Last year, the director managed to release a critically acclaimed diary film about his experiences under house arrest, slyly titled "This is Not a Film," by allegedly smuggling it to the Cannes Film Festival on a USB drive hidden in a pastry. The movie later played at the 2011 New York Film Festival and was released stateside by Palisades Tartan in February.
Now, although Panahi faces a 20-year ban on filmmaking and a six-year jail sentence that was issued by the Iranian government in late 2010, he has completed another feature, according to his colleague and fellow Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami.
In New York City for the U.S. premiere of his film "Like Someone in Love" at the New York Film Festival, Kiarostami told Indiewire in a conversation this morning that Panahi had completed his latest production. He predicted that it would hit the festival circuit in the near future.
"He has happened to have made his second film since he received his sentence," Kiarostami said through a translator. "After his sentencing he made the film that played at Cannes, and since then he has made another. I guess it will be shown at another festival. So he is making films in Iran. I don't know why, but that's a reality people cannot deal with."
Addressing the challenges of working under the governmental constraints, Kiarostami emphasized the various strategies that filmmakers must use to keep making movies.
"Some people stay in Iran and undergo the censorship, working however they can. Others, like me, decided to work elsewhere," he said, noting that "Like Someone in Love" was shot in Japan. "Everyone does what they can. Of course, the situation is difficult for everyone."
Stay tuned for Indiewire's full interview with Kiarostami this week.