Iran Has Chosen This Documentary As Its 2020 Oscars Submission

BY Delara Zand / Sep 11 2019 / 00:44 AM

‘Finding Farideh’ has been entered to compete in the International Feature Film category

 Iran Has Chosen This Documentary As Its 2020 Oscars Submission

Iran has joined the 2020 Oscars race with Azadeh Moussavi and Kourosh Ataee’s documentary, Finding Farideh. It tells the touching true story of Farideh, an Iranian woman, abandoned as a young child and adopted by a Dutch couple, who returns to Iran after 40 years to seek out her biological parents. The picture is a hopeful candidate for the Best International Feature Film award (it's feature length, and so eligible to compete as a documentary in this category). 

A panel of eight Iranian cinema experts whittled down a shortlist of ten films to a final three; although Finding Farideh was eventually selected, Castle of Dreams and 6.5 Per Meter were close contendors. The chosen doc was screened at this year’s Istanbul Film Festival and is due to compete at the upcoming Flahertiana International Documentary Film Festival in Russia.

In a statement, the directors described the film as "a story that connects West to East through a soul-stirring journey and captures contrasts and differences between cultures, beliefs and behaviours". Upon receiving news of the film's selection, Moussavi took to Instagram to express her gratitude, declaring: "I hope that this choice will be a major step for the greater introduction of Iranian documentary cinema in the international arena and we, as the producers and filmmakers, will make every effort to be worthy representatives for Iranian cinema."

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قرار گرفتن فیلم «در جستجوی فریده»در کنار آثار شاخص و ارزشمند سال گذشته‌ سینمای ایران برای معرفی به اسکار برای ما مایه‌ افتخار و خوشحالی بسیار بود و اینکه کمیته‌ محترم انتخاب، این فیلم را به عنوان نماینده‌ سینمای ایران برای رقابت در این رویداد سینمایی برگزیدند نه تنها باعث شعف دوچندان ما شد بلکه فکر می‌کنیم این انتخاب، یک اتفاق مهم و تاریخی برای سینمای مستند ایران است. سینمایی که فیلمسازان آن سالهاست به دور از حاشیه‌ها و با کمترین امکانات و بیشترین محدودیت‌ها به تولید آثارشان مشغول‌ هستند و با این وجود همواره در بسیاری از صحنه‌های جهانی موجب سربلندی سینمای ایران شده‌اند. امیدواریم که این انتخاب گام بلندی برای هرچه بیشتر مطرح شدن سینمای مستند ایران در عرصه‌ی جهانی باشد و ما به عنوان سازندگان و تهیه کنندگان این فیلم تمام تلاش خود را خواهیم کرد تا نماینده شایسته‌ای برای سینمای ایران باشیم. و سپاسگزاریم از همه‌ عوامل «در جستجوی فریده» و دست تک تک‌شان را می‌بوسیم که ساختن این فیلم بدون همیاری و انرژی و عشق‌شان امکان پذیر نبود. آزاده موسوی/ کوروش عطایی #در_جستجوی_فریده #findingfarideh

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Although this is the country's first documentary submission, Iran has submitted 25 films for the Academy Awards, of which two took home the Best Foreign Language Film award: A Separation in 2012 and The Salesman in 2017, both from prolific director Asghar Farhadi. 

It’s one of several countries in the Middle East to put forward a film for consideration in this year’s newly named International Feature Film (formerly Foreign Language Film) category. Last year, only two regional films were nominated at the Academy Awards: Nadine Labaki's Capernaum for Best Foreign Language Film, and Talal Derki's Of Fathers And Sons for Best Documentary Feature. This year, with so many stellar offerings from the MENA region gaining increasing international attention, hopes are high that 2020’s edition will bring more nominations and even top prizes for regional cinema.

Five Arab nations have made submissions to the next Academy Awards so far. Elia Suleiman's satire It Must Be Heaven, a Cannes Palme d'Or nominee and recipient of the Jury Special Mentionwill be representing Palestine. Maryam Touzani's critically acclaimed debut feature film Adam, screened in Cannes' Un Certain Regard portion this year, is Morocco's nominee. Fawzi Saleh's portrait of Cairo, Poisonous Roses, premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam and is Egypt's submission. Algeria is entering Mounia Meddour's powerful debut feature, Papicha, which was also nominated in Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard category this year. Finally, Tunisia's contender is Mohamed Ben Attia's family drama Dear Son, which premiered at 2018's Directors' Fortnight portion of Cannes Film Festival