Toronto 2011: Iran Bars Filmmaker From Attending Film Festival

"This Is Not a Film"

Event organizers condemn the country for not allowing Mojtaba Mirtahmasb to bring "This Is Not A Film" doc to Toronto.

TORONTO -- Iranian filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb has been barred from travelling to the Toronto International Film Festival to screen his documentary This Is Not a Film, about a day in fellow Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s life.

"It is truly unfortunate that Mojtaba Mirtahmasb has been prohibited from traveling here to attend the festival,” Toronto fest director Cameron Bailey said Wednesday.

The 75 minute Farsi-language documentary, which depicts Panahi as he appeals his conviction for propaganda against the Iranian system, is screening tomorrow in Toronto, on TIFF’s opening night.

“His presence and perspective on the film and the circumstances surrounding the making of the film would have been a very special element for audiences attending the screening,” Bailey said of Mirtahmasb not receiving a visa to travel to Toronto.

At the same time, Iranian authorities are giving Panahi's wife and daughter clearance to travel to TIFF, and both are expected to be on hand for the first screening of the documentary.

Toronto has also laid on a free screening of This Is Not a Film to encourage fest audience to see the documentary and learn more about Panahi’s on-going legal and professional troubles in Iran.