Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In its second Sundance deal today, Participant Media has acquired North American rights to Circumstance, a tale of forbidden love in Iran, written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz. Deal is worth mid to high six figures. The picture, which premiered Saturday, is Farsi language with English subtitles.

Participant Media president Ricky Strauss sealed the deal and is now in talks with several distributors on a film that was produced by Keshavarz, Karin Chien and Melissa M. Lee, with Christina Won exec producing. A wealthy Iranian family struggles to contain a teen’s growing sexual rebellion and her brother’s dangerous obsession. Deadline readers might recall Keshavarz was one of the first filmmakers to speak out against the imprisonment of Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Muhammad Rasoulof when they were issued draconian 6-year prison sentences and banned from making films for two decades by the oppressive regime there. Keshavarz told me at the time that she had to shoot in Lebanon, because she feared her film’s provocative subject matter would put its crew in danger.

“This remarkable debut from an exciting new film making talent, Maryam Keshavarz, gives us the perfect vehicle to begin expanding our international outreach with foreign language storytelling,” Participant’s Strauss said in a statement.

Participant Media teamed with Magnolia Pictures earlier today to acquire Page One, the documentary about The New York Times. Strauss, Jeff Ivers and Jonathan King repped Participant, and the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group repped the filmmakers.

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