Iranian ministry of culture has told the Berlin Film Festival instead of Jafar Panahi, Iranian filmmaker recently sentenced to six years in prison, they can invite other Iranian filmmakers to serve in their jury panel.
The film and audiovisual department of the ministry of culture reported that Iranian embassy in Germany has forwarded a copy of Dieter Kosslick’s invitation to Iranian foreign ministry which has been duly forwarded to the ministry of culture.
The director of the Berlin Film Festival, Dieter Kosslick has invited Jafar Panahi to serve as a member of the festival’s jury in the 61st Berlin Film Festival.
The ministry has responded to the invitation saying that in view of the legal proceedings against Panahi, he will not be able to serve in their jury. They have however suggested a list of filmmakers with names such as Kiarostami, Jozani, Hatamikia and a number of other Iranian filmmakers which the festival can invite to their event in February.
Jafar Panahi was arrested in the post-election protests to the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was released on bail in May and the court has recently sentenced him to six years in jail and 20 years ban from filmmaking and travel abroad.
The Berlin Festival has officially spoken out against Panahi’s sentence and expressed complete support for the persecuted filmmaker.
Panahi’s support for the post-election protests and his alleged intentions to make a film about these protests are the basis of his sentencing.