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September 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Raising hopes that the new Iranian government will lift sanctions on award-winning director Jafar Panahi and allow him to make films openly again, authorities in Tehran have allowed the 5,000-member House of Cinema guild to reopen. It was shut down in January 2012 after authorities accused it of altering its bylaws without consulting them. Panahi has been living under house arrest as he appeals his sentence for “making propaganda against the state.” Although he was barred from making movies for 20 years, he has managed to smuggle two films out of the country on tiny thumb drives since his sentencing. His last one, Closed Circuit, won the prestigious Silver Bear award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Last year he and fellow Iranian, lawyer Nasrin Satoudeh, won the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.