Football is not allowed for the women of Iran, they are simply banned from the stadiums. OFFSIDE challenges this regulation in a humorous and realistic way; Six women dress up like boys and head for the World Championships qualification match against Bahrain. The girls are caught, and though excluded from the game, they are not allowed to go home. Imprisoned they refuse to bow to the absurd ban, and argue aggressively with the naive stadium guards. OFFSIDE is a strong critique of the Iranian government, and was awarded the Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival this year.
Jafar Panahi (b. 1960) studied film directing at the College of Cinema and Television in Tehran, is an internationally-acclaimed Persian filmmaker and one of the most influential filmmakers in Iranian new wave movement. His first feature film THE WHITE BALLOON was released in 1995 and was awarded the Camera d'Or-prize at Cannes International Film Festival. In 1997 he directed the feature film THE MIRROR, which received the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno Festival. His most notable offering to date has been THE CIRCLE (2000) which won the Golden Lion Award, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. In 2003 he directed CRIMSON GOLD, which was presented at Cannes, and awarded the Prix du Jury prize.