The PR Guru

December 21, 2010

Acclaimed Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi banned from making films for 20 years

Jafar Panahi, an acclaimed Iranian film-maker, was sentenced to six years in prison today and has been banned from directing and producing films for the next 20 years.

This is because he is a supporter of Iran’s opposition green movement and was making propaganda against the regime.

Panahi won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes film festival in 1995 for his debut feature, The White Balloon, and the Golden Lion at Venice for his 2000 drama, The Circle. He is highly regarded around the world but his films are banned at home.

Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia University, told the Guardian the sentence showed Iran’s leaders could not tolerate the arts. “This is a catastrophe for Iran’s cinema,” he said. “Panahi is now exactly in the most creative phase of his life and by silencing him at this sensitive time, they are killing his art and talent.”

Leading Hollywood figures including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Juliette Binoche have condemned his arrest.

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