The film is also set to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.

Imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi has won a Special Jury Prize at the 79th Venice International Film Festival for his film no bear, in which he plays the protagonist.

Panahi, who won the top prize, the Golden Lion, at Venice in 2000, was imprisoned in July along with two other filmmakers during Iran’s latest crackdown on civil society.

The drama follows two parallel love stories in which the partners are thwarted by hidden and unavoidable obstacles, the force of superstition and the mechanisms of power.

As he has done before, Panahi plays himself in the film, stationed in a village where he remotely leads a film crew a few miles away, across the border from Iran in Turkey.

This is Panahi’s first fiction film since the road movie 3 faceswhich won the prize for the best screenplay in the Competition at Cannes in 2018.

Panahi directed and produced the film with actors including Iranian actors Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobasseri, Bakhtiyar Panjeei and Mina Kavani.

The Iranian director has spent the past 12 years under house arrest, banned from traveling or making films outside Iran and facing many obstacles to making films at home.