The Berlin Film Festival announced its support for Iranian filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, according to a statement by festival organizers yesterday.
Jafar Panahi was sentenced to 6 years in prison last month for making a film without permission and fomenting protests. He has also been banned from making any films for 20 years.
Berlin Festival organizers have indicated that they will pay tribute to Panahi, whose film Offside won the Silver Bear award in 2006 and has been named a member of this year’s festival jury, by screening his films and setting up a discussion panel during the festival with Iranian and international filmmakers and artists on censorship in Iran.
The director of the Berlin Festival, Dieter Kosslick, condemned Panahi’s sentence saying: “We are going to use every opportunity against this drastic verdict.”
Jafar Panahi, a winner of many international awards, was very vocal in his support of the Iranian opposition in the recent disputes over the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the presidential elections.