Jafar Panahi’s Taxi has won the Golden Bear at the 65th Berlin Film Festival. Panahi’s niece, Hannah Saiidi, who portrays one of the film’s protagonists, accepted the prize on the filmmaker’s behalf, as Panahi is banned from traveling abroad and could not attend.
Taxi was reportedly made on a low budget with Panahi himself acting in the film as the taxi driver. Nasrin Sotoudeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, also appears in the film as one of the passengers.
Panahi has been banned from making films and traveling abroad because of his involvement in the 2009 election protests but he continues to make low-budget films without official film permits.
Panahi is one of the Berlinale’s favourite filmmakers, and eight of his films have been programmed in the festival so far. In 2013, he won the Silver Bear jointly with Cambuzia Partoyi for the script of Curtain and in 2006 he won the Silver Bear for director for his film Offside.