Jafar Panahi, one of the most important independent filmmakers in Iran, identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. His first full length feature film, The White Balloon (1995), written by the renowned Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, had its first round of critical acclaim when it earned the Golden Camera Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Panahi was born in Mianeh, Iran, an Azerbaijani area outside of Tehran. His last three films, The Circle (2000), Crimson Gold (2003) and Offside (2006) were banned by the Islamic government of Iran.
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