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The British Academy has selected Winners, the Farsi-language drama from British-Iranian writer/director Hassan Nazer as the U.K.’s submission for next year’s international feature award at the Oscars.
Fully financed in Scotland with support from Creative Scotland and qualified British through the cultural test, Winners was shot entirely in Iran with 100 percent Farsi dialogue and was post-produced in Scotland. It premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August this year, where it won the audience award.
Set in a poor Iranian village where the children work hard to support their families, Winners follows nine-year-old Yahya and his friend Leyla, wo one day find a precious statuette in the desert. As the authorities search for the lost treasure, sharing a passion for cinema, Yahya’s boss Nasser Khan decides to help the children find its owner.
Written and directed by Aberdeen-based Nazer, the cast includes Reza Naji, Hossein Abedini, Parsa Maghami, Helia Mohammadkhani and Malalai Zikria, with cinematography by Arash Seifi Jamadi, editing by Hassan Nazer, Dave Arthur and Reza Jouze, and music by Mohsen Amini and Mohammad Saeed Shayan. The film is produced by Nadira Murray (Sylph Productions) and Paul Welsh (Edge City Films), and financed by Screen Scotland, World Film Productions and Sylph Productions.
Winners — which will have a limited U.K. release in November — gives Iran multiple showings at next year’s Oscars. Alongside Iran’s own entry, the darkly comic World War III from Houman Seyyedi, Denmark’s critically lauded submission Holy Spider from Ali Abbasi is also set in Iran.
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