Last updated: 8 September, 2011

Filmmaker barred from leaving Iran

Iran has prevented a leading filmmaker from leaving the country to attend the Toronto film festival, where his documentary about a detained co-director is being shown, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s passport was seized when he tried to board a flight to Paris on Monday to promote the French release of “This is not a Film,” spokeswoman Emmanuelle Zinggeler told AFP.

The documentary depicts a day in the life of Jafar Panahi as he appeals his conviction for “propaganda against the system” by an Iranian court for making a film about unrest after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

Panahi, who was sentenced in December to six years in prison and slapped with a 20-year filmmaking ban, is under house arrest in Tehran.

Mirtahmasb, who did travel to the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, “is now banned from leaving Iranian territory” and his personal effects, including notes and a computer have been confiscated, his spokeswoman said.

The filmmaker’s wife and his son were allowed to leave the country.

“This is not a Film,” which premiered in Cannes after being smuggled out of the Islamic republic, is to be screened at festivals in Toronto and London and to be released in France September 28.