Berlin Film Festival Winner ‘There Is No Evil’, By Detained Iranian Filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, Clinches U.S. Deal

EXCLUSIVE: Kino Lorber has acquired U.S. rights to Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner There is No Evil about men who carry out the death penalty.

The well-received Persian-language movie was feted by a Berlin jury including Jeremy Irons, Kenneth Lonergan and actress Bérénice Bejo.

Due to a ban from the Iranian government, acclaimed filmmaker Rasoulof wasn’t allowed to attend the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and days after the director won the prize he was sentenced to one year in prison for “propaganda against the system.” Iranian authorities have tried multiple times to ban him from making movies. Despite their attempts, this is his sixth feature film, none of which have screened in his homeland.

Anthology feature There is No Evil comprises four stories of men in Iran who are each put in front of an unthinkable but simple choice – to follow orders to enforce the death penalty, or not. Whatever they decide will directly or indirectly corrode themselves, their relationships, and their lives.

The deal was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell and Film Boutique’s Head of Sales Julien Razafindranaly. The film will be rolled out in theaters in fall 2020, followed by VOD and home ent release.

Kino Lorber has previously acquired four Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winners: Nadav Lapid’s Synonyms in 2019, Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not in 2018, Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea in 2016, and Jafar Panahi’s Taxi in 2015. Rasoulof’s slow-burning thriller from 2013, Manuscripts Don’t Burn was also released theatrically by Kino Lorber and draws from the true story of the government’s attempted 1995 murder of several prominent writers and intellectuals.

Director Rasoulof said, “I am very happy that Kino Lorber is once again distributing one of my films in the U.S. With their selection of titles they demonstrate that cinema can be entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time, confronting the audience with questions of choice and morality.”

Lidell added, “About halfway through watching There is No Evil, I knew it was destined to win Berlin’s Golden Bear. Told with great insight and compassion, this story of personal soul-searching is both uniquely Iranian and superbly universal. We believe it will resonate deeply with Americans during these extraordinary times.”

Razafindranaly commented, “We are really glad that There is No Evil has been so well-received since its premiere at the Berlinale and today it is with the same level of happiness that we team up again with Richard, Wendy and the whole team at Kino Lorber in order to bring this year’s Golden Bear to American audiences very soon”.

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