"This is Not a Film" played in more than 50 markets throughout the United States, and was ranked among the best documentaries (or even films) of 2012 according to Indiewire, Village Voice, Film Comment, The New Yorker, Movieline and other critics.
It was also named the year's Best Documentary by the Online Film Critics Society, won the prize for Best Experimental Film from the National Society of Film Critics poll, and also appeared in many other prestigious lists of the best films of the year (e.g. The Guardian, Sight & Sound, CBS News and others).
As special features, Palisades Tartan will released the DVD with a commentary track by film scholar and documentary filmmaker Jamsheed Akrami (Dreams Betrayed and Friendly Persuasion: Iranian Cinema After the Revolution), and excerpts from a 2008 interview by Jamsheed Akrami with Mr. Panahi, about the challenges of making films under Iranian censorship.
Shot partially on an iPhone and smuggled into France (inside a cake) for a last-minute submission to Cannes, "This is Not a Film" depicts a day in the life of acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi.
While appealing his sentence – six years in prison and a 20-year ban from filmmaking – fellow director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb ("Lady of the Roses") visits Mr. Panahi at his Tehran apartment and films him talking to his family and lawyer on the phone, reflecting on the art of filmmaking, meeting some of his neighbors and even interacting with an inquisitive iguana.
On March 1, 2010, Panahi was arrested and taken to Evin Prison, an Iranian penitentiary noted for its political prisoners' wing. He was released three months later, on a $200,000 bail, and was eventually prosecuted for "assembly and colluding with the intention to commit crimes against the country’s national security and propaganda against the Islamic Republic."
On December 20, 2010, Panahi was given a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on making or directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media as well as leaving the country.
On October 16, 2011, the appeal which is discussed in the film was denied, and Mr. Panahi can be taken to prison at any time.
The film's co-director, Motjaba Mirtahmasb, was prevented from going to the Toronto Film Festival to present "This is Not a Film" and arrested with five other Iranian filmmakers a few weeks later; he was charged with being a spy for the BBC.
Since his detention in 2010, Panahi's cause has won international support from the film community. World-renowned directors, including Joel and Ethan Coen, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Robert De Niro, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, Michael Moore, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Frederick Wiseman, among many others, signed a letter of support calling for his release.
Confirming the importance of Mr. Panahi’s work as well as his trailblazing role in Iranian society, The European Parliament has recently honored him with the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Sakharov prize is widely considered to be the most important human rights award in the world.
For more info visit: http://www.thisisnotafilm.net
Source: Palisades Tartan publicity