Released in the UK on 23 September, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to rave reviews, with the streaming rights snapped up by Netflix. The Guardian called the film “This year’s unarguable horror standout” and “the feminist horror film that scared Sundance silly”, while Variety hailed it “among this year’s most buzzed about indie at Sundance.”
The film was a Westminster alumni collaboration, with Babak as director, Kit Fraser as Director of Photography, and Patrick Fischer as Executive Producer, also Film and Television Production BA graduates. They met at University of Westminster as students and have been working together ever since.
Under the Shadow is set in Tehran in 1988, in the last years of the Iran-Iraq War. When a missile lodges into an apartment block, a supernatural entity is released, and a psychological horror story begins to unfold as a mother and her young daughter begin to be terrorised by the demon.
Babak said: “I am honoured that BAFTA have selected our film Under the Shadow for the Oscar's foreign language category. We will be proud to represent the UK in that category, if the film gets nominated. This is the first step, but even coming this far is a great achievement for us. And knowing that we have the backing of BAFTA and the UK film industry is incredibly encouraging and heart-warming.”
If Under the Shadow is shortlisted, it will be revealed when the Oscar nominations are announced on 24 January 2017.