Jafar Panahi has won awards at the world's most important film festivals, including Cannes, Venice and Berlin, and is one of Iran's most recognized living filmmakers. This despite fierce opposition from the regime under which he lives and works.
Panahi has been sentenced to a 20-year professional ban, travel ban, house arrest and prison, but has nevertheless continued to make films, presumably under the radar of the Iranian authorities. When he went to the prosecutor's office this summer to inquire about the imprisonment of director colleagues Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad, Panahi was arrested again. He is now serving a prison sentence of six years, which he was originally sentenced to in 2010 along with the professional ban for "propaganda against the authorities".
In light of this – and not least the extensive protests in Iran recently – it is both gratifying and timely that Panahi was this year's recipient of Film fra Sør's honorary award. The director's new film also won at the festival in Oslo in November No Bears the main prize, the Silver Mirror. In addition, he was given a mini-retrospective consisting of the feature films Taxi Tehran (2015) and Three women
No Bears had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, . . .
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