A stylish deadpan dramedy about an insomniac Afghan woman unable to dream the American dream.
Dir. Babak Jalali / United States / 2023 / English, Cantonese, Dari with English subtitles
Twenty-something Donya (Anaita Wali Zada) spends her days working at a fortune cookie factory and her nights wide awake battling insomnia. An Afghan refugee who emigrated to the US after serving as a translator for the American army, Donya lives in limbo between the desire to rebuild her life and the overbearing guilt she carries within. With Fremont, director Babak Jalali (whose debut Frontier Blues played at EIFF 2010) drinks from the fountain of Jim Jarmusch, weaving deadpan humour and poignancy into a sensitive immigrant tale anchored by the moving breakout performance of real-life refugee Wali Zada. She is joined here by the perpetually off-kilter Gregg Turkington as a Jack London-loving psychiatrist and Jeremy Allen White, star of The Bear, as a heartthrob mechanic.
Rafa Sales Ross, Film Programmer
Director Babak Jalali will be at the festival to present the film.
UK Trailer coming soon
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Director: Babak Jalali
Babak Jalali was born in Northern Iran and raised primarily in London. His short film, Heydar, An Afghan in Tehran, received a BAFTA nomination for Best Short Film in 2006. He developed his debut feature film, Frontier Blues, at the Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation Residence. The film premiered in Official Competition at the 2009 Locarno International Film Festival and went on to receive the Fipresci Award at the San Francisco Film Festival. His second feature, Radio Dreams, won the Hivos Tiger Award at the 2016 Rotterdam Film Festival, received the Special Jury Award at the Seattle International Film Festival and won Best Director at the Andrei Tarkovsky Film Festival in Russia. His third feature, Land, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018. Fremont is his fourth feature film.
Writers: Carolina Cavalli, Babak Jalali
Producers: Marjaneh Moghimi, Sudnya Shroff, Rachael Fung, Laura Wagner, Chris Martin, George Rush
Cast: Anaita Wali Zada, Gregg Turkington, Jeremy Allen White
Sales Agent: Memento
Distributor: Modern Films
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Photo: Anaita Wali Zada (Donya) in Fremont
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