THE RED SUITCASE - nominated for the 95th Academy® Awards. Here's what the director had to share. - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, February 17, 2023

THE RED SUITCASE - nominated for the 95th Academy® Awards. Here's what the director had to share.

This heart-breaking short film has been nominated for the 95th Academy® Awards.

Director Cyrus Neshvad’s THE RED SUITCASE is a heartbreaking story of a 16-year-old Iranian girl who is visibly terrified after picking up her red suitcase at the airport. She is seen to be lost in thought and taking her time to leave the departure lounge. What awaits her on the other side of the automatic doors is even more daunting than we thought. THE RED SUITCASE is nominated for the 95th Academy® Awards after qualifying by winning the Oscar®-qualifying award at the Tirana International Film Festival.

Luxembourg Airport. Late in the evening. A veiled 16-year-old Iranian girl is frightened to take her red suitcase on the automatic carpet. She keeps pushing back the moment to go through the arrival gate and seems more and more terrified.
Cyrus Neshvad is a Luxembourg director of Iranian origin. He has directed several short films including THE ORCHID, ANTOINE, SON, and PORTRAITIST which have all been produced by CYNEFILMS. Collectively these films have officially been selected in over 300 festivals, over 30 of them Oscar-qualifying. PORTRAITIST qualified for the Oscars in 2020 and won 55 awards including the Letzebuerger Filmpraïs 2021 in Luxembourg. Currently, Cyrus Neshvad is developing his first feature film "LE REFUGE / THE SHELTER" supported by the Film Fund Luxembourg.

Here's what the director Cyrus Neshvad had to share about being nominated for the 95th Academy® Awards.

Q: What does getting an Oscar nomination mean to you?
A: The most important thing for me is that The Red Suitcase will have more visibility through this nomination, which also brings more visibility to what’s happening in Iran right now. I feel somehow proud to bring support on my level to this young Iranian generation fighting in the streets of Tehran for their freedom.
Q: What made you make this film? What's the inspiration behind it?
A: In 2020 in Luxembourg, my mother told me that many women in Iran were disappearing for expressing their opinions or not wearing their headscarves correctly. That terrified me because it was happening, kept secret in Iran and nobody was talking about it. I wanted to do something. Anything. I decided to do a short movie starring an Iranian girl who decides to stand up for her rights by taking her headscarf off. Her free will to choose. Today, after Mahsa Amini’s death, the whole world knows what’s going on in Iran and I am really relieved about that. 
Q: As a filmmaker, why did you start this journey? What does it mean to be a storyteller?
A: When we immigrated to Luxembourg, I was a child. For years I couldn’t really express myself. So often I was drawing pictures to communicate with people. And every day I had pictures telling the story of my day. And then the story of my months. So later it came quite easy for me to tell stories with pictures. 
Q: Do you feel a sense of pride for yourself or for your country? Or both?
A: Being nominated makes me proud to bring support to the Iranians fighting right now in the streets of Tehran for their freedom.
Q: Are up-and-coming filmmakers supported in your country, if so --- how?
A: We are supported by the Film Fund Luxembourg.

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