Mayor and top film directors to host UK premiere of The Salesman

14 February 2017

·         Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, directed by award-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, will be screened in Trafalgar Square on the same day as the 89th Academy Awards Ceremony

·         This free event celebrates the capital’s diversity and demonstrates that London is open to creative talent as well as people from all countries and all communities

On Sunday 26 February, Trafalgar Square will be transformed into London’s biggest cinema for a free screening of Asghar Farhadi’s gripping drama, The Salesman. The screening – just hours before the Oscars are handed out at the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood - will mark the UK premiere. Before the screening, stars of London’s film industry will address an audience of up to 10,000 people in Trafalgar Square.

The Mayor is organising the screening, along with actress 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, retail and even the animal kingdom to say loud and clear that, post-EU referendum, London is open to the world. 

People from across the capital are encouraged to arrive early, wrap up and enjoy The Salesman, alongside a programme of readings and speeches given by high-profile actors and directors, including multi award-winning director Mike Leigh.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “On the night of the Oscars, it’s absolutely fantastic to be able to screen the UK premiere of The Salesman in Trafalgar Square. I’m delighted to welcome people from across the capital and beyond to share in this celebration of London as an international hub of creativity and as a beacon of diversity.

“Londoners have always prided themselves on their openness to the world, and what better way to do that than to come together to watch this powerful film in one of the world’s most famous public spaces.”

Director of The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi, said: “Screening The Salesman in Trafalgar Square has a great symbolic value for me. The gathering of the audience around The Salesman in this famous London square is a symbol of unity against the division and separation of people. I offer my warmest thanks to the Mayor of London and the cinema community for this generous initiative. I welcome and appreciate this invaluable show of solidarity.”

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 and Model, 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."

Film-maker and writer, Mark Donne, said: “When I first had the idea for the screening, it was as a film-maker, a Londoner & an individual who cherishes living in an incredibly diverse, open community. To have this event hosted by the Mayor of a city that’s globally synonymous with all of those things is pretty amazing. Asghar Farhadi is an incredible story-teller. I hope his work showing in this city, at this moment, sends a tremendous international signal of unity & tolerance"

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, visit:


Notes to editors

Listings Information

The Salesman

Certificate: (12A)

Free – first come, first served. Arrive early to grab a spot.

Trafalgar Square, London.

Doors open at 3pm. Speeches from 4.00pm. Screening from 4.30pm (2hrs 5mins)

Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) returns with The Salesman, a characteristically taut drama exploring how unexpected cracks can form in the foundations of a seemingly happy marriage. The future looks promising for amateur actors Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) as they prepare for opening night on their production of Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’. However, when dangerous work on a neighbouring building forces the couple to leave their home and move into a new apartment, a case of mistaken identity sees a shocking and violent incident throw their lives into turmoil. What follows is a series of wrong turns that threaten to destroy their relationship irreparably. Winner of the Best Screenplay and Best Actor awards at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, Farhadi’s study on the potent power of pride, guilt and shame treads the line between arresting drama and revenge thriller with masterful ease.

UK trailer:

Further information (including images to download):


This is likely to be a very popular event, so please ensure you apply for accreditation by visiting

Journalists without accreditation will not be given entry to the event.

Accreditation is open from today and will close on 23 February, 5pm.


#LondonIsOpen will show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome, and that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated. The Mayor is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media, through other creative ways. The starting idea for the campaign is built around London opening its doors to welcome people in, and will encourage people to use this as a platform for their own contributions. A film of famous locations opening their doors has been produced

#LondonisOpen – City of Film

Click here to view the film:

Actors, directors and producers of British film joined forces last year to publicly show their support for London’s thriving film industry and to tell the world London is Open to creativity and talent from around the world. Leading figures including Gemma Arterton, Richard Curtis, Louis Theroux, Amma Asante, Cressida Bonas, Harry Enfield, Dominic Cooper and Jack Whitehall appeared in a short film bringing to life the diversity and vibrancy of the London Film scene.

The film, created for the Mayor of London’s #LondonIsOpen campaign, was unveiled by Sadiq Khan at the London Film Festival’s Mayor’s Gala, ‘The European Premiere of Their Finest’.

Supported by the British Film Institute and Film London, it was released to highlight London’s role as the global centre for creative industries and the driving force in film production.

A transcript of the film and a list of who delivered the lines is listed below:

London! (Gemma Arterton)

London! (Noel Clarke)

London! (Cressida Bonas)

London! (Dominic Cooper)

You sound like you’re from London! (Harry Enfield)

Yes, London! You know, fish and chips, cup o’tea, good food, bad weather, Mary Poppins. (Gemma Arterton)

In London everyone is different and that means anyone can fit in. (Richard Curtis)

I like the spirit of this great London, which I feel around me. (Amma Asante)

It is a roost for every bird. (Gurinder Chadha)

Because it is not the walls that make the city, but the people who live within them. (Sadiq Khan)

And the London Underground is not a political movement. I looked it up. (Louis Theroux)

I will take you to foggy London town, because you are my little gentleman. (Cressida Bonas).

There's things half in shadow and halfway in light, on the rooftops of London. Coo, what a sight! (Noel Clarke)

And when a man, or woman, is tired of London (Stephen Woolley)

Then they are tired of life. (Jack Whitehall)