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VIDEO- Promo for Iranian new film “Muhammad” (pbuh)

15 February 2015 23:59

Filmmaker Majid Majidi (pictured), in the finishing stages of making his new film “Muhammad,” got interviewed recently and promoted his film’s message, saying, “I wanted to share and spread the right understanding of Islam.”

With an unheard-of budget and entire city sets built for the occasion, “Muhammad” has a lot riding on it. Majidi predictably gave a major promotional push for his film during the interview.

This is Iran’s biggest-budget production to this date. A whole town as well as a full-scale Mecca were recreated down to the most minute detail.

“It will pay back,” Majidi said. “This film is a step forward for Muslim cinema. This is an investment into the development of Muslim cinema.”

The Oscar-nominated Majidi added, “the film starts with [the prophet’s] adolescence, and childhood is shown through flashbacks. We chose the period before Muhammad became a prophet.” He also said, “this film contains no controversies and no differences between the Shia and the Sunni points of view.”

On the quandary of portraying the prophet’s face, something that is considered illegal according to Islamic tenets, he said “the face of the prophet is not shown in the film. By hiding his face I make it [the character] more intriguing for the viewer.”

His film, “Children of Heaven (1997),” was the first Iranian film to have been nominated for a Foreign Language Academy Award in 1999.

“We’re going to help open your eyes to what Islam really is all about,” Majidi added. “We have a lot of positive things to share with the world, provided that the West is ready for such a dialogue. I think that Iran can have something someting strong to say through its arts and culture.”

“Muhammad” is slated for a 2015 release in Iran. Of note, the presence of Sareh Bayat on the cast. A.R. Rahman of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame, has written the film’s original soundtrack (scroll down for images from the set).

THE BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE: A one billion+-strong captive audience of adherents to Islam is significant. Even if Team Majidi manages to stir controversy “Muhammad” will have a healthy run, with the best results predicted from home distribution sales. A well-produced DVD and Blu-Ray combo loaded with extras (“making of,” etc) could be quite the pot of gold. Film’s expected to have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. and Europe, unless “Muhammad” gains traction with any of the upcoming international film festivals (and with Majidi’s previous credentials, there’s a chance he will).

Article will be updated as more news becomes available – Ali Naderzad

WATCH the interview here

Muhammad [Nourtaban Productions]
In post-production
Estimated budget: $ 35 M
Director: Majid Majidi
Writer: Majid Majidi
Producer: Muhammad Mehdi Heidarian
Composer: A.R. Rahman
Cinematographer: Vittorio Storaro
Production Designer: Miljen Kreka Kljakovic
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