LevelK has boarded international sales for Iranian drama Zalava, which will screen in Toronto’s Midnight Madness and Venice Critics’ Week.
Arsalan Amiri, who previously served as screenwriter on Titi and Nahid, makes his feature directorial debut with the film. The drama is set in 1978 in a small village called Zavala, where the villagers claim there is a demon amongst them. A young sergeant arrests an exorcist for fraud, causing fear and anger to escalate in the village.
Amiri also writes alongside Ida Panahandeh (Nahid, Israfil) and Tahmineh Bahmineh (A Romantic Robbery).
Samira Baradari (Dressage, Risk Of Acid Rain) and Rauhollah Baradari (Bitter Dream, Silence Of The Sea) produce for Touba Films. Ruth Yoshie Linton serves as co-producer.
The cast features Navid Pourfaraj (Bone Marrow, Rusty Little Brains); Pouria Rahimisam (Bulletproof, Nahid) and Hoda Zeinolabedin (The Fall Of The Angel, Cold Sweat).
Backers include Touba Films, HAF (Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum)/Kofic award and Goteborg Film Festival Film Fund 2021.
Amiri said: “As a little boy, I questioned the existence of this supernatural invisible creature made from fire, that my grandfather told me about, but did not have the courage to speak up about it. Eventually, I forced myself to believe, because I did not want to be punished by genies in the middle of the night. I outgrew these stories and my fears. Years later, as I searched for a unique story for my first feature film, my dad shared a story about one of my ancestors who enslaved a genie by attaching a pin to his clothes! It was pure magical realism and surprisingly my father believed it. At that moment, I knew I found my film.”
LevelK is also selling the Venice Critics’ Week opening film Karmalink (with XYZ handling North America).