Variance Films Picks Up North American Rights to Iranian Film 'Closed Curtain'

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Jafar Panahi

Living under house arrest since 2010, director Jafar Panahi ("The White Balloon") defies his 20-year ban on filmmaking with his latest movie, which won the Silver Bear for best script at the Berlin Film Festival.

Variance Films has acquired North American rights to acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi's Closed Curtain, which will be released theatrically beginning July 9 at Film Forum in New York before expanding throughout the United States and Canada in the summer.

Living under house arrest since December 2010, Panahi (The White Balloon, This Is Not a Film, The Mirror) has defied his 20-year ban on filmmaking yet again with his latest film, which won the Silver Bear for best script at the Berlin Film Festival.

The film kicks off in a secluded house by the sea with the curtains shut, where a screenwriter hides from the world with only his dog as company. As dogs have been declared impure and forbidden from being walked in public -- an actual law in Iran -- the writer feels he is given no other option but to close off the outside world entirely. The tranquility is abruptly broken one night by the arrival of a young woman fleeing from the authorities. Refusing to leave, she takes refuge in the house. But come dawn, another unexpected presence will change everything.

"Jafar Panahi's bravery is surpassed only by his artistry," Variance Films' Dylan Marchetti said. "It's our ultimate hope that we can continue to bring attention to his unjust house arrest and ban from filmmaking while reminding the world that nobody can stop artists from developing their craft and sharing their creativity with audiences."

Closed Curtain was co-directed by Kambuzia Partovi and features Partovi, Maryam Moqadam and Panahi as the film's stars. Panahi also wrote, produced and edited the film.

Variance is a division of Amplify, the new all-rights distribution company formed in a merger between Variance (Sound City, Red Hook Summer, Go for Sisters) and GoDigital.

The deal was negotiated by Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams and Marchetti on behalf of Variance.

Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27