Film stars, industry leaders and top musicians come together in support of Mayor’s UK premiere screening of The Salesman


Friday 17 February 2017


  • Members of The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians plus special guests will perform after the free screening of Asghar Farhadi’s gripping drama, The Salesman in Trafalgar Square this Sunday (26 February).
  • Film industry figures giving their backing to the event, include actors Dominic West, Keira Knightley, Noomi Rapace, Stephen Mangan, Julie Christie and director Sarah Gavron
  • The screening will be presented by Mariella Frostrup, with speeches from director Mike Leigh, actor Lily Coleand event host Sadiq Khan
  • Amazon Studiosjoins as event partner as part of its commitment to ambitious and award-winning TV and film content in the UK

The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians plus special guests will perform after the free screening of award winning Iranian director A‎sghar Farhadi’s gripping drama, The Salesman, in Trafalgar Square this Sunday (26 February).

The performance by members of The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians is announced as top film directors and actors gave their support to the free screening of the Oscar-nominated film, which will be hosted by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in Trafalgar Square, supported by Amazon Studios.

Leading actors Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Stephen Mangan, Julie Christie and Noomi Rapace and award-winning director Mike Leigh are among the film industry figures supporting the screening, which will coincide with the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood and will celebrate London’s success as a creative hub and a global beacon for openness and diversity.

The Mayor is organising the screening, with the support of Amazon Studios and Curzon Artificial Eye, along with actor Lily Cole, producer Kate Wilson, and film-maker Mark Donne, to coincide with the Oscars to celebrate the capital’s success as a creative hub and a global beacon for openness and diversity. Since the start of his Mayoralty, Sadiq Khan has led Londoners from across the worlds of film, dance, theatre, music, art, sport and retail to say loud and clear that, after the EU referendum, London is open to the world.

People from across the capital are encouraged to arrive early, wrap up and be amongst the first in the country to see The Salesman, alongside a programme of readings and speeches given by high-profile actors and directors, including multi award-winning director Mike Leigh. The event will be presented by Mariella Frostrup.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “What better way to bring this celebration of creativity and diversity to an end than to have this amazing ensemble of musicians perform for a packed Trafalgar Square – sending out the message loud and clear that London is open to all people and all communities. A city where we don’t just tolerate our differences, we respect and embrace them.

“On the night of the Oscars, I’m so excited we’re able to host the UK premiere of The Salesman and welcome people from across London and beyond to share in this celebration of in the heart of the capital. “‎

Director of The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, said: “Despite our different religions, nationalities and cultures, we are all citizens of the world and I will endeavor to spread and protect this unity. I am proud to be a member of this global family and believe in the strength and power of this movement. I’m sorry I won’t be able to be there with you, but I will be there in spirit. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Messages of support from film industry:

Actor, Dominic West, said: “I’m proud to stand with Asghar Farhadi and all of those impacted by the morass of Mr Trump’s travel ban at this time. I live in London – a city defined by diversity and openness. Trafalgar Square as a vast, free and open cinema on Oscars night is the perfect expression of all we value.”

Actor, Keira Knightley, said: “All art is an attempt to understand the human condition. At a time when largely racist and nationalistic rhetoric is becoming political policy – this event is a celebration of our diversity and a reminder of our shared humanity.”

Actor, Stephen Mangan, said: “London’s diversity, inclusiveness and openness make it one of the most exciting and creative places to work on Earth. I applaud this event and the Mayor’s message that ‘London is Open’. And I can’t wait to see the film.”

Actor, Noomi Rapace, said: “In times like this, when hate, fear and walls rise… Our art form is more important than ever. #We all bleed the same colour #Love #Respect”

Director, Sarah Gavron, said:  “Filmmaking is about the expression of ideas and diverse visions. This screening celebrates that and counters the message of prejudice and division.”

Award-winning director, Mike Leigh, said: “It is to the Mayor of London’s tremendous credit that he is hosting this special premiere screening of ‘The Salesman’ in Trafalgar Square. My friend Asghar Farhadi, whom I have known since we served together on the Jury of the 2012 Berlin Film Festival, is one of the world’s greatest film makers.  For those of us who make movies about real life, real people and real issues, he is the master – a true inspiration to all of us. ‘The Salesman’ is compelling, moving and entertaining, and I urge everybody in our capital to come and enjoy it in Trafalgar Square. We must show solidarity with Asghar and his principles, and against divisiveness and hate“.

Actor, Lily Cole, said: “Having grown up in London I have always loved the multiculturalism and openness of this city. I am very heartened that the Mayor of London – and our film community – have stepped up to celebrate that openness and diversity at such a critical political moment. It’s an important and positive signal to send. I look forward to watching Asghar’s film and hope you will join us!”

CEO of Curzon, Philip Knatchbull, said: “Asghar Farhadi is a filmmaker of great intelligence whose work can only enrich the lives of audiences around the world. To be able celebrate his latest film The Salesman in this manner is a real privilege. Curzon is committed to filmakers from across the world who have outward looking and inclusive voices and to find common cause in that aim with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is tremendous. I would like to personally thank Mark Donne, Kate Wilson and Lily Cole for having the imagination to initiate this idea and the tenacity to see it through.”

Filmmaker, Mark Donne, said: “Recent protests here & globally show what we as civilian populations are opposed to: in a sense, what we are not. This event is different in that it shows the opposite: it expresses what we are. Open, pluralistic, tolerant & creative.”

The Salesman, directed by Asghar Farhadi, stars Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti in the lead roles of Emad and Rana. This critically-acclaimed film won Best Screenplay at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival with Shahab Hosseini winning Best Actor. It has been nominated in the Best Foreign Film category in the 89th Academy Awards, which take place from midnight (GMT) on Sunday 26 February.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has previously announced his decision not to attend the main Oscars ceremony in Hollywood, regardless of whether he was offered special dispensation to attend by the US Government, in solidarity with those affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries (including Iran) from entering the USA.

The screening of The Salesman will begin at 4.30pm and will end at 6.35pm. Certificate: (12A)

For those unable to make it to Trafalgar Square, distributor Curzon Artificial Eye will be organising screenings of The Salesman across the country on the 26th February. For more information,

The Salesman will be on general theatrical release from 17th March 2017 and will be available for Amazon Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at at no additional cost to their membership later this year. Prime members will also be able to download the film to mobile devices for offline viewing.

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