Fully financed in Scotland with support from Creative Scotland and qualified British through the cultural test, Hassan Nazer's film Winners was shot entirely in Iran with 100% Farsi dialogue and was developed and post-produced in Scotland. Winners world premiered at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), in August of 2022, where it won the Audience Award.
The film tells the story of a poor Iranian village, where the children work hard to support their families. One day nine-year-old Yahya and his friend Leyla find a precious statuette in the desert. As the authorities search for the lost treasure, sharing a passion for cinema Yahya’s boss Nasser Khan (Reza Naji) decides to help the children find its owner.
Written and directed by Hassan Nazer, the cast includes Reza Naji, Hossein Abedini, Parsa Maghami, Helia Mohammadkhani and Malalai Zikria, with cinematography by Arash Seifi Jamadi, editing by Dave Arthur, Hassan Nazer and Reza Jouze, music by Mohsen Amini and Mohammad Saeed Shayan, the film is produced by Nadira Murray (Sylph Productions) and Paul Welsh (Edge City Films), and financed by Screen Scotland, World Film Productions and Sylph Productions.
Winners will receive a limited UK release in November. It recently competed for best film at Dinard Festival du Film Britannique (Sept 2022) and has also been nominated for Best UK Feature at Raindance Film Festival (Oct 2022).
BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, is the organization appointed by AMPAS to select the UK’s submission for consideration for the International Feature Film Award (formerly known as the Foreign Language Film Award) at the Oscars. For the selection process, any British feature film that is predominantly non-English language and released theatrically in the UK between 1 January and 30 November 2022 may be eligible. Past British films submitted to AMPAS for this category include Dying to Divorce (Chloe Fairweather), The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (Chiwetel Ejiofor), I Am Not A Witch (Rungano Nyoni), My Pure Land (Sarmad Masud), Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari) and Metro Manila (Sean Ellis).
The shortlist of 15 finalists in this category will be announced on December 21 with the final five nominees announced on January 24, 2022. This year's ceremony, the 95th Academy Awards, will take place on March 12, 2023 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.