‘Salesman’ to compete for Palme d’Or – 7 DFI-backed movies to screen at Cannes

A still from ‘Mimosas’ which will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
A still from ‘Mimosas’ which will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

DOHA, Qatar, May 9, (Agencies): The Salesman written and directed by celebrated filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, and co-financed by the Doha Film Institute, will mark its world premiere in the official competition of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Six other films supported by the Doha Film Institute Grants programme have been officially selected to screen in key sections at the prestigious global film event running from May 11 to 22.

The Salesman is produced by Memento Films Production and Asghar Farhadi Production, in coproduction with Arte France Cinema and in association with Doha Film Institute, Memento Films Distribution and Arte France.

Forced out of their apartment due to dangerous works on a neighboring building, Emad and Rana move into a new flat in the center of Tehran. An incident linked to the previous tenant will dramatically change the young couple’s life. The Salesman stars Shahab Hosseini (A Separation) and Taraneh Alidoosti (About Elly). Farhadi won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for A Separation and the Best Actress Award at Cannes 2013 for his last film The Past.

Fatma Al Remaihi, Chief Executive Officer of the Doha Film Institute, said: “We are delighted that seven films supported by the Institute have been officially selected at Cannes this year. The selection of The Salesman in the Festival’s official competition section is an achievement we are all very excited about, as it adds to our pride in partnering with international productions that set new benchmarks in excellence in filmmaking. Asghar Farhadi is one of the most recognized filmmakers working today, someone we have long admired for his talent and commitment to making films that tackle strong subject matters with enduring humanity.

“I would like to thank the entire team behind the film for sharing their vision with us and making us a part of their incredible journey, and wish them the very best. This has been a passion project for all involved and we look forward to audiences discovering this latest masterpiece”.

Among the six DFI grantee films, two have been selected to the Un Certain Regard section — Apprentice (Singapore, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Qatar) written and directed by Boo Junfeng; and Dogs (Romania, France, Bulgaria, Qatar) by Bogdan Florian Mirica.


Showcased in the Directors’ Fortnight is Divines (Morocco, France, Qatar), directed by Houda Benyamina. The remaining three DFI grantee films will compete for top honours in the Critics Week including: Mimosas (Spain, Morocco, France, Qatar) by Oliver Laxe; Tramontane (Lebanon, France, UAE, Qatar) by Vatche Boulghourjian; and Diamond Island (Cambodia, France, Germany, Qatar) by Davy Chou.

“At the very core of DFI’s film funding mandate is to contribute to World Cinema and ensure that great stories continue to be told. We are committed to celebrating high-calibre talents, both emerging and established, to contribute to a growing roster of quality world cinema. Through our DFI Grantee programme, we are underling our commitment to support emerging talent and create a body of work that reflects the cinematic ambitions of the next generation. These projects will also inspire the young Qatari film professionals to create compelling content that will gain international acclaim,” added Al Remaihi.

As part of Qatar’s presence in Cannes, the Doha Film Institute is also presenting a special Made in Qatar showcase of short films at the Cannes’ Short Film Corner, a section of the festival dedicated to showcasing films from more than 90 countries to thousands of accredited industry guests, festival selectors and short film industry specialists.

The line-up includes winners of the Best Documentary Film and Best Narrative Film at Ajyal 2015, The Palm Tree by Jassim al Remaihi and Asfoora by Mayar Hamdan respectively, Good as New by Jasser Alagha, Yellow Nights by Abdullah Al Mulla, The Notebook by Amna Al-Binali, Light Sounds by Karem Kamel, Veganize it by Khalid Salim, To My Mother by Amina Ahmed Al Bloshi and Inside Out by Fahad Al-Obaidly.

Since premiering at Ajyal in 2015 the MIQ package screened at Clermont Ferrand and Berlinale, and is also scheduled to screen in Sarajevo and several other festivals on the international circuit later this year.


TAIPEI: A prize-winning Taiwanese film exploring the use of the death penalty will screen at the Cannes Film Festival later this month, adding to recent increased debate about the island’s use of capital punishment.

Leon Lee’s 23-minute film titled “The Day To Choose” puts its main character, a lawyer and strong opponent of the death penalty, in the difficult position of choosing how to punish the murderers of his wife.

Taiwan retains the death penalty despite calls to abolish it in line with international practice, but some have argued it is necessary in extreme cases such as the beheading of a four-year-old girl on a Taipei street in March.

Lee, a student in the German language department at Soochow University, developed the film with his producer Cheng Kuang-yu, based on a script that Cheng had long wanted to realise.

“What I really want to discuss in this short film is not only the issue of capital punishment, but how much a human will stick to (his or her ideals) when faced with adversity,” Lee told Reuters on the set of the film.

The picture will screen in the short film corner at the prestigious annual Cannes festival in France on May 11-22 and has already won “Best Drama Short Film” at the 2016 Universe Multicultural Film Festival in California last month.

LOS ANGELES: The Cannes film market’s first China Co-Production Day has recruited a roster of top execs comprising Jerry Ye, CEO of Huayi Brothers Pictures, Vincent Grimond, president of France’s Wild Bunch, and TrustNordisk/Zentropa China chief Rikke Ennis, for its panel on co-productions between Europe and China.

Denmark’s TrustNordisk/Zentropa recently teamed up with China’s Jetavana Entertainment and Sheng-Wei Media on co-prod, “My Best Friend Andersen,” which will mark the directorial debut of hitmaking Chinese scribe-turned helmer Shu Huan (“Lost in Thailand,” “Lost in Hong Kong”).

The Marche du Film’s new China china co-prod initiative stems from a collaboration between France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC) and Bridging the Dragon, the growing platform that seeks to forge closer strategic ties between film industries in Europe and China. The event will take place May 13 at the Espace CNC on the Gray d’Albion Beach.

The morning panel moderated by Patrick Frater, Variety’s Asia Bureau Chief, will be followed by a matchmaking event in the afternoon.

Other panelists include London-based French producer Chistopher Granier-Deferre whose Poisson Rouge shingle has several projects in the pipeline with China, including UK-China-set biological weapons thriller “The Proving Ground”; Bridging the Dragon co-founder Cristiano Bortone, helmer of “Coffee,” touted as the first Italian-Chinese-Belgian co-prod; and Gregory Ouanhon, president of Fundamental Films, the Shanghai-based company which has a co-production and distribution deal with Luc Besson’s Europacorp.

Cannes is the latest fest to join Bridging the Dragon after Venice, Berlin, Locarno, Shanghai and Beijing.

The 69th Cannes Film Festival will run May 11-22.

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