SONY PICTURES CLASSICS TO RELEASE AUSTRALIA’S OFFICIAL ACADEMY AWARDS SUBMISSION ‘SHAYDA’ IN NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES ON MARCH 1, 2024
Noora Niasari’s feature film debut received the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival
NEW YORK (December 18, 2023) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they will release Noora Niasari’s feature film debut SHAYDA in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on March 1, 2024, before expanding nationwide in the following weeks. SHAYDA, written and directed by Niasari, was submitted by Australia as their official entry for the Best International Feature category for the 2024 Academy Awards®. The film, which received a one-week awards qualifying run this month, earned rave reviews upon its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and took home the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
An Origma 45 production, the film is produced by Vincent Sheehan and Niasari in association with Dirty Films and Parandeh Pictures. Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and Coco Francini of Dirty Films are executive producers, alongside Caitlin Gold, Lindsay Lanzillotta, Lois Scott, Naomi McDougall Jones, and Nivedita Kulkarni. The film received major production investment from Screen Australia in association with The 51 Fund and was financed with support from VicScreen and the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) Premiere Fund.
SHAYDA stars Zar Amir Ebrahimi (2022 Cannes’ Best Actress winner for HOLY SPIDER), Osamah Sami, Leah Purcell, Jillian Nguyen, Mojean Aria, Selina Zahednia, and Rina Mousavi.
In the film, Shayda, an Iranian woman living in Australia, finds refuge in a women’s shelter with her 6-year-old daughter, Mona. Having fled her husband, Hossein, and filed for divorce, Shayda struggles to maintain normalcy and create a new home for Mona. Buoyed by the approach of Nowruz (Persian New Year), Shayda tries to forge a fresh start with new and unfettered freedoms. But when a judge grants Hossein visitation rights, he reenters their life, fueling Shayda’s apprehension that he’ll attempt to take Mona back to Iran. Drawn from personal experiences, Iranian-Australian filmmaker Niasari’s powerful SHAYDA is a beautifully crafted, poetic vérité portrayal of courage, compassion and the healing properties of community. Actress Ebrahimi captures the vulnerability and confliction, but also the radiant soul of an Iranian woman boldly reclaiming her human rights.
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Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992—which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world. Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 41 Academy Awards® (37 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 186 Academy Award® nominations (160 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for THE FATHER, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, WHIPLASH, AMOUR, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
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