Renowned Iranian director, Jafar Panahi, received a 6-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and conducting interviews with foreign press due to his open support of the opposition party in Iran's 2009 election. In this documentary, which was secretly shot on an iPhone and a modest DV camera by Panahi's close friend Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, Panahi shares his day-to-day life as he waits for a decision on his appeal. Since his detention in 2009, Panahi's cause has won international support from the film community. Juliette Binoche was instrumental
in bringing his story into the spotlight at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival when she took the stage carrying a sign that read JAFAR PANAHI and Isabella Rossellini followed suit at the Berlin International Film Festival. World-renowned directors, including Joel and Ethan Coen, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Robert De Niro, Curtis Hanson, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, Terrence Malick, Michael Moore, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, James Schamus, Paul Schrader, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Frederick Wiseman signed a letter of support calling for his release. In December, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese, and distributor Harvey Weinstein, among others, signed an Amnesty International petition for him as well. More recently, his co-director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb was detained at the Tehran airport while heading over to attend the film's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which sent shockwaves throughout the international film community. Panahi, whose critically acclaimed work includes OFFSIDE (2006) and THE CIRCLE (2000), and co-director Mirtahmasb are currently banned from filmmaking and from leaving the country. Both men are accused of fomenting anti-government propaganda through their movies. Panahi's appeal was denied in October 2011. According to the Islamic Republic's laws, he could be arrested and sent back to jail at any time.
This clandestinely made documentary, shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the day-to-day life of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi (OFFSIDE, THE CIRCLE). While appealing his sentence – six years in prison and a 20-year ban from filmmaking – fellow director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (Lady of the Roses) visits Mr. Panahi at his Tehran apartment and films him talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, reflecting on the art of filmmaking, meeting some of his neighbors and even interacting with an inquisitive iguana.