Riz Ahmed will be honored by the Locarno Film Festival where the latest short in which the British actor appears – titled “Dammi” and directed by French auteur Yann Mounir Demange – will world premiere.
Ahmed, who earned an Oscar nomination for best actor in 2021 for his performance as a drummer who suddenly goes deaf in Amazon’s “Sound of Metal,” will be feted by the Swiss fest dedicated to indie filmmaking cinema with with its 2021 Excellence Award Davide Campari, which pays tribute to film personalities who have left their personal stamp on contemporary cinema.
“Dammi,” which was teased at Cannes, is an experimental work, broadly on the theme of immigration and identity, produced by French fashion brand AMI, founded by Alexandre Mattiussi, and also starring Isabelle Adjani, Souheila Yacoub, Sandor Funtek and Suzy Bemba. The buzzed-about short will screen at Locarno’s 8,000-seat Piazza Grande, on opening night, Aug. 2, during the ceremony at which Ahmed will receive the award.
Ahmed emerged on the indie scene in films such as Michael Winterbottom’s “The Road to Guantanamo,” Christopher Morris’s “Four Lions,” and Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.” His mainstream breakouts comprise hits such as Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and Ruben Fleischer’s “Venom.”
In a statement Locarno noted that, besides acting, Ahmed – who was born in London into a British-Pakistani family – has also followed a parallel career in music, “making rap another medium for his personal message.”
The twofold aspect of Riz Ahmed’s talent is reflected in the two works chosen by the actor/rapper/writer to accompany his Locarno tribute. One is a movie Ahmed also produced and co-wrote: “Mughal Mowgli” (“Mogul Mowgli”) directed in 2020 by Bassam Tariq, that will screen at the fest on Aug. 3. The other is the short “The Long Goodbye” which Ahmed subsequently co-wrote, produced and starred in, directed in 2021 by Aneil Karia, which accompanied his studio album of the same name. Ahmed and Karia went on to win the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2022 for “Long Goodbye.”
“Ahmed is a brilliant and versatile talent in cinema today,” said Locarno artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro, in a statement. “Chameleon-like, he can move from blockbuster to auteur movies, equally at ease on stage or TV, rapping with a mike or intervening as executive producer,” he added.
“Already with one Academy Award under his belt, not to mention a pile of other prizes, he is the embodiment of a kind of cinema that is becoming better, more receptive, finally able to listen to new voices. Riz Ahmed is the face of a future finally becoming possible,” Nazzaro went on to note.
Ahmed joins other previously announced top talents being honored by Locarno this year, including Harmony Korine, Pietro Scalia and Tsai Ming-liang.
The 76th edition of Locarno will run Aug. 2-12
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