Jafar Panahi was born on 11 July, 1960 in Mianeh, Iran. After studying directing at the Iran Broadcasting University in Tehran, where he was able to familiarize himself with world cinema, he began his professional career completing TV projects and working as an assistant director. In 1995, his first film, The White Balloon, was awarded the Golden Camera at the Cannes International Film Festival. In 1997, he received the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival for The Mirror. His film The Circle (2000), which was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, was banned in his home country. The same is true of most of his subsequent work, including Offside (2006, Silver Bear at Berlinale Film Festival), This Is Not a Film (2011), Closed Curtain (2013, Silver Bear at Berlinale), and Taxi Tehran (2014, Golden Bear at 2015 Berlinale). In addition, Panahi received several other awards such as The Golden Coach 2011 of Cannes Film Festival and the Sacharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2012 of the European Parliament. After Iran’s presidential elections in 2009, Panahi openly supported the opposing Iranian Green Movement. On 1 March, 2010 he was arrested together with his wife and daughter by Iranian police, and was initially jailed for three months without charge. In December 2010, he was sentenced to six years of prison for "propaganda against the system" and a 20-year ban was placed on his work. Despite all this, he frequently manages to publish new films. His latest work, Taxi Tehran, was awarded the Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival.
Nedim Şener was born in 1966 in Germany. In 1990, he completed his studies in economics at Istanbul University. Since 1991 he has worked for various Turkish newspapers: He began at Ilk Haber, worked from 1992 to 1994 for Dünya, moved to Milliyet from 1994 to 2011, and has been with Posta since 2011. He has published several books dealing with topics that include corruption, fraud, organized crime, tax evasion, the funding of terrorist organizations, and intelligence agencies. In 2009, he published his research on the assassination of Hrant Dink, an editor of the Armenian-Turkish language weekly who had been shot dead in broad daylight in 2007. Şener accused the Turkish authorities, and especially the intelligence agency, of not having prevented the killing, and it was suspected that the police had provided the alleged murderer with an incentive to commit the crime. As a result of his actions, the journalist was charged with the illegal dissemination of confidential information, but was acquitted in court. In 2011, Şener and ten other people were arrested and accused of working in the media branch of Ergenekon, an underground organization which was said to have planned a coup against the Erdogan government. He remained in prison until March 2012, for a total of 375 days. He is still regarded as a terrorist in Turkey.