‘Holy Spider’ Star Zar Amir Ebrahimi to Lead Goteborg Festival Jury, Tribute to Dissident Iranian Filmmakers Planned

Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who won best actress at Cannes for her performance in Ali Abassi’s “Holy Spider” is set to head the jury of the Nordic competition at the Göteborg Film Festival.

Ebrahimi is a celebrated Iranian actor, director, producer and casting director. Her credits include “Bride Price vs. Democracy,” “Teheran Tabu” and Noora Niasari’s film “Shayda” which is set to compete at Sundance. She currently stars in “White Paradise,” a contemporary western directed by Guillaume Renusson which just came out in France.

Ebrahimi will be joined on the jury by actress Sofie Gråbøl, director Antonio Lukich and composer Matti Bye.

“I am incredibly proud to be leading a jury of these impressive artists so that we may not only amplify the stellar work in the festival, but to also draw attention to the atrocities happening every day around us,” said Ebrahimi.

The actor fled from the Iranian dictatorship and the risk of imprisonment in 2018. Hundreds of filmmakers and other artists are currently being threatened by the government, arrested or sentenced to prison as they protest against the oppressive Iranian regime.

Göteborg Film Festival will screen several films in solidarity with these dissident voices. As such, the festival will screen “No Bears” by Jafar Panahi, who recently was sentenced to six years in prison due to his inquiries about the arrests of fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad; as well as “How Dare You Have Such a Rubbish Wish,” film directed by Mania Akbari about the plight of Iran’s women, based on clips from films from the silent-film era up until the Revolution in 1979; and “Subtraction” which stars Taraneh Alidoosti who was recently detained in Tehran days after she criticized the state’s use of the death penalty against protesters. An activist at heart, Alidoosti removed her hijab and posted her photo with a “Woman, Life, Freedom” sign on her Instagram account in order to support the movement and protesters.

In conjunction with the Swedish premiere of Subtraction at the festival, Zar Amir Ebrahimi will lead a manifestation in support of Taraneh Alidoosti and the people of Iran.

“Zar Amir Ebrahimi is an exceptional actress and a very brave person,” said Jonas Holmberg, artistic director at Göteborg Film Festival. “Due to her artistic intelligence, we are delighted to welcome her as jury president. Together with her, we want to express our deepest solidarity with the people of Iran and our Iranian filmmaker friends who face an immensely difficult and dangerous situation,” the artistic director continued.

Nine films will compete in the Nordic competition whose lineup will be unveiled on Jan. 10.

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