'Secret Sky,' Tragic Gay Love Story Set in Iran, Gets Indian Director (Exclusive)

Leena Yadav - Getty - H 2016
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Leena Yadav will direct the project, with Carol Polakoff’s Viewfinder Pictures and Daniel Dreifuss’s Anima Pictures producing.

Indian filmmaker Leena Yadav (Parched) has signed on to direct Secret Sky, the true and tragic love story between two teenage boys in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by the death penalty.

Carol Polakoff’s Viewfinder Pictures and Daniel Dreifuss’s Anima Pictures are developing the human rights film based on a true story. It follows the two teens as they're put in prison, go to trial and pay the ultimate price for their crimes. A female lawyer (also inspired by a real person) attempts to fight for their freedom.

Micah Schraft and Abdi Nazemian are writing the film, which is planned as Yadav’s English-language debut. Gersh represents Yadav and Viewfinder, and is presenting the film to foreign buyers this week at AFM. It's slated to shoot in early 2017.

“This story, though political in nature and about civil rights, must be delivered through the heart," says Polakoff, "and Leena has shown that she can make a beautiful film that will not only move viewers, but also deliver a socially impactful punch. She has uncommon courage and passion, and holds nothing back.”

Yadav most recently helmed Parched, which followed the lives of four women in rural India who rebel against century-old cultural practices and patriarchal traditions, and break free to explore the true meaning of what it is like to be alive. After making the festival circuit, the film was released in seven countries, including the U.S., France, Belgium, Netherlands, Mexico, Spain and Colombia. She's repped by Gersh.