Iran is lining up its biggest ever movie, a war film budgeted at $4m - more than twenty times the cost of a regular Iranian film.
Directed and produced by Mohammad Reza Darvish, the film is set during the Iran-Iraq war. It focuses on a group of Iranians on a special mission who are taken prisoner by the Iraqis. When they return to Iran after the war, they find they must defend themselves against accusations of betrayal, and prove their innocence.
Darvish, who has already directed one small-budget Iranian action film and is believed to have the support of the Iranian government, has recently completed the picture's 15-month shoot in Iran. Post- production is expected to take place outside Iran.
"No one can believe such a big budget film is actually being made in Iran" one source told Screen International.
Details of the film's financing are not clear, but are believed to have come from private sources. A sales agent has not yet been attached to the picture, which is expected to also get a release in censorship- heavy Iran.
News of the potential Iranian blockbuster emerged in Turin, which is currently hosting a major retrospective on the works of Taste Of A Cherry director Abbas Kiarostami.
Curated by ex-Venice director Alberto Barbera and Elisa Resegotti, former head of acquisitions at Istituto Luce and Bim, the retrospective is showcasing all the films of Kiarostami, including several censured films which have never been seen outside Iran, as well as Kiarostami's photographs, poetry and video installations.