Jafar Panahi a possible show at Montreal

Iranian filmmaker's passport withheld after arrest

TORONTO -- Montreal World Film Festival organizers remain hopeful acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi will make the trek to Canada this month for a film retrospective, despite his on-going legal troubles.

MWFF president Serge Losique said Iranian judges have withheld Panahi's travel passport, even after his release from Tehran's Evin prison in May following a protest from the international film community.

Losique said he received an email this week from Panahi indicating a possibility he might retrieve his passport, which was confiscated on his latest arrest and imprisonment for unspecified charges in October 2009.

"The only thing he (Panahi) is sure of is that if he gets his passport in time, he will definitely come to Montreal," the festival head said.

Panahi, a major figure in Iran's New Wave film movement, attended last year's MWFF as head of the festival jury.

His latest film, "The Accordion," is to be shown at the upcoming August 26 to Sept. 9 event in Montreal.

The short film about a pair of young street musicians has also been booked into the Venice Film Festival.
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