EXCLUSIVE: Two-time Tony and Emmy Award-nominated actor Arian Moayed (Succession) and Oscar-winning filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi (Period. End of Sentence.) have boarded Liam LoPinto‘s Oscar-qualifying live-action short The Old Young Crow as executive producers.
The news comes amidst a recent run on the festival circuit that has just seen the short screen at both SCAD and AFI, after picking up the prize for best of the festival at Palm Springs ShortFest. It also follows the announcement that Moayed will exec produce Joonam, an Oscar-contending short on the Iranian-American experience from Sierra Urich.
Also now aboard The Old Young Crow‘s team of EPs is Scott Aharoni (Leylak, Les Criminels), the multi-award-winning director and producer who co-founded the indie entertainment company Curious Gremlin. Additional EPs include Mamak Shahbazi and Bill LoPinto. Pic’s associate producers are Keisuke Sakuma, Keiko Yamashita (who also stars), Byron Gould, and Shohreh Golparian.
LoPinto relies on the help of his old sketchbook to tell the story, via his short, of Mehrdad, an old man reflecting on his time in Tokyo as a boy. The short specifically hones in on his encounter at a graveyard of an old Japanese woman, who takes him on a whirlwind spiritual journey through her past.
Moayed called LoPinto “a breakout creative voice that needs to be both championed, as well as, promoted,” sharing that he’s “beyond thrilled” to have boarded the filmmaker’s “innovative” new short. The project, he said, “exemplifies that type of stories Iranians and Iranian Americans are dying to tell. In a time and place where Iranians are rarely able to tell their complicated and meaningful stories, it’s refreshing to dive into Liam’s worldview, so audiences can better understand the beauty of Iran and its people.”
Added Zehtabchi, “The Old Young Crow is refreshingly original and boldly straddles the line between fiction, doc and animation. Liam is an exciting new voice in our Iranian film community and I’m honored to be supporting his project as an Executive Producer.”
A first generation Iranian-American filmmaker and animator from New York City, LoPinto’s work focuses on diaspora, refugees, immigrants, and dissidents. His previous filmography includes the short French Fly, selected for CAA’s Moebius Showcase, and documentary Karam Camera, which was made in partnership with Karam Foundation, the org founded by Lina Sergie Attar that fosters education and development for young Syrian Refugees.
Best known for his role as Stewy Hosseini on HBO’s Succession, and for his Tony-nominated work in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and A Doll’s House, the Iranian-American Moayed co-founded Waterwell, which engages in community organizing through works of art to spotlight civic and systemic issues. Among its works is immigration drama The Courtroom, based on the play penned by Moayed, which premiered at the Tribeca Festival.
An Iranian-American director and producer, Zehtabchi was behind Period. End of Sentence., the Netflix documentary short that won an Oscar in 2019. Pic told the story of a group of village women in Northern India who started a sanitary pad-making business in an effort to improve feminine hygiene and destigmatize menstruation within their community. Zehtabchi has also directed multiple branded documentaries including United O, They Came from All Over, and A Woman’s Place, which can be seen on Hulu. Her most recent short documentary, Long Line of Ladies, follows a girl and her community as they prepare for her Ihuk, the once-dormant coming of age ceremony of the Karuk tribe of Northern California.
Moayed is repped by Kipperman Management and Schreck Rose Dapello; Zehtabchi by Granderson Des Rochers.