Neon Buys North American Rights to Mohammad Rasoulof’s ‘The Seed of the Sacred Fig’

Neon has acquired the North American rights to “The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” directed by Mohammad Rasoulof. The thriller is set to premiere In Competition in Cannes on May 24, and marks Rasoulof’s first return to the Cannes Film Festival, after being barred from traveling. Neon is planning a North American theatrical release later this year.

The film — which stars Setareh Abdolmaleki, Zahra Rostami, Amineh Mazroei Arani and Niousha AkhshiVardoogh — follows Iman, an investigating judge in the Revolutionary Court in Tehran, who grapples with mistrust and paranoia as nationwide political protests intensify and his gun mysteriously disappears. Suspecting the involvement of his wife Najmeh and his daughters Rezvan and Sana, he imposes drastic measures at home, causing tensions to rise.

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The deal was negotiated by Neon’s VP of Acquisitions Sarah Colvin with Films Boutique / Parallel 45’s Jean-Christophe Simon and Film Boutique’s Julien Razafindranaly on behalf of the filmmakers.

Rasoulof, an Iranian director, writer and producer, won best director in Un Certain Regard for his film “Bé Omid é Didar” (Goodbye) in 2011, earned the FIPRESCI Prize from the International Federation of Film Critics at Un Certain Regard for “Dast Neveshteha Nemisoozand” (Manuscripts Don’t Burn) in 2013, and in 2017, won the main prize in the Un Certain Regard section for “Lerd” (A Man of Integrity).

“The Seed of the Sacred Fig” was shot illegally in Iran. Earlier this month, Rasoulof left Iran and traveled to Europe clandestinely after being sentenced to eight years in prison by the country’s authorities, who pressured him to pull the film from the Cannes Film Festival and harassed the film’s producers and actors.

The film is produced by Rasoulof, Amin Sadraei, Mani Tilgner, Rozita Hendijanian, Simon, and co-produced by ARTE France Cinéma with the support of Aide aux Cinémasdu Monde, Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, and Institut français with the support of MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein.

Neon has also acquired the U.S. rights to “The Monkey” starring Theo James, Arthur Harari’s “The Unknown” starring Léa Seydoux and “Keeper” starring Tatiana Maslany and Rossif Sutherland.

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