Palisades Tartan Films has acquired U.S. and UK rights to This Is Not A Film, whose subject is Iranian director Jafar Panahi, under house arrest in his native country after being jailed and banned from filmmaking for 20 years for supporting the opposition party in Iran’s 2009 elections. Essentially, he was vilified for publicly mourning protesters killed following the presidential elections. The deal comes as the film’s co-director with Panahi, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, was detained at the Tehran airport on his way to Toronto to attend its screening at the Toronto International Film Festival. “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, Palisades Tartan president and CEO Soumya Sriraman said in announcing the rights deal. The 75-minute documentary was shot in secret on an iPhone by Mirtahmasb and was smuggled into France as a last-minute submission to May’s Cannes Film Festival, where it had its world premiere. It chronicles the day-to-day life of Panahi, who also is banned from conducting interviews with foreign press, and shows him talking with Mirtahmasb about his case and opining on the art of filmmaking.

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