Award-winning Iranian film director Jafar Panahi was released on $200,000 bail today (Tuesday) from the Evin prison in Tehran, where he had been held since March on charges of producing an "anti-regime" film. The film was reportedly in early development. Panahi had been named as a judge at the Cannes Film Festival, which ended on Sunday, and pleas for his release had been voiced at a festival news conference by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, whose film Certified Copy was shown in competition , and at Sunday night's awards ceremony, when the film's star, Juliette Binoche, who won the best actress award, remarked that Panahi's only offense was "being an artist, being independent." Panahi's first film, The White Balloon , won Cannes' Camera d'Or award in 1995; his 2000 film The Circle won the Venice Film Festival's top Golden Lion award; and his 2006 film Offside won the Berlin Film Festival's runner-up Silver Bear prize. (He was also barred from attending this year's Berlin festival.) He had been a supporter of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in last year's disputed Iranian elections, and his latest film reportedly concerns the wave of protests that swept the country following Mousavi's defeat.

25/05/2010