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July 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

First he was able to smuggle a movie out of Iran that had been transferred to a thumb drive, then hidden in a cake. Now Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who has been living under house arrest and facing a six-year prison sentence, has made a surprise appearance via Skype at the prestigious Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, where his latest film, Closed Curtain was screened on Wednesday. Panahi, who was convicted of making “propaganda against the state” and barred from making films for 20 years, had been a member of the Karlovy Vary jury in 2001. “When I was here I had the chance to meet with great film-makers who became part of my family,” he said during his remarks on Skype Wednesday. “Unfortunately I have lost that family, but my heart is with you.” In remarks today (Thursday) Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rowhani, called for greater freedom for the media in Iran and less interference by the government in the private lives of individuals. “A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people,” he said. He made no direct reference to Panahi.