Recognition but no award for Oscar-nominated Swiss film

"Parvaneh"'s writer/director Talkhon Hamzavi (left) and producer Stefan Eichenberger (second from left) with the film's actresses at the Academy Awards Keystone

There was no statue for Swiss director Talkhon Hamzavi at the 87th Academy AwardsExternal link, held on Sunday in Hollywood, California. “Parvaneh”, one of five nominees for Best Live Action Short Film, lost to the British film “The Phone Call”. 

This content was published on February 23, 2015 - 11:20 and agencies

“When you’re so close to the goal and then it doesn’t happen, then of course you’re a bit disappointed,” said Hamzavi in an interview Monday morning with Swiss Public radio, SRF. “But you just don’t know what to expect. There are so many different tastes.”

Parvaneh’s producer, Stefan Eichenberger, named three possible factors leading to the British film’s win. First, the winner was filmed in English, whereas Parveneh has English subtitles. Second, the winner comes from Great Britain, which has a high percentage of Academy members and thus voters. And third, the British film features a well-known actress, Sally Hawkings, in the main role.

The Swiss entry, Parvaneh, tells the story of a young Afghan immigrant living in a transit centre for asylum seekers in the Swiss mountains, who has to travel to Zurich when her father becomes ill.

It was written and directed by Talkhon Hamzavi, who was born in Iran in 1979 and came to Switzerland at the age of seven.

It is rare that a Swiss film is nominated for an Academy Award. In 2009 the film “On the Line” was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film but didn’t win. The last time Switzerland won an Oscar was in 1991, for Xavier Koller’s immigrant drama “Journey of Hope” in the category Best Foreign Language Film.

Hamzavi and producer Stefan Eichenberger attended the Academy Awards in Hollywood along with actresses Nissa Kashani (the title character) and Cheryl Graf.

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