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QuickShots | Iran Looks to L.A., Fest openers, Oscar Changes and Penelope Cruz

Indiewire By Brian Brooks | Indiewire August 31, 2009 at 12:0PM

Jafari project the first Iranian production filming in the U.S. since the Islamic Revolution in 1979
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Jafari project the first Iranian production filming in the U.S. since the Islamic Revolution in 1979

Based on a 52 hour epic television series that took four years to produce and recently began airing on Iranian television, “Dar Chashme Bad,” production has begun in Los Angeles on a companion feature film, "In The Wind’s Eye." Following three generations of Iranians from 1920 through 1981, with an overall budget of $12 million, the project will be the longest running and most expensive production in that country’s film industry’s history. It is also the first Iranian production filmed in the US since the revolution in 1979. Veteran filmmaker, Masoud Jafari Jozani, has written and directed each episode of the series, as well as the screenplay for the feature film, which will be released in theatres in Iran. Taking place in 1981, the film is the story of Bijan, a middle-aged brain surgeon and professor who has lived and worked in Los Angeles since leaving Iran in 1945. His life has been conflict free until he receives a letter from a woman claiming to be his wife, whom he had thought to be killed by the Soviet Army during World War II. Enclosed within the letter is a black and white photo of the woman and a little boy. Thrown into turmoil, he must chose between his life in America with his fiancée Holly, or return to a Tehran on the brink of an invasion by Sadaam Hussein’s army, to search for this woman and child.

"Lila, Lila" to open Zurich

– The 5th Zurich Film Festival will celebrate its opening with the world premiere of the German language comedy Lila Lila, which will screen at the Cinema Corso on Thursday night, September 24th. In the film, David Kern’s (Daniel Brühl) debut novel storms into the bestseller lists. David, however, is not actually the author of this tragic love story set in the '50s. The inconspicuous waiter found the manuscript in the drawer of a bedside table he bought from a junk shop and passed it off at his own in order to impress the beautiful Marie (Hannah Herzsprung). The two become a couple and the media becomes desperate for David’s attention, but calamity takes its course when Jacky (Henry Hübchen), a run-down tramp, stands before him at an autograph session and claims to be the true author of “Lila, Lila." The Zurich Film Festival takes place September 24 - October 4.

"Mars" to open Sheffield

The U.K.'s Sheffield Doc/Fest will open November 4 with the world premiere of "Moving to Mars: 'A million miles from Burma'" by Mat Whitecross ("The Road to Guantanamo"). The film follows two refugee families from Burma over the course of a year that will change their lives completely. Forced from their homeland by the repressive military junta, the families, who are from Burma’s Karen community, have lived in Mae La Camp, a Thai refugee camp, for almost twenty years. A UN relocation scheme offers them the chance of a new life, but their new home, in Sheffield, will be different to everything they’ve ever known. The Sheffield Doc/Fest takes place September 4 - 8 in the city in the north of England.

NYT: Oscar Race May Heat Up at Festival in Toronto

This year the Canadians have their work cut out for them: setting the table for a fall and early winter season in which significantly fewer films are scheduled to be released...As film professionals from Los Angeles and New York converge on the 34th Toronto International Film Festival next week, they will have dozens of movies and their stars in tow. But they will also bring the makings of what promises to be the strangest awards season in recent memory. Michael Cieply reports.

LAT: Academy to use preferential voting to pick best picture

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today took the long expected step to ensure that this year's best picture winner won't be hated by 90% of its members by going with a preferential voting system for members. In a preferential voting system, votes for the least popular first choice movie are eliminated and those members' second choices are taken into account. The process continues until a nominee receives more than 50% of the votes. The LA Times reports.

Var: Euro buyers line up for "Lourdes"

Venice Film Festival competition title "Lourdes" has found a home in key European territories. The Paris-based Coproduction Office has inked deals with TFM (France), Cinecitta Luce (Italy), NFP (Germany), Lumiere (Belgium), Filmmuseum (Netherlands), NetXenix (Switzerland) and MTU Otaku (Estonia). Elsa Keslassy reports.

Cinemat: Asian Beat: Korean Tsunami Blockbuster Leaks Onto Internet

As if a tsunami in Korea weren't bad enough, now it's leaking onto the Internet! Fortunately, it's only a disaster of a cinematic kind; Haeundae, Korea's first-ever disaster movie, has been making waves (har har) at the box office since its release on July 22, selling more than 10 million tickets, which makes it the most popular local film of the year. Peter Martin reports.

Guard: Penelope Cruz: 'Pedro's the reason I became an actress'

Penelope Cruz, the Oscar-winning star of Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces tells Andrew Pulver about how she was inspired to act after seeing one of the Spanish director's early films. Andrew Pulver and Henry Barnes report with video coverage.

This article is related to: QuickShots