Director : Arsalan Amiri

First Feature

1978, in a small village called Zalava, villagers claim that a demon is among them. A young sergeant who investigates this claim encounters an exorcist attempting to evict the demon from the village. He arrests the exorcist on charges of fraud but suddenly finds himself stuck in a cursed house with his lover. The villagers who believe they are both possessed by the demon, decide to shoot them.


Director: Arsalan Amiri

Producers: Rouhollah Baradari- Samira Baradari

Co-Producer: Ruth Yoshie Linton

Associate Producer:Mehdi Badrlou

Director Advisor: Ida Panahandeh

Writers:Ida Panahandeh-Arsalan Amiri-Tahmineh Bahram

Screenplay Plot: Arsalan Amiri-Houman Fazel

Director of Photography:Mohammad Rasouli

Sound Recording: Rashid Daneshmand

Sound Mixer: Amir Hossein Ghasemi

First Assistant Director:Ali Mardaneh

First Assistant DOP:Ahmad Kavousi

Production Manager:Amir Eskandari

Art Director: Mohammad Reza Shojaie

Set and Costume Designer: M. Hossein Karami

Make-Up Artist: Abbas Abbasi

Photographer: Mohammad Badrlou 

Unit Publicist: Aida Orang

Graphic: Samira Amiri

Music: Ramin Kousha

Edit: Emad Khodabakhsh

Poster Designer: Mohammad Hosein Houshmandi 

Credit Designer: M. Amin Toroghi 

English Translator: Sanam Kalantari

Subtitles: Reza Tariverdi




Navid Pourfaraj 

Pouria Rahimi Sam 

Hoda Zeinolabedin 

Baset Rezaei 

Shaho Rostami 

Fereydoun Hamedi 






Arsalan Amiri, born in 1975 in Iranian Kurdistan, studied filmmaking at the Iranian Youth Cinema Society in Sanandaj-Kurdistan in 1995. He then obtained his BA in Film Directing from Tehran Art University, and his MA in Dramatic Literature from the University of Tehran. He started his filming career by directing, producing, and editing documentary films. Amiri worked as a screenwriter and editor for a number of TV Movies for Iran's National Broadcasting Corporation (IRIB). These include The The Story of Davood and the Dove (2011), a film produced by Kianoush Ayari and directed by Ida Panahandeh. Amiri's first feature film working as both co-screenwriter and editor was Nahid (2015), a film directed by Ida Panahandeh that was nominated for best screenplay in Iran's Fajr International Film Festival (FIFF). Nahid was also screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded with the Prix de l'avenir. Villa Dwellers (2017), directed by Munir Gheidi, was his second movie as a screenwriter, which earned him a nomination for best screenplay in 2017's Fajr Film Festival. This was followed by Israfil (2017), his third film working as co-screenwriter, which was directed by Ida Panahandeh and screened in the BFI London Film Festival in the same year. Later on, He worked again with Ida Panahandeh as a co-screenwriter and editor in The Nikaidos' Fall (2018), which filmed in Japan. His cooperation with Ida Panahandeh continued in Titi (2020), which was screened in the 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival. Amiri made his directorial debut in Zalava  (2021), a film that was shot during the Corona Pandemic in a village near Sanandaj-Kurdistan. Zalava  garnered nominations in 10 sections in Fajr Film Festival in 2021, and won Best First Feature Director, Best Script, Best Supporting Actor, and special mention for its photography.



Zalava is my first feature film. My goal was to make a film that represents me; a portrayal of my childhood, my region, and overall lived experience as an Iranian Kurdish minority. Someone who was born from parents with two different Islamic denominations: Sunni and Shiite. I remember my grandfathers who were poles apart. One was a simple religious man who believed in the world after death, and the other was a materialist epicurean who was satisfied with earthly treasures. When my religious grandfather told me about Jinn (genie) for the first time, my dilemma began. 

As a little boy, I questioned the existence of this supernatural invisible creature made from fire, but did not have the courage to speak up about it. Eventually, I forced myself to believe, because I did not want to be punished by genies in the middle of the night. I outgrew these stories and my fears. Years later, as I searched for a unique story for my first feature film, my dad shared a story about one of my ancestors who enslaved a genie by attaching a pin to his clothes! It was pure magical realism and surprisingly my father believed it. At that moment, I knew I found my film. With a theme of "belief" that would not let me go from childhood until now. The moment I understood we are nothing but what we believe, or what we choose to believe. Meanwhile, we must sometimes look back at our values - to let doubt and uncertainty judge our rigid ideas. This way can lead us to a better life, or maybe a tragedy! And tragedy is awareness.    




  • Hybird /
  • Colour /
  • 93 min /
  • Iran


  • 13th “London Kurdish” Film Festival/ London/ 2022
  • 36th “Venice Critics' Week” Film Festival/ Italy/ 2021
  • 46th “Toronto” International Film Festival/ Canada/ 2021/ ”Midnight Madness Section”
  • 45th “SAO PAULO” International Film Festival/ Brazil/ 2021
  • 8th “Duhok” International Film Festival/ Iraq/ 2021
  • 30th “Philadelphia” International Film Festival/ Pennsylvania/ 2021
  • 18th “Hong Kong” Intenational Film Festival/ China/ 2021
  • 78th “Venice” International Film Festival/ Italy/ 2021
  • 18th “Fantastic Fest” International Film Festival/ ”Next Wave Section”/ Texas/ 2021
  • 39th “Fadjr” International Film Festival/ Tehran/ Iran/ 2021


· Winner of “Best First Director”, “Best Screenplay”, “ Best Actor Award by Poorya RahimiSam” and “Diploma of The Best Cinematography” at the 39th “Fadjr” International Film Festival/ Tehran/ Iran/ 2021

· Winner of “ Grand Prize” of  the 36th Venice Film Critics’ Week/ Italy/ 2021

· Winner of “Fipresci  of The Best Film Award” at the 78th Venice International Film Festival/ Italy/ 2021

· Winner of “ Best Film Award” at the 18th Fantastic Fest International Film Festival/ Next Wave Section/ Texas/ 2021

· Winner of “ Best Actor” at the 13th “London Kurdish” Film Festival/ London/ 2022