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(Variety) Picture Tree International Boards Toronto-Bound ‘Farha,’ Debuts Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

By Leo Barraclough

Berlin-based sales agency Picture Tree International has boarded “Farha,” the debut feature from Jordanian writer-director Darin J. Sallam, which world premieres in the Discovery section of Toronto Film Festival. The company has shared the film’s trailer.

Inspired by true events, the film tells the story of 14-year-old girl Farha in Palestine in 1948, who watches from a locked pantry as catastrophe consumes her home.

Sallam said: “ ‘Farha’ is a story about friendship, aspiration, separation, rite of passage, exile, survival and liberation in the face of loss, all seen through the eyes of a young girl. It is an intimate coming-of-age film that tackles issues of identity and exile.

“During the catastrophic events of Al-Nakba [also known as the Palestinian Catastrophe] in Palestine in 1948, a young Palestinian girl was locked up by her father to protect her life and family honor. She eventually made it to Syria, where she met a girl with whom she shared her story. That girl grew up, started a family, and shared that story with her daughter. And that daughter happened to be me. This young girl’s harsh experience travelled over the years to reach me, now it is time to share it with the world.”

In her first on-screen appearance, newcomer Karam Taher plays the titular role of Farha. She has been selected as one of Toronto’s Rising Stars 2021, which showcases up-and-coming acting talents from around the world.

The film, which is mostly led by women, is produced by Deema Azar and Ayah Jardaneh of TaleBox in Jordan, and co-produced by Laika Film & Television and Chimney in Sweden. The majority of heads of department were women. The film was shot in Jordan.

Sallam is a graduate of the Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts (RSICA), affiliated with the University of Southern California, and was a participant of the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2021. After receiving the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Foundation in 2015, Sallam was selected for the Artist in Residency Fellowship at La Cité Internationale des Arts in 2017, followed by the Global Media Makers Fellowship by Film Independent in 2018.

PTI’s Toronto lineup also includes a first trailer of Oliver Hirschbiegel directed docufiction “The Painter,” Toronto Industry Selects title “Domingo,” Zürich Film Festival Gala Premiere “Chasing the Line,” a biopic about skiing champion Franz Klammer, Annecy premiered animation “Welcome to Siegheilkirchen,” and Dutch true crime/fake news thriller “The Judgement.”

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