Stoning of Soraya M., The (2009): Tale of Heroic Iranian, Played by Oscar Nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo

Roadside Attractions and MPower Pictures  release THE STONING OF SORAYA M. Friday, June 26 in New York, Los Angeles and other key markets, with a national roll out to follow.

In a world of corruption and injustice, a single courageous voice can tell a story that changes everything. This is what lies at the heart of the emotionally charged THE STONING OF SORAYA M.  Based on an incredible true story, this powerful tale of a village’s persecution of an innocent woman becomes both a daring act of witness and a compelling parable about how people react when someone in their community is turned into a scapegoat: who will join forces with the plot, who will surrender to the mob, and who will dare to stand up for what’s right. At once a classic fable of good vs. evil, THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is an inspiring tribute to courageous women fighting against violence all around the world.

The film was chosen as the runner-up for the Audience Choice Award at the Toronto 2008 Film Festival, behind SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

THE STONING OF SORAYA M. stars Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG) as Zahra, a heroic Iranian woman who boldly seeks out Freidoune (Jim Caviezel, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, DÉJÀ VU), a journalist temporarily stranded in her remote village when his car breaks down.

She tells him the harrowing tale of her niece, Soraya (Mozhan Marnò, TRAITOR, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR) and the terrible incidents that transpired in the village, in the hope that he will share it with the outside world. Soraya endured an abusive marriage to Ali (Navid Negahban), who repaid her loyalty by asking for a divorce so he could marry a fourteen-year-old girl. Soraya refused, fearing that she and her children would be forgotten and starve. Too poor to return Soraya’s dowry, as is the custom in Islamic divorce, Ali plotted with the village’s mullah (Ali Pourtash) to accuse Soraya of adultery, which carries an unimaginable penalty under Shariah law. Moving through a minefield of deceit, Soraya and Zahra will attempt to prove Soraya’s innocence in a legal system stacked against her. But when all else fails, Zahra will risk everything to use the sole weapon she has left – the fearless, passionate voice that must share Soraya’s story with the world.

THE STONING OF SORAYA M. is inspired by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam’s acclaimed international best-seller of the same name which first brought global attention to the real Soraya, who in 1986 was stoned to death by her fellow villagers, in the presence of her children. The film is directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh from a screenplay by Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh and Cyrus Nowrasteh.