Mahmoud previously wrote and produced “A Few Meters of Love,” which was Aghanistan’s entry to the Oscars in 2014. “Parting,” which he wrote and directed, was the country’s entry in 2016.
Meanwhile, Iranian project “African Violet” from Mona Zandi Haghighi (“Friday Evening”) will also play in Busan’s Asian strand. It arrives in Korea after playing at home at Fajr, and winning a jury special mention at Tripoli.
The connection between the two films – and the regular supply of high quality Iranian and Afghan films to major film festivals – is Paris-based production, distribution, promotion and sales outfit DreamLab Films. Spearheaded by Nasrine Medard de Chardon, the company was set up in 2000 and since then has championed more than 60 features and shorts from the region. Many have won awards.
“DreamLab has as its priority the discovery and development of new talent,” Medard de Chardon told Variety. “If a film can demonstrate awareness and sensibility in a novel way that connects with the public, DreamLab will do its best to promote it and its director.”
The stage at which DreamLab gets involved with a film varies. In some cases it is on board at script stage, in other cases it comes in a post-production or after completion. Some of DreamLab’s earlier successes include Asghar Farhadi’s “About Elly” and “A Separation.”
“After having been screened at an international festival, and perhaps having gained an award, distribution, both national and especially international, can take place,” says Medard de Chardon. “For example, ‘Dressage,’ a first feature directed by Pooya Badkoobeh, having won a prize at Berlinale 2018, went on to have a successful international promotion and will be released in France in 2020.”
After finding “African Violet” and “Seven and a Half” slots at Busan, Medard de Chardon will turn her attention to other films in DreamLab’s pipeline, beginning with Mehrdad Oskouei’s feature documentary “Sunless Shadows.”