Palisades Tartan Films has picked up all U.S. and UK rights for This Is Not a Film (pictured), the controversial Iranian doc co-directed by Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, which was smuggled out of Iran on a USB stick hidden in a cake.
The 75-minute film premiered last-minute at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, and played last week at the Toronto International Film Festival as a free screening. It looks at filmmaker Panahi (Offside, The Circle), whose open support of the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 election got him a six-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking.
The doc was secretly shot on an iPhone by Mirtahmasb, Panahi’s close friend, and shows the imprisoned director discussing his plight and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking.
Mirtahmasb himself was detained in Iran last week while en route to the Toronto – Iranian authorities have seized his passport, computer and personal effects, and he “is now banned from leaving Iranian territory” according to his spokeswoman.
The deal was struck by Palisades Tartan and Wide Management. Soumya Sriraman, Palisades Tartan’s president and CEO, said: “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.”
Among the directors who have signed a letter of support calling for Panahi’s release are Michael Moore, Jonathan Demme, Frederick Wiseman, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Joel and Ethan Coen, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro, Curtis Hanson, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, Terrence Malick, James Schamus, Paul Schrader, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone.