West End Films has acquired the world rights Untitled JudoA political thriller co-directed by Guy Nativ (Leather, Golda) and actress Zar Amir Ibrahimi (holy spider)
The film is currently in post production. West End Films will begin sales at this year’s European Film Market.
The film is the first feature film co-directed by an Iranian and an Israeli filmmaker and follows an Iranian female judoka and her coach during the judo world championships as they face life-changing decisions. Ilham Erfani (Sacrifice event) is a co-author of the project.
Ariane Mandy (The L word: Generation Q) and co-director Zar Amir Ibrahimi in the lead role, alongside Jaime Ray Newman (Dopsic, little fire everywhere), Nadine Marshall (The Silent Twins, Small Ax) and Mehdi Bajestani (holy spider)
The full synopsis reads: Untitled Judo A thrilling portrait of Iranian female judoka Leila (Mandi) and her coach Mariam (Ebrahimi), who travel to the Judo World Championships with the intention of bringing home Iran’s first gold medal. Midway through the competition, they receive an ultimatum from the Islamic Republic ordering Leela to fake a hit and miss. With her own and her family’s freedom at stake, Leila is faced with an impossible choice: feign injury and comply with the Iranian regime as Maryam urges her to do, or deny both and fight for gold.
Untitled Judo Produced by Adi Izroni (Save yourself!) and Keshet Studio’s Mandy Tagger Brocki (A Late Quartet) alongside Guy Native and Jaime Ray Newman from New Native Pictures. Other credits include cinematography by Todd Martin (newborn) and edited by Yuval Orr (Stranger, skin)
The film is produced by Keshet Studios in association with White Lodge Productions, New Native Pictures, Maven Pictures, West End Films, Tale Runners and Cirque Studios.
The acquisition comes under West End’s brand WeLove, which aims to create female-specific content and promote female talent. The range will co-represent North America alongside the West End.
“It’s been a tremendous honor to collaborate with this truly creative force of nature – Zar, Ariane and Elham, bringing this important story to life,” said Nativ. “Untitled Judo There is more to us than movies. It is a creative statement to the world as thousands of innocent Iranian people are paying the price with their lives for freedom.
Ebrahimi added: “The story we are telling in this film is the story of many Iranian athletes who have lost the chance of a lifetime, sometimes forced to leave their country and loved ones because of conflicts between the system and the government. This artistic and cinematographic collaboration with Guy can be a tribute to them transcending the frenzy of blind hatred and mutual destruction.”
Nattiv will present its latest feature in Berlin GoldaThe political biopic on Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, starring Oscar winner Helen Mirren, is set to have its world premiere as a special gala in Berlin.
WestEnd Managing Director Maya Amselem added: “We are so honored to be working with Guy and Jarr on this incredible project. The story could not be more timely in Iran’s current political and social context and we strongly believe that the film will resonate with audiences around the world.”