Toronto 2011: Palisades Tartan Picks Up U.S., U.K. Rights to Iranian Director Doc
TORONTO—One week after Mojtaba Mirtahmasb was barred by Iran from accompanying his documentary This Is Not a Film to the Toronto Film Festival, Palisades Tartan has picked up all U.S. and U.K. rights to the clandestine film, about famous Iranian director Jafar Panahi.
Mirtahmasb and Panahi co-directed the documentary--shot secretly on an iPhone and smuggled into France in a cake for its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May—examines Panahi’s day-to-day life since being placed under house arrest for his political views. Panahi, who wrote the documentary, also is banned from filmmaking for 20 years.
In the 75-minute documentary Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, and discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb, a longtime friend and fellow Iranain filmmaker.
On the eve of Toronto, Mirtahmasb was detained at the airport in Tehran and banned from leaving the country.
The deal for U.S. and U.K. rights was struck between Palisades Tartan and Wide Management.
This film is of undeniable importance today, especially amid the current Middle-Eastern unrest, and we look forward to sharing this powerful and significant film,” Tartan president-CEO Soumya Sriraman said.
Since his detention in 2009, Panahi’s cause has won the support of the international film community, including when Juliette Binoche took to the stage at Cannes carrying a sign that read Jafar Panahi Isabella Rossellini followed suit at the Berlin International Film Festival.
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 have all signed a letter of support calling for his release.
And in December, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese, Harvey Weinstein were among those signing an Amnesty International petition.