Australia Chooses Shayda for Best International Feature Film Oscar Submission

Australia Chooses Shayda for Best International Feature Film Oscar Submission

Australia has selected “Shayda,” the debut film from Iranian-Australian writer and director Noora Niasari, as its submission for the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars. With Cate Blanchett serving as executive producer, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and won the prestigious World Cinema Audience Award. It has since been screened at various film festivals, including the Melbourne International Film Festival, and is scheduled for release in Australia on October 5.

“Shayda” tells the story of a young Iranian mother and her six-year-old daughter who seek refuge in an Australian women’s shelter during the two weeks of Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz. This time is celebrated as a period of renewal and rebirth. The film revolves around the mother and daughter’s journey to find freedom in a new world, while also addressing the violence they had hoped to escape. The film features an impressive cast, including Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who won Best Actress at Cannes for her performance in “Holy Spider,” as well as Osamah Sami, Leah Purcell, and Jillian Nguyen.

Noora Niasari, the writer and director of “Shayda,” sees the film as an invitation for audiences to recognize and celebrate the courage and resilience of Iranian women, Australian women, and all women fighting against domestic violence. She expressed her immense sense of hope and pride as “Shayda” represents Australia on the world stage for the Best International Feature Film Oscar category.

The Australian selection committee praised “Shayda” without hesitation, describing it as a beautiful, timely, and masterfully directed film that lingers in the minds of viewers long after the closing credits. The committee unanimously agreed to submit “Shayda” as this year’s entry for the Oscars.

The production of “Shayda” was a collaborative effort involving Vincent Sheehan, Noora Niasari, and the executive producers Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton, and Coco Francini of Dirty Films. The team at Dirty Films resonated with the story of “Shayda” as it tackles the theme of defining one’s own path, a concept deeply rooted in the Australian psyche. They believe that Niasari has created art that can resonate with a global audience. This powerful and timely film about family has already received enthusiastic responses from audiences and is poised for an international journey.

“Shayda” is an Origma 45 production in association with Dirty Films and Parandeh Pictures. The film received significant production investment from Screen Australia in association with The 51 Fund, as well as support from VicScreen and the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund. The distribution rights for various territories have been acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, with HanWay Films handling international sales.

With its compelling story, powerful performances, and global relevance, “Shayda” has the potential to be a strong Oscar contender for Best International Feature Film. The film’s exploration of themes such as courage, resilience, and the pursuit of freedom resonates with audiences on a universal level. As “Shayda” represents Australia at the Oscars, it opens doors for recognition of the diverse stories and talents within the Australian film industry. Australian audiences can look forward to the release of this impactful film on October 5, and the rest of the world eagerly awaits the opportunity to experience “Shayda” and its message of hope.

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