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The Continuing Wave Of Protest Is Unabated As
The Berlinale, The Deutsche Filmakademie And
radioeins Honors The Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi
With A Screening Of This Is Not A Film On November 9th

This Is Not a Film
In December 2010 the Iranian director Jafar Panahi and his fellow director Mohammad Rasoulof were charged with spreading "propaganda against the system" and sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films and traveling for the next 20 years. Despite continuing international protest, an Iranian court of appeal then upheld the sentence against the filmmakers.

"Convicting artists and banning them from their professions violates human rights, freedom of opinion and expression in the arts. We sharply condemn such infringements and want to demonstrate our solidarity with this screening," says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2011, as a form of public protest and recognition for the courage of these Iranian filmmakers who continue their work despite constant danger, the Berlin International Film Festival, the Deutsche Filmakademie and radioeins are presenting Jafar Panahi's and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb's latest work, This Is Not a Film, at Berlin's Cinema in the KulturBrauerei The film, which is not one, shows a day in the life of Panahi, who was forced to wait for months under house arrest for the outcome of his appeal. Viewers see him eating breakfast, phoning his lawyer, and talking with the building's maintenance man who has come to pick up the trash. The Iranian authorities refuse to approve the script for a new film, so Panahi enacts it in his own living room, using tape to mark off an imaginary set and reading the roles aloud. A film has been made after all, just completely differently than planned. This Is Not a Film is the defiance of a director who cannot desist from making films and presents the atrociousness of being banned from his profession without any self-pity whatsoever.

At the Festival in February the Berlinale expressed its solidarity and called attention to the plight of Panahi and other Iranian filmmakers with a number of initiatives. What's more, Panahi was unable to make it to the Festival after being invited to be on the Berlinale's International Jury.

In September, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, co-director of Jafar Panahi's This Is Not a Film, as well as the Iranian filmmakers and actors Katayoon Shahabi, Hadi Afarideh, Naser Safarian, Shahnam Bazdar and Mohsen Shahrnazdar were also arrested.

Panahi's empty jury chair at Berlina 2010 drew the attention of the media and prompted worldwide statements of solidarity. It also moved the Deutsche Filmakademie to launch the project Filmmakers In Prison, which stands up for politically persecuted filmmakers and supports all those affected. Both the Berlinale and the Deutsche Filmakademie have also protested against the most recent arrests and convictions in Iran.

This Is Not a Film is screened within the scope of radioeins' "Schöner Mittwoch" series on November 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm, Cinema in the KulturBrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36, House T, 10435 Berlin. This Is Not a Film (original version with English subtitles) is directed, produced, written and edited by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. 74 min

Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick, Fred Breinersdorfer, Project Leader of Filmmakers In Prison/Deutsche Filmakademie and Ali Samadi Ahadi, director of the documentary The Green Wave, will attend the screening.

The Business of Film Supports the initiative Filmmakers in Prison. See Elspeth Tavares' Editorial Comment Berlinale 2010: Breaking The Culture Of Fear & Promoting Freedom Of Speech And Individual Creativity & The Vital Role Film Plays In Ensuring Democratic Transparency.

This is not the first time these pages have addressed the geopolitical and socio-economic landscape of our global society and how fundamentally important a role film plays as the 21st century visual communicator. Hats off once again to Dieter Kosslick, Berlinale's Director! In the strongest action possible, the Berlinale is displaying the sort of solidarity that is necessary, uniting all individuals who believe fervently in Freedom of Speech and Creativity.


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