Shohreh Aghdashloo Attached to Star in Iranian Underground Ballet Film 'Arezou'

D’Andre Michaels

The movie will be the directorial debut of Sophia Kiapos and will be produced by 'Jojo Rabbit' producer Chelsea Winstanley.

Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo is attached to star in Arezou, which was inspired by The Iranian National Ballet Company, one of the greatest artistic movements in the world that was disbanded in 1979 during the revolution. 

The directorial debut of Sophia Kiapos, the film will be produced by Chelsea Winstanley, who is also a producer on Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit which will premiere on Sept. 8 at TIFF at the Princess of Wales Theater.

Arezou is a Persian tale set in Post-Revolution Tehran about a 12-year-old girl who discovers the secret world of an illegal, underground ballet group and rewrites her destiny. 

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani is also attached to the project.

Winstanley will produce alongside Liz Cardenas, who was recently nominated for the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award for Never Goin' Back

"The authenticity of the project and commitment to depicting Iranian culture, history and language in such a truthful way is what attracted me to this film," said Winstanley, whose credit also include What We Do in the Shadows and the doc Merata, the later of which was released by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY. “I found a great partner in Liz to bring Sophia’s beautiful and poetic vision to life on screen."

Arezou will be in Farsi and shot on Super 16mm Kodak film, with production commencing in the first quarter of 2020 in Toronto.

Aghdashloo, who is repped by CAA, the U.K.'s Artists Partnership and Round Table, can currently be seen in Amazon series The Expanse.

Kiapos created the collective “Female Filmmakers” that has more than 6,000 women working in all facets of the film industry and representing over 40 countries. She was the first female director brought on board to Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaHa digital media company mentorship in partnership with Universal Pictures.

Kiapos is repped by Paradigm.

This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Sept. 6 daily issue at the Toronto Film Festival.