Sharmill Films has announced that they have acquired outspoken Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s new documentary, This Is Not A Film. It will receive a limited release in Australia from 10 November 2011.
The most remarkable thing about Panahi’s film is the story behind it. In July 2009, after joining in mourning for protesters killed after the disputed presidential election, Panahi was arrested. Although released, he was later arrested with his family and colleague in early 2010, and sent to a prison in Tehran. In December 2010, Panahi was handed a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media. He was also banned from leaving the country.
This Is Not A Film was awarded the Carrosse d’Or (The Golden Coach) at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, rewarding filmmakers with independent vision and thought, and while Panahi was unable to attend, the film was smuggled from Iran to France on a USB stick inside a cake. This incredible story is the stuff that thrillers are made of, but the tragedy is its reality.
Protested around the world, by filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Juliette Binoche have publicly spoken out about his incarceration.
The 2011 Sydney Film Festival staged a series of screenings as part of their campaign to help free Jafar Panahi and his younger filmmaking colleague, Mohammad Rasoulof.
This Is Not A Film is released in Australia on 10 November 2011 from Sharmill Films.