SISTER and Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment have partnered on the feature film Raya based on the novel by Mahsa Rahmani Nobel, published in July 2018. Iranian/Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari (Waterfall, 17 Years and a Day) will adapt and direct.
Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff will produce for Krasnoff/Foster alongside Kate Fenske for SISTER, who together are producing the “The Jungle Prince of Delhi” for Amazon, with Mira Nair set to direct.
Raya is a historical fiction about Princess Soraya Esfandiary Bahktiari who lived a life seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. The only daughter of a prominent Iranian family, at sixteen she is selected from among the most beautiful and eligible women of her country to wed the Shah of Iran. Years later, a chance encounter with a distant relative leads Soraya back on a journey through the tender and tumultuous times of her life as another young woman struggles to come to terms with love and betrayal. Together, they share their stories of defeat and victories of love, hoping to make sense of the ever-fragile human heart.
“Noora’s work is very powerful and cinematically mature. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Noora on Raya. She brings cultural insight and dynamic storytelling. Matching her with Mahsa Rahmani Nobel’s novel is a perfect connection,” said producer Gary Foster. “We love working with Sister Pictures. It made perfect sense to bring them Raya. Stacey Snider and Kate Fenske shared our enthusiasm for the project and are also big believers in Noora.”
Mahsa Rahmani Noble is a published author and a global child welfare advocate. Born into a prominent family in Iran prior to the Islamic revolution, she spent her most formative years adapting to the new ways of life where women were forced to obey all that was set before them. She was distraught by the legacy that women were weak and it was acceptable to succumb to failure. Iran’s cultural boundaries and strict social limitations were driving factors in Mahsa’s determination in telling the story of a woman who’s legacy she grew up with and felt a kind of kinship with. This compelled her to tell her story which in many ways paralleled queen Soraya’s.
Noora Niasari is a screenwriter and filmmaker whose work explores the Iranian-Australian identity. Her films Waterfall, The Phoenix (Simorgh), and 17 Years and a Day have earned her accolades such as the Australian Director’s Guild Award for Best Student Film, as well as spots in prestigious mentorship programs under Abbas Kiarostami, award-winning screenwriter Michael Rowe, and in the Melbourne International Film Festival’s Accelerator program for emerging Australian/NZ directors. Her writing credits include: Matchbox Pictures/ABC TV Series The Heights and Thumper Pictures’ Sci-Fi Web Series Second Time. Niasari is now working on her debut feature Shayda, which has secured support from Screen Australia and Film Victoria and is partnered with renowned Australian producer Vincent Sheehan.