Iran refuses Regime critic’s visit to the Berlin International Film Festival

2010/02/16

Published on the website of German weekly magazine “Der Spiegel” on 16 February 2010
Source (German): http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,678295,00.html#ref=rss
English translation kindly provided by Josh Manning

Director Jafar Panahi: Iran did not let him leave the country to attend the Berlin film festival (Getty images)

Tehran’s might knows no mercy when it comes to critics of the regime – not even when they are shooting a successful international film. Jafar Panahi, a widely renowned film director has had to learn this first hand as the Iranian would find his planned visit to the Berlin Film Festival denied.

Berlin – The renowned Iranian director Jafar Panahi was denied by his homeland to leave the country. The film festival said on Tuesday that the film maker was expected to take part in a discussion during World Cinema Fund Day titled “Iranian Cinema: Present and Future, Expectations Within and Outside the Country”.

Film festival head Dieter Kosslick said: “We are surprised and deeply regret that such a distinguished and internationally praised director be refused to take part in our anniversary festival and speak of his visions of cinema.”

Panahi is considered one of Iran’s top independent movie producers. In 2000, he was praised and given a Golden Lion Award in the Venice Film Festival for his film “The Circle” and was bestowed a Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006 for another film, “Offside”. In summer, he was arrested for taking part in the Iranian opposition protests. Both his wife and daughter thought at the time he might have been one of those killed during the demonstrations against Ahmadinejad’s election.

cte/dpa

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