The film "Tatami," a collaborative effort between Israeli director Guy Nattiv and Iranian director Zar Amir Ebrahimi, celebrated its world premiere at the illustrious 80th Venice Film Festival. It garnered not only critical acclaim but also a special award for its commitment to human rights. Now, this groundbreaking film has received another prestigious honor, as it has been officially selected to compete in the esteemed Tokyo Film Festival, scheduled to commence on October 23, 2023.
"Tatami," co-directed by Oscar-winning Israeli director Guy Nattiv and renowned Iranian director and actress Zar Amir Ebrahimi, marks a historic milestone as the first-ever international cinematic collaboration between Israeli and Iranian filmmakers. The screenplay was a joint effort, penned by Nativ in conjunction with Iranian director Ilham Afarani.
The film masterfully unfolds the narrative of Iranian athletes against the backdrop of an extremist regime's oppressive rule. "Tatami" takes viewers on an emotional journey, shadowing Iranian judoka Leila, portrayed by the talented Arienne Mandi, and her dedicated coach Mariam, played by Zar Amir Ebrahimi. Together, they embark on a mission to the World Judo Championships with a singular goal in mind: to secure Iran's very first gold medal.
Venice: How Israel’s Guy Nattiv and Iran’s Zar Amir Ebrahimi Are Making History With ‘Tatami’ https://t.co/7C7QCTWLA3 I absolutely love this story. And I desperately want to see the film “Tatami”. Israelis & Iranians are natural partners, & friends.💙— AdinaZ 🇺🇸🇮🇱🤌🏼 ⚖️ (@lackboys3) August 31, 2023
However, the plot takes a dramatic twist when, on the eve of a crucial match where Leila is slated to compete against an Israeli athlete, they are confronted with an ultimatum from the Iranian regime. The regime demands that Leila feign an injury and deliberately lose. In this high-stakes dilemma, where not only Leila's dreams but her family's freedom hangs in the balance, she grapples with an impossible choice: yield to the pressure, obey the Iranian regime, and forfeit the match, or defy the oppressive regime and fight for the coveted gold medal. The film also boasts remarkable performances from Jaime Ray Newman, Nativ's wife and creative partner, and Mehdi Bajestani.
Reflecting on the film's premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Nattiv shared his thoughts on this extraordinary project, stating, "Collaborating with Zar Amir Ebrahimi as the director and Ilham Afarani as the screenwriter was an unparalleled experience. I am thrilled that this marks the first-ever collaboration between Israeli and Iranian creators and that we've earned a spot at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. It's a dream realized, and a profound opportunity to shine a spotlight on the courageous Iranian women who bravely oppose the oppressive regime in their homeland."
For the first time, an Israeli and Iranian have collaborated to make the film “Tatami” which will be premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The film was co-directed by Iranian Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Israeli director, Guy Nattiv. May there be many more collaborations between our… pic.twitter.com/b3iEOoUpTz— Emily Schrader - אמילי שריידר امیلی شریدر (@emilykschrader) July 31, 2023
This remarkable achievement in cinema follows the announcement that the Israeli series "Kol Od Balevav," an educational drama series centered around Holocaust memory, has been nominated for the International Emmy Award. The winners will be revealed at a ceremony set to take place in New York on November 20. Furthermore, journalist Itai Anghel's documentary film, which chronicles the war between Russia and Ukraine, has also received a nomination in the investigative category of this esteemed award. In the documentary, Anghel, alongside photographer Eddie Gerald, provides a firsthand account of the experiences of fighters and civilians throughout Ukraine.