HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A 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.

Antonio Mendez was set to answer questions after a screening of the movie at the downtown Maryland Theatre Thursday night.

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The film 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.

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

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

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