An Iranian moviemaker has been banned from attending the Venice Film Festival in Italy by officials in Tehran.
Jafar Panahi's acclaimed short film The Accordion is screening at the event, which kicked off on Wednesday (01Sep10), but he won't be there to see it.
In a statement issued to festival bosses, the director, who was released from jail earlier this year (10), has revealed he was denied a request to attend the event.
He writes, "Despite having been released, I am still not free to travel outside my country to attend film festivals."
Panahi was released from jail in May (10). He was originally incarcerated for allegedly planning to make an anti-government film.
But the filmmaker reveals the fact his film, about two Tehran street musicians, is showing in Venice is a huge boost: "In the most desperate moments of my imprisonment... I drew courage thinking of myself as a proud member of this community."
Panahi won the Camera d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his 1995 film White Balloon and he claimed a top honour at the Venice Film Festival in 2000 for The Circle.