Sharmill Films acquires Jafar Panahi’s THIS IS NOT A FILM

‘When a filmmaker does not make films it is if he is jailed.Even when he is freed from the small jail, he finds himself wandering in a larger jail.’

– Jafar Panahi (The Guardian, UK, September 2010)

Sharmill Films is very proud to announce their new acquisition, THIS IS NOT A FILM, a courageous and provocative new documentary film by the internationally renowned Iranian auteur Jafar Panahi. The film was launched at the recent Cannes Film Festival, and will have a limited release from 10 November 2011.

Jafar Panahi, although unable to attend the Cannes Film Festival, was awarded the Carrosse d’Or for this film which was, in an extraordinary act of courage, smuggled from Iran to France on a USB stick inside a cake.

An outspoken supporter of Iran’s opposition green movement, Jafar Panahi (The Circle, Offside, The White Balloon), defiantly made this film while awaiting the verdict of his appeal against a six-year prison term, and 20-year-ban on film-making, talking to the press and travelling abroad.

The sentence was passed in December 2010, after the Iranian government accused him of ‘colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country's national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic’. Panahi denies the charges and is still awaiting the appeal verdict. (The Guardian, UK, May 2011)

Panahi, 50, was arrested in July 2009 after joining in mourning for protesters killed after the disputed presidential election. He was soon released but denied permission to leave the country. In February 2010, he was arrested with his family and colleagues and taken to Tehran’s Evin prison. Leading Hollywood figures including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Juliette Binoche condemned his arrest. Binoche held Panahi’s name in protest at Cannes in 2010. (The Guardian, UK, May 2011)

This is Not a Film is built from nothing, and yet every moment has a powerful urgency to it.’ -Sight & Sound

‘By far the most powerful and moving film screened at Cannes (2011)’ – Daily Beast

This is Not a Film is an unusual documentary that gives viewers a clear feeling for the director’s life trapped inside the gilded cage of his luxurious Teheran apartment, his frustration at not being able to express himself artistically, and the courage and humour with which he faces an uncertain future.’ (Hollywood Reporter)

‘Panahi’s day of filming falls on Fireworks Wednesday, which marks the Persion New Year –a holiday that makes innocuous law-breakers of many, at least according to a news report Panahi watches, in which the president decrees fireworks illegal. Standing on his balcony, filming the revelry...he seems to be saying that directing is more defiant an act than lighting a firecracker or two. Truth be told, Panahi’s poignant “Film” is infinitely more explosive.’ – Variety

‘The film of the [Cannes] festival of 2011... [Panahi and Mirtahmasb], using the barest means but inspired by their art, their passion, and their existence in the world, have crafted one of cinema’s rare masterpieces of truth.’ - MUBI

For more information please contact Kate McCurdy, Marketing Manager 03 9826 9077