Deadpan Refugee Comedy 'Freemont' Will Close Edinburgh Film Festival 2023

Submitted by edg on Tue, 27 Jun '23 6.59am
Black and white still image of Anaita Wali Zada lying looking up in the movie Freemont (2023)

The closing film of the Edinburgh International Film Festival will be deadpan comedy Fremont, about a former Afghan translator for the U.S. Government who finds herself adrift in the titular Californian town.

The film features a memorable debut performance from former TV journalist Anaita Wali Zada, with a cast that  includes Jeremy Allen White (The Bear, Shameless US) and Gregg Turkington (On Cinema, Ant-Man)/

Freemont is the fourth feature from BAFTA-nominated British Iranian filmmaker Babak Jalali, whose previous films include Frontier Blues and Radio Dreams

The film centres on troubled 20-something Donya, played by former TV journalist Anaita Wali Zada, who, like her character in the film, was forced to flee Afghanistan.

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.

Fremont’s deadpan sense of humour coupled with its stark, black and white cinematography has invited comparisons with the work of Jim Jarmusch and is a deft portrait of a young woman struggling to come to terms with the ghosts of her past, whilst simultaneously yearning for human connection and companionship.

EIFF Programme Director Kate Taylor said: “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.”

Filmmaker Babak Jalali said: “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.”

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

This year’s shortened Edinburgh International Film Festival is hosted by Edinburgh International Festival. The programme, including participating film festival venue information, launches on Thursday 6 July 2023. The EIFF runs from Friday 18 to Wednesday 23 August 2023.