Neil Friedman's LA-based sales and distribution outfit Menemsha Entertainment, which enjoyed success in 2000 with Majid Majidi's Iranian hit The Color Of Paradise, has acquired two new Iranian films for worldwide representation - Bahman Ghobadi's Marooned In Iraq and Rasoul Sadrameli's I'm Taraneh, 15 which is Iran's submission for this year's Academy Awards.
Friedman said that the two new acquisitons are representative of the potential for Iranian cinema with audiences and critics; Menemsha sold The Color Of Paradise to Sony Pictures Classics in North America and over 40 countries around the world and is the highest grossing Iranian film in domestic box office history.
Marooned In Iraq is Ghobadi's first film since his Camera d'Or-winning A Time For Drunken Horses (2001). It also played in Cannes this year, in Un Certain Regard under the title The Songs Of My Mother's Land. I'm Taraneh, 15 premiered at Locarno this year, winning a special jury prize and the Golden Leopard for best actress for Taraneh Allidousti.
Menemsha will distribute Taraneh theatrically in North America itself and handle all international sales, while it only has international rights on Marooned In Iraq.
"Our interest is to be involved in films that move us emotionally regardless of whether the film is in English or not," said Friedman. "Marooned in Iraq and I'm Taraneh, 15 are both terrific films and we feel very proud to be working on them. Hopefully we can have just some of the success with each of these films that we did on The Color of Paradise".