1928 silent film features an all Indian cast with a new musical score by Anoushka Shankar
Juno Films has licensed the exclusive North American rights to the British Film Institute(BFI)’s 2K restoration of director Franz Osten’s epic black and white drama, Shiraz: A Romance of India. Based on the romance between 17th-century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and his queen, this epic silent film is the ravishing, romantic tale behind the creation of one of the world’s most iconic structures: the Taj Mahal.
Shot entirely on location in India, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this meticulous new digital restoration by the conservation team at the BFI National Archive which features a specially commissioned score by the Grammy Award-winning Anoushka Shankar. Produced by and starring Indian film legend Himansu Rai, the film is performed by an all-Indian cast, featuring Rai as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart Selima (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).
The film will premiere in the US at the Metrograph Theater in January 2019 with a DVD and BluRay release to follow in May on the new Juno Selects home video label distributed in partnership with MVD. Additional home video titles to be released on the new label include Peter Sellers’ debut feature film, Pennies from Heaven and his short film, Let’s Go Crazy.
The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and the BFI’s Violette Martin. “It is an honor to work with the BFI on the release of Shiraz: A Romance of India. It is a timeless tale of devotion that left humankind with a monument to the inspiration and power of true love, the Taj Majal,” says Sheldon, “and the new score by the Grammy-award winning Anoushka Shankar seals it as a contemporary masterpiece.”
“The restoration of SHIRAZ was the culmination of thousands of hours of painstaking conservation work by the BFI National Archive to transform this silent classic, thereby ensuring its safe preservation for future generations. The BFI therefore is very happy to see SHIRAZ in the highly skilled hands of Juno Films and Elizabeth Sheldon for its North American distribution, as well as to have the Metrograph Theater on board for the opening week in New York. We look forward to further collaborations with Juno Films around our classic film collection.” commented the BFI’s Violette Martin.
ABOUT THE BFI NATIONAL ARCHIVE
The BFI National Archive was founded in 1935 and has grown to become the one of the largest and most important collections of film and television in the world with over 180,000 films and 750,000 television programs. For over 80 years the BFI has been an international leader in film preservation and guardian of Britain’s unparalleled film and TV heritage. The BFI is an innovator in presenting films to audiences in new and dynamic ways, from cinemas to film festivals, outdoor events to online video-on-demand. At the heart of all its activities is the BFI’s central aim to ensure that everyone in the UK has access to the widest possible range of film and their own film heritage.
That heritage includes all time great British directors Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean and Powell and Pressburger; and the rich vein of documentary filmmaking, in which Britain led the world, including the lyrical work of Humphrey Jennings. The archive also boasts a significant collection of filmmakers’ papers as well as extensive stills, posters and production and costume designs along with original scripts, press books and related ephemera.
Expert teams undertake the time-consuming and complex task of restoring films at the BFI John Paul Getty Jr Conservation Centre in Hertfordshire. The BFI’s most precious film materials are kept in optimum conditions in the world-leading Master Film Store in Warwickshire.
Further details: www.bfi.org.uk
MVD Entertainment Group is a full service music and movie distribution firm, exclusively representing thousands of audio and visual products for DVD, Blu-ray, CD, vinyl, and digital rights, worldwide.
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