Arafat Faiz in 'When Pomegranates Howl'.

Granaz Moussavi’s When Pomegranates Howl has been put forward as Australia’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film at the 2022 Academy Awards.

Shot in Afghanistan, the film follows nine-year-old Hewad (Arafat Faiz), who hustles on the streets of Kabul but dreams of stardom. When an Australian photojournalist befriends him and starts documenting his life in order to create an empathetic depiction of children in a war-torn society, Heward is hopeful that his luck may finally be changing.

Written and directed by Moussavi, the Australian/Afghanistan co-production was produced by Parvin Productions, in association with Sterga Productions, with additional financial assistance from the Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund and the South Australian Film Corporation, as well as support from the Netherlands Embassy, Kabul.

Moussavi also produces alongside Baheer Wardak, Christine Williams and Marzieh Vafamehr, with Shaun Miller serving as executive producer.

The selection comes after the project was nominated for Best Youth Film at the 2021 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which will be announced on November 11.

When Pomegranates Howl is the second feature from Moussavi, a graduate of AFTRS and Adelaide’s Flinders University, who immigrated to Australia from Tehran with her family in the late ’90s. 

Distributed in Australia by Bonsai Films, the film will next be seen at next month’s Sydney Film Festival along with a late November preview season in Sydney and Canberra, prior to a select theatrical release in the first quarter of 2022.

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