboration with the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality and the Antalya Foundation for Culture and Arts, or AKSAV, from Oct. 8 to 14 in the southern city of Antalya.

Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who served as head of the jury at the 44th Golden Orange Film Festival in 2007, is among the names that have been invited to this year’s festival. Panahi was banned by the Iranian government from directing and producing films for 20 years after being found guilty in December of making propaganda against the regime.

Comittee will ask freedom for Panahi

The festival committee has applied to the Iranian government to release Panahi, who has been under house arrest in his country, for the event.

One of the most influential names of Iranian New Wave Movement, Panahi was also unable to attend the 63rd Cannes Film Festival as well as the 61st Berlin and 67th Venice film festivals for the same reason. His seat was empty at the three festivals.

The other Iranian name who has been invited to the festival is Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, one of the masters of Iranian cinema and the director of “This is Not a Film,” for which the festival will organize a special screening.

Panahi’s latest film “This is Not a Film,” which was shot in March, will be presented by his friend Mirtahmasb, who is Panahi’s collaborator and cameraman in the film. He spends a day with Panahi in his apartment and watching the director map out scenes from a screenplay he’s been working on as he awaits the court’s verdict that could send him to jail for the next six years.

While most films premiering at Cannes are delivered by private helicopter, the 75-minute film was smuggled into France on a USB stick hidden inside a cake. It is officially credited as an “effort” by Panahi and Mirtahmasb.

“The reality of being alive and the dream of keeping cinema alive motivated us to go through the existing limitations in Iranian cinema,” Panahi said in a letter sent to the Cannes Film Festival, which showed the film as a Special Screening in the Official Selection.

Panahi has won 52 awards

Panahi’s first feature film, “White Balloon,” was shot in 1995. The film won a Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. His second feature film, “The Mirror,” received the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Film Festival.

His most notable film is “The Circle,” which he made in 2000 and criticized the treatment of women under Iran’s Islamist regime. He won the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival for this film which was named FIPRESCI

Film of the Year at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, and appears on Top 10 lists of critics worldwide.

Currently holding 52 awards, Panahi has become one of the most notable directors by winning the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006 for his “Offside,” featuring the story of girls who disguise themselves as boys to be able to watch a football match. The film was selected for competition in the 2006 Berlin Film Festival, where he was awarded the Silver Bear.

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