Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has released a statement to the press in defiance of his official ban by the Iranian government from making films or speaking to journalists.
“I’m a filmmaker. I can’t do anything else but make films. Cinema is my expression and the meaning of my life,” wrote Panahi, whose latest feature Taxi will world premiere in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival.
“Nothing can prevent me from making films as when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more an urge. Cinema as an Art becomes my main preoccupation. That is the reason why I have to continue making films under any circumstances to pay my respect and feel alive.”
Taxi is Panahi’s third film since he was arrested and banned from making films by the Iranian authorities in 2010. Prior to that, he had been one of his country’s leading independent filmmakers, winning the Golden Lion in Venice for The Circle in 2000, as well as the Un Certain Regard Jury prize in Cannes for Crimson Gold in 2003 and the Jury Grand Prix in Berlin in 2006 for Offside.
Even though he is on longer under house arrest, Panahi is still unable to leave Iran and a six year prison sentence remains against him, although it has yet to be enforced.
Berlin runs Feb. 5-15.