By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire September 14, 2011 at 5:36AM
Palisades Tartan has acquired U.S. and U.K. rights to Jafar Panahi's acclaimed Iranian documentary "This is Not a Film" out of Toronto.
The 75-minute film depicts the filmmaker at home awaiting news of his prison sentencing.
Panahi was detained at the Tehran airport on his way to Toronto, and was not allowed to attend the festival.
The film is currently playing in Toronto after being smuggled into Cannes, where it had its world premiere earlier this year.
"“This is Not a Film” delivers a sharp, measured critique of the conditions that now find him on his way to jail," wrote Eric Kohn in his review of the film from Cannes.
Full release below:
PALISADES TARTAN ACQUIRES JAFAR PANAHI’S THOUGHT- PROVOKING IRANIAN DOCUMENTARY THIS IS NOT A FILM (IM FILM NIST)
Written, Starring and Co-Directed by Jafar Panahi
NEW YORK (September 14, 2011) – Palisades Tartan has signed into acquisition all US and UK rights to THIS IS NOT A FILM, a clandestine picture about famous Iranian director Jafar Panahi, whose open support of the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 election got him a 6-year prison sentence and a 20-year ban from filmmaking and conducting interviews with foreign press. The deal, struck between Palisades Tartan and Wide Management, comes at the heels of Wednesday’s news of Mirtahmasb’s own detention at the Tehran airport which sent shockwaves at the Toronto International Film Festival where he was to attend the film’s Canadian premiere. Jafar Panahi, whose critically-acclaimed work includes OFFSIDE (2006) and THE CIRCLE (2000), is currently under house arrest struggling to get a plea deal. Written by and starring Jafar Panahi, the film was co-directed by Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb.
“This film is of undeniable importance today, especially amid the current Middle-Eastern unrest, and we look forward to sharing this powerful and significant film,” said Soumya Sriraman, President/CEO, Palisades Tartan Films.
Since his detention in 2009, Panahi’s cause has won international support from the film community. Juliette Binoche was instrumental in bringing his story into the spotlight at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival when she took the stage carrying a sign that read JAFAR PANAHI and Isabella Rossellini followed suit at the Berlin International Film Festival. World renowned directors, including Joel and Ethan Coen, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Robert De Niro, Curtis Hanson, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, Terrence Malick, Michael Moore, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, James Schamus, Paul Schrader, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and Frederick Wiseman signed a letter of support calling for his release. In December, Sean Penn, Martin Scorsese, and distributor Harvey Weinstein, among others, signed an Amnesty International petition for him as well.
The 75 min documentary, secretly shot on an iPhone by Panahi’s close friend Mirtahmasb and smuggled into France in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes, depicts the sequestered director’s day-to-day life. Panahi is seen talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, discussing his plight with Mirtahmasb and reflecting on the meaning of the art of filmmaking.
ABOUT PALISADES TARTAN
Palisades Tartan has emerged as one of the premier distributors of independent and arthouse cinema in North America and the UK and has been on the forefront of consumer trends. Straddling both continents, their film line-up boasts an impressive repertoire in the UK including the Ingmar Bergman library and Wong Kar Wai’s 2046 and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. In North America, apart from many favorites such as Michael Winterbottom’s 9 SONGS and Carlos Reygadas’s SILENT LIGHT, the library is anchored by Park Chan-wook’s Cannes jury prize winner, OLDBOY, the film that famously introduced the Western World to the Asia Extreme brand.
Tartan Films was originally founded in 1984 in the UK and is credited with bringing Asian Extreme film to the West as well as some of the most compelling art house films of the last quarter century. In May 2008, Palisades Pictures acquired Tartan Films US library assets and two months later, acquired a majority of Tartan Films UK’s film library assets. The new company Palisades Tartan has operations both nationally and internationally.
Palisades Tartan will continue to expand an already distinctive and provocative slate of films by focusing on quality film acquisitions, thus significantly increasing the size of their overall library in both territories. Palisades Pictures and its parent company Palisades Media Corp is a prestigious financier of print & advertising for the independent film market. Together with its affiliate, Palisades Media Asset Fund, Palisades has securitized and financed more than 550 films.