UTA Signs ‘Holy Spider’ Breakout Zar Amir

EXCLUSIVE: United Talent Agency (UTA) has signed up Iranian-French actress, director, producer, and casting director Zar Amir.

Amir, best known for her breakout turn in Ali Abbasi’s 2022 Cannes competition title Holy Spider, has signed with UTA for representation in all areas and will continue to be represented by Untitled Entertainment, Das Imperium in Berlin, Adequat in Paris, and ALH PR.

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With Holy Spider, Amir picked up the best actress award at Cannes. She also served as an associate producer and casting director on the pic, which was Denmark’s submission for the Academy Awards. As an actor, she can next be seen in the Cate Blanchett-produced Shayda, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The pic, directed by Noora Niasari, took the audience award in the World Cinema competition at Sundance and has since been chosen as Australia’s submission for the best international feature race at this year’s Oscars. Sony Pictures Classics will release in 2024. Additionally, Amir leads the ensemble cast of Reading Lolita in Tehran, an adaptation of Iranian-American writer Azar Nafisi’s classic memoir directed by Eran Riklis. The pic, which WestEnd launched at this year’s Cannes market, also stars Golshifteh Farahani and Mina Kavani (No Bears).

As a director, Amir made her feature debut with Tatami, co-directing alongside Oscar-winning Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv. The pic, which debuted at Venice, follows a judo athlete and her coach who are forced by the Iranian authorities to withdraw from a match against an Israeli athlete. The film also screened in competition at Tokyo, where Amir won best actress and the pic took the Special Jury Prize. As a producer, Amir has founded ALAMBIC Productions, with a focus on projects based around women’s empowerment and diversity.

Amir’s other 2023 acting credits include The Worst Enemy and Seven Winters in Tehran, both of which debuted at this year’s Berlinale Film Festival. Some of her previous titles are Tehran Taboo, Les Survivants, Bride Price Vs Democracy, Tide, Tomorrow We Are Free, and Waiting.  This year, she also served as the jury president at the Göteborg Film Festival and sat on the competition jury in Locarno. She will do the same at this year’s upcoming Marrakech Film Festival.

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