Jafar Panahi is an Iranian film director, screenwriter, and film editor, commonly identified with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi achieved international recognition with his feature film debut, The White Balloon. The film won the Caméra d'Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes.
Panahi was quickly recognized as one of the most influential film-makers in Iran. Although his films were often banned in his own country, he continued to receive international acclaim from film theorists and critics and has won numerous awards, including the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for The Mirror, the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle, and the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival for Offside. His films are known for their humanistic perspective on life in Iran, often focusing on the hardships of children, the impoverished, and women.