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Aberdeen duo on Oscar trail after Utopia nomination

Aberdeen duo on Oscar trail after Utopia nomination

Chris Robb and Hassan Nazer aren't your normal filmmakers.

The Aberdeen duo may be used to operating on a small budget but they have grand ambitions for their movies.

It's an attitude which has paid off with the news that the pair's Utopia, which was shot as far afield as Aberdeen and Afghanistan has just been chosen to represent the latter country in the 2016 Academy Awards.

The news has both shocked and delighted Chris, whose Tripswitch Productions has become renowned for interweaving innovative scripts with eclectic casting.

If Utopia progresses to the final stage of the foreign language film category, they will join the industry's high rollers in Holywood next February.

Utopia (ARMANSHAHR) OFFICIAL TRAILER from Worldfilm Production on Vimeo.

Chris Robb says he is thrilled at this latest recognition for the film, which premiered at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

He said: "We both love films and when you have a micro budget, you have to be inventive and enter into collaborations.

"We looked at filming parts of Utopia at Aberdeen University and we eventually gained permission to do so at The Suttie Centre.

"As somebody who is based in Crathes, it's always good when you can showcase Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire around the world.

“I am absolutely delighted for our film to be the Afghan nomination at the Oscars.

“It's great to gain this sort of accolade and although we know we are on a big stage now, this is the sort of thing you dream about."

The film stars the highly-regarded Iranian actor Homayoun Ershadi, who featured prominently in The Kite Runner, Zero Dark Thirty and A Most Wanted Man, the latter of which was Phillip Seymour Hoffman's last film.

It also features the former S Club 7 star Hannah Spearritt, Bollywood star Arun Bali and Bhasker Patel from Emmerdale.

Chris admits he was not even thinking about "Utopia" gaining any plaudits a week ago.

He said: “I was quite surprised when I found out, as the film was not even the favourite to win the Afghan nomination.”

  (Roger Murmann)
via STV via STV

The movie will go through another nomination process later this year, which will further whittle down the candidates.

But, for the moment, Chris and Hassan are able to contemplate the prospect of a date with Oscar on February 28.

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