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Iran bars prominent filmmaker Jafar Panahi from attending Vencie festival

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Iranian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi was prevented from leaving Iran to attend the opening of his latest film in Venice Festival.

Panahi after he was released from Evin Prison in May 2010 and before he was arrested

Reuters reports that Panahi, who was recently incarcerated for several months in Evin Prison, has issued a statement saying that Islamic Republic authorities have forbidden him from leaving the country.

Panahi was supposed to attend the Venice Film Festival which started yesterday for the opening of his film The Accordion.

Panahi writes: "Despite release from prison, I am not free to leave the country and attend film festivals."

In his statement, Panahi criticizes the authorities for all the restrictions they have enforced on his filmmaking efforts in the past five years and writes: "When a filmmaker is not allowed to make films, it means that his mind is kept incarcerated. He might not be imprisoned in a small cell, but he is wandering in a bigger prison."

Jafar Panahi thanks the international film community for all its efforts in securing his release while he was in prison.

Jafar Panahi won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for his film The Circle.

Last March he was arrested by Islamic Republic security forces along with 17 of his friends and family at his home in connection with his support for the reform protests of the past year.

After 80 days in prison, Panahi started a hunger strike which led to an internationl campaign of support for the incarcerated filmmaker. He was finally released in May on a $200,000 bail.

He was supposed to travel to Venice yesterday to attend the opening of his film and give a master workshop to young filmmakers.

Islamic Republic authorities also barred Panahi from attending the Berlin Film Festival last February.

... Payvand News - 09/03/10 ... --

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