On Friday, the Los Angeles-based Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), home of the Oscars, announced the 2013 Academy member invitees. This year, after unprecedented support for the Iranian dissident filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, AMPAS has included him in the exalted list.

Panahi's films have earned international acclaim over the last two decades.

Panahi, who was arrested in 2010 for supporting the 2009 protests in Iran, spent several months in prison and is now prohibited from leaving Iran. His passport was confiscated by the Iranian judiciary, and he faces a twenty year ban on writing, producing and directing films.

Panahi's name appears in the Documentary division of the list for his notable film, "This is not a Film", which is a diary of his house arrest. The film was shot during a single day at Panahi's apartment in March 2010, by his longtime friend and collaborator, Mojtaba Mirtahmasbi.

Panahi is one of the three new members (out of the 276) to have his name accompanied by an asterisk on the AMPAS list, a mark indicating that he was invited to join by multiple branches of the Academy. The initiation reception for the new members will be held in September. He will not be able to attend the ceremony, due to the Iranian regime's restriction of his movements.

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