The 76th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will close with a screening of the Sundance Competiton pic Shayda attended by the film’s star Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Holy Spider) and Exec Producer Cate Blanchett.
Directed by Iranian-Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari, Shayda, which won the Audience Award at Sundance 2023, will close out the ultimate evening of the Festival alongside a free second screening of a surprise title that touches on the history of cinema and the Locarno Film Festival, chosen by Marco Solari, President of the Locarno Film Festival. This yr will likely be Solari’s final yr on the helm.
Blanchett is an exec producer on the pic through Dirty Movies, the production company she runs along with her husband, Andrew Upton, and Coco Francini. On August 12, the two-time Oscar winner will moderate a discussion between Niasari and Ebrahimi on the festival on the theme of Iranian women and Iranian cinema on the GranRex Cinema in Locarno.
The film, which is described as a “love letter to moms and daughters all over the place,” sees Amir-Ebrahimi star as Shayda, a brave Iranian mother who finds refuge in an Australian women’s shelter along with her six-year-old daughter (played by Selina Zahednia) after fleeing an abusive relationship. Based on Niasari’s own mother, who fled an arranged marriage to boost her daughter in Australia, Shayda takes place over the Persian Latest Yr, when the mother-daughter duo take solace in Nowruz rituals and latest beginnings, but when her estranged husband reenters their lives, Shayda’s path to freedom is jeopardized.
The film also stars Leah Purcell, Jillian Nguyen, Mojean Aria, Selina Zahednia, and Rina Mousavi. Producers are Vincent Sheehan and Noora Niasari. Exec Producers alongside Blanchett, Upton, and Francini are Caitlin Gold, Lindsay Lanzillotta, Lois Scott, Naomi McDougall Jones, Nivedita Kulkarni, Gabrielle Stewart, and Tom Grievson. HanWay Movies are on international sales.
The complete program of the 76th Locarno Film Festival (Aug. 2-12) will likely be unveiled on July 5 as a part of a press conference in Bern. Organizers have already announced Taiwanese Director Tsai Ming-Liang because the recipient of this yr’s Honorary Profession Leopard Award.