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In support of the convicted Iranian director Jafar Panahi, the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival is launching a number of initiatives at the upcoming Berlinale.

In 2011 the Berlinale will show several films by Jafar Panahi in a number of its sections. The first of his films to be screened at this year’s Berlinale will be the award-winning film Offside (2006, Silver Bear) on February 11 at 4:30 pm in the Berlinale Palast.

On the following days of the Berlinale, other Panahi films will be presented in the Panorama, Forum, Generation and Berlinale Shorts sections.

For February 17, 2011 the Berlinale Talent Campus and the World Cinema Fund are organizing a panel discussion with Iranian filmmakers and artists on censorship, and the restriction of freedom of opinion and expression in Iran. Iranian director and actor Rafi Pitts (The Hunter, Berlinale Competition 2010) has already confirmed his attendance. The participation of other filmmakers and artists living in exile as well as of prominent Berlinale guests will be announced soon.

Festival Director Dieter Kosslick states: “We invited Jafar Panahi to be on the International Jury in 2011. But then in December 2010 he was sentenced to six years imprisonment and banned from filmmaking for the next 20 years. We are going to use every opportunity to protest against this drastic verdict.”

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