This clandestine documentary, smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. While appealing his sentence – six years in prison and a 20-year ban on filmmaking – Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb, and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking.
Jafar Panahi Film Productions, Iran
2011 – Cannes IFF; 2012 – UNESCO Award for Best Documentary at Sofia IFF; Oscar nominee
Jafar Panahi, born in 1960, is a renowned director, author and producer. His directorial debut The White Balloon earned him the Camera d'Or in Cannes in 1995. In his films Panahi critically examines the social circumstances in his country. Shortly after the Berlinale invited him to be on the International Jury in 2011, Panahi was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and banned from filmmaking for the next 20 years. Unfortunately Jafar Panahi was denied permission to leave his home country for Berlin. The Berlinale kept a place open on the jury for him, and in doing so wanted to signal its support for his struggle for freedom.
(selected): The White Balloon (1995), The Mirror (1997), The Circle (2000), Offside (2006), This Is Not a Film (2011)
Mojtaba Mirtahmasb was born in 1971 in Kerman, Iran. After graduating from Tehran's University of Art in 1995, Mirtahmasb completed a nine-part documentary film series entitled Art Stories. Mirtahmasb would continue to work as a documentarian, collaborating with notable filmmakers such as Kambozia Partovi (Iran Is My Home) and Siddiq Barmak (Osama). In early September 2011, Mirtahmasb was prevented from leaving the country to attend the Toronto International Film Festival, where his documentary about Panahi was being shown. Mirtahmasb, along with six other Iranian filmmakers, was arrested later that month on the charge of ‘collaborating with the Persian BBC’, and was forced to spend three months in Evin Prison in Tehran.
(selected): Lady of the Roses (2008), This Is Not a Film (2011)