Heretic Takes World Sales Rights to Berlin-Bound ‘The Great Yawn of History,’ Poetic Road-Trip Drama From First-Time Iranian Director Aliyar Rasti (EXCLUSIVE)

Heretic has acquired world sales right to Iranian director Aliyar Rasti’s “The Great Yawn of History,” a debut feature that premieres this month in the competitive Encounters strand of the Berlin Film Festival.

The film tells the story of a man who dreams of a box of gold waiting for him at the end of a cave. Curbed by his religious belief that it’s not permissible to go after it himself, he employs the assistance of a non-believer. Together they embark on a long journey across the Iranian landscape in pursuit of a miracle. But their treasure hunt soon turns tempting also for those they meet along the way.

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Heretic’s head of sales and acquisitions, Ioanna Stais, praised the first-time director’s film for how it deftly transforms into an intricate game of hide-and-seek between faith and human frailty.

“From road trip to allegory, Aliyar’s poetic commentary hits in all the right places,” says Stais. “It was an instant match for the Heretic slate and we can’t wait to get it out there.”

Rasti was born in 1988. Since 2008, he’s worked as a visual artist, engaging in photography, video and video installations. Over the course of a decade, he’s produced more than 10 music videos for independent Iranian bands, establishing himself as a prominent writer and director in the field. His debut short film, “In Between,” won the short film award at the Tehran International Short Film Festival and best debut short film at the Tirana International Film Festival.

Athens-based boutique production and sales company Heretic’s slate also includes “Sweet Dreams,” the Locarno prize-winning colonial-era satire by Ena Sendijarević, which was the Netherlands’ submission for the best international feature Oscar race; “Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World,” a biting comedy from Golden Bear winner Radu Jude, which won the special jury prize at Locarno Film Festival; Cannes Critics’ Week prize winner “It’s Raining in the House,” from director Paloma Sermon-Daï; and Stephan Komandarev’s “Blaga’s Lessons,” which scooped the Crystal Globe for best film at last year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

The 74th Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb. 15-25.

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