“Sun Children” star Ruhollah Zamani misses Venice festival over coronavirus 

September 5, 2020 - 18:41

TEHRAN – Director Majid Majidi announced Friday that Ruhollah Zamani, the star his child labor drama “Sun Children”, has missed the 77th Venice Film Festival due to his positive test for COVID-19.

Zamani’s co-star, Shamila Shirzad, Majidi and a number of crew members left Tehran for Venice to promote the film, which is competing in the official section of the festival now underway on the Italian Lido.

Zamani portrays Ali, a 12-year-old boy and his three friends who work hard together to survive and support their families. They do small jobs in a garage and commit petty crimes to make fast money. Everything changes, however, when Ali is entrusted to find a hidden treasure underground but must first enroll at the Sun (Khorshid) School, a charitable institution that tries to educate street kids and child laborers.

Zamani, Shirzad and some other teenage members of the cast were selected through auditions Majidi held among the children making a living from peddling in the Tehran metro.  
Celluloid Dreams, a major French film production and distribution company, is handling international sales. “Sun Children” premiered during February in Tehran at the 38th edition of the Fajr Film Festival, which honored it with the Crystal Simorgh for best film.

Co-written by Majidi and Nima Javidi, the film also won the award for best screenplay.

“I hope people and officials help solve the problem of child labor, and that we would not see child workers anywhere in our cities,” Majid said after accepting his award during the closing ceremony of the event.

His “Children of Heaven” received a nomination at the Oscars in 1998, but it failed to win an award.

The 77th Venice Film Festival opened last Tuesday and will run until September 12.

Iranian director Shahram Mokri’s latest drama “Careless Crime” is also competing in Orizzonti, a section dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema.

Photo: Ruhollah Zamani, the star of director Majid Majidi’s child labor drama “Sun Children”, attends a press conference during the 38th Fajr Film Festival at Mellat Cineplex on February 10, 2020. (Mehr/Majid Asgaripur)