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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Germany / Luxembourg / Switzerland / Iran / Lebanon

Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness to compete at Sundance

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- The film by Iran’s Massoud Bakhshi, a French majority production staged by JBA and sold by Pyramide, will have its international premiere at Park City as part of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition

Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness to compete at Sundance
Sadaf Asgari in Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness

Having risen to fame in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2012 with A Respectable Family [+see also:
trailer
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]
, Iranian filmmaker Massoud Bakhshi is due to unveil the international premiere of his second feature, Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– produced by France together with Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Lebanon and Iran – in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition of the 36th Sundance Film Festival (23 January-2 February 2020).

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The story, written by the director himself, is set in Iran in the present day. Maryam (22) accidentally kills her husband Nasser (65) and is sentenced to death. The only person who can save her is Mona, Nasser's daughter. All Mona has to do is appear on a popular live TV show and forgive Maryam. But forgiveness proves difficult when they are forced to relive the past… The cast includes Sadaf Asgari, Behnaz Jafari, Babak Karimi, Fereshteh Sadr Orafaee, Forough Ghajebeglou and Fereshteh Hosseini. The cinematography was entrusted by Bulgarian DoP Julian Atanassov (The Island [+see also:
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]
, 3/4 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ilian Metev
film profile
]
).

42% produced by France, via Jacques Bidou and Marianne Dumoulin for JBA Production (who previously teamed up with the director for his feature debut), Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness was also produced by Germany’s Niko Film, Switzerland’s Close Up Films, Amour Fou Luxembourg, Brittany-based Tita B Productions, Iranian firm Ali Mosaffa Productions and Lebanon’s Schortcut Films.

Co-produced by ZDF/Arte, RTS, SRG SSR, Voo Be TV, Panache Productions and La Compagnie Cinématographique, the feature also secured backing from Eurimages, the CNC, the Film Fund Luxembourg and Pictanovo. And that’s not to mention the support of the Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the TorinoFilmLab (where the project took home the Coproduction Award and the Audience Award), the Hauts-de-France region, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the Filmförderungsanstalt, the OFC, NordMedia, the Brittany region, Cinéforom, the Breizh FilmFund, Bon Gah, the Angoa and the SundanceLab (which presented it with the Global Filmmaking Award). The exact spring 2020 date of the French theatrical release is yet to be disclosed by Pyramide, which is also in charge of the international sales.

As a reminder, JBA Production, whose filmography includes movies by big names such as Sergei Loznitsa (Donbass [+see also:
film review
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interview: Sergei Loznitsa
film profile
]
), Annemarie Jacir (Wajib [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Pablo Agüero (Eva Doesn’t Sleep [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), Alice Rohrwacher (Corpo celeste [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alice Rohrwacher
film profile
]
), Tsai Ming-liang, Fernando Guzzoni and Merzak Allouache, to name but a few, currently has Sow the Wind by Italy’s Danilo Caputo (produced with Rome-based outfit Okta Film) in post-production.

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(Translated from French)

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