News Story

Black and white image of Anaita Wali Zada in Fremont

Anaita Wali Zada in Fremont © Modern Films

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) hosted by Edinburgh International Festival, is delighted to announced that the Festival will close with the UK premiere of Fremont, directed by BAFTA-nominated director Babak Jalali (whose debut Frontier Blues played EIFF in 2010).

EIFF @ Edinburgh International Festivalwill take place from 18 – 23 August 2023.

The film centres on troubled 20-something Donya, played in a breakout debut performance by former TV journalist Anaita Wali Zada, who, like her character in the film, was forced to flee Afghanistan. In Fremont, Donya is a former Afghan translator whose work for the U.S. Government has led to her becoming lost and adrift in the titular Californian town.

Donya takes a new job writing the fortunes at a fortune cookie factory and as her messages begin to be read by those throughout the city, her growing sense of longing drives her to send a more profound statement out to the world.

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Our programming team was totally captivated by Fremont’s mood, style and subtlety, and adored both the character of Donya and the tender care shown by director Babak Jalali towards his layered protagonist. It’s an honour to close this year’s festival with a film that considers the complex dynamics of diaspora experience in such a nuanced way, whilst frequently delighting with its wry wit and off-beat humour. We can’t wait for Edinburgh audiences to fall under its spell.

Kate Taylor, Programme Director at Edinburgh International Film Festival

Fremont marks a personal work for British Iranian director Babak Jalali, whose films have screened at countless festivals around the world. His debut feature Frontier Blues played at EIFF in 2010, and his sophomore feature, Radio Dreams, premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam where it won the Festival Tiger Award.

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I'm so honoured that Fremont will have its UK premiere as the Closing Night film at EIFF! Growing up in the UK, it was easy to understand the huge cultural impact EIFF has had not just on these shores but also internationally. And the importance of making sure it continues to be here and to thrive. I'm thrilled to be returning to Edinburgh once again to show a film to an audience that I've very fond memories of, and in such a prestigious slot in the programme.

Babak Jalali, Writer/Director of Fremont

The cast includes Anaita Wala Zada, Jeremy Allen White (The Bear, Shameless U.S.), Gregg Turkington (Ant Man, On Cinema), Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You) and Bettina Devin (An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn). The film is co-written by Carolina Cavalli whose current feature as director is the acclaimed film Amanda.

Fremont will be released in the UK this Autumn by Modern Films.

The full programme of EIFF @ Edinburgh International Festival will be announced on Thursday 6 July 2023.

All tickets for EIFF @ Edinburgh International Festival go on sale at Midday on 7 July via