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'Argo' Spy Mendez Featured at Maryland International Film Festival



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    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 22: Actor Ben Affleck (R), winner of the Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award, poses with former CIA Officer Tony Mendez during the 16th Annual Hollywood Film Awards Gala presented by The Los Angeles Times held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 22, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

    The former spy whose real-life adventure became the basis for the Oscar-winning film "Argo" is helping to kick off the Maryland International Film Festival in Hagerstown.

    Tony Mendez is set to answer questions after a screening of the movie at the Maryland Theatre (21 S Potomac St., Hagerstown) Thursday night. The event begins at 6:45 p.m.

    "Argo" is based on Mendez' book about his rescue of six U.S. diplomatic workers hiding out at the Canadian embassy in Tehran during the 1979-80 Iran hostage crisis.

    Mendez came up with the idea of traveling to Tehran under the guise of being a movie maker. He left Iran with the six Americans, all carrying phony identification as film workers.

    Mendez lives in Knoxville, Md. In 1997, the CIA named him as one of 50 trailblazers in the agency's history.

    The film festival runs April 11-13.