Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has directed The White Balloon, which won several international awards, The Circle, which criticizes the treatment of women in Iran, and the 2006 film Offside, which he had to produce surreptitiously. Offside won a Silver Bear at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival and was an official selection at the 2006 New York and Toronto film festivals. Following Iran's disputed 2009 election, Panahi was arrested and convicted of campaigning via his film work against the government and shooting films without permission. He was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from making films or granting any interviews in Iran for 20 years. Hollywood magnates such as Martin Scorsese, Harvey Weinstein, Sean Penn and Paul Haggis have all backed an Amnesty International campaign to free him, but Panahi has yet to be liberated.
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