Oscar Winner Asgar Farhadi indicted for plagiarism

Asgar Farhadi has won the Academy Award not once but twice in his lifetime, both for Best Foreign Language Film. The director received his first Oscar in 2011 for the Iranian film ‘A Separation’ and the second one in 2016 for the Iranian movie, ‘The Salesman’.

Recently the Iranian filmmaker made headline when reports of him being accused of plagiarism surfaced online.

A plagiarism case was filed against him by Azaedeh Masihzadeh, a former student of his, who alleged that Asgar Farhadi stole the premise of his movie ‘A Hero’, from her earlier documentary ‘All Winners All Losers.

As per latest reports, a court in Tehran has found evidence which proves that Farhadi violated Ms. Masihzadeh’s copyright for her documentary. The court also found evidence that Farhadi plagiarised certain elements for his movie ‘A Hero’ without offering due credit to Masihzadeh for the same.

Farhadi has since been indicted on charges of plagiarism and this case will now be passed on to a second judge, and his ruling can be challenged later in an appellate court. The Judge can also order for the case to be re-examined.

Farhadi’s lawyer Kaveh Rad took to his Instagram on Tuesday, April 5, and stated that the investigator of the case had denied Masihzadeh’s complaint where she demanded a share of the revenues of ‘A Hero’, in case Farhadi is adjudged guilty.

The lawyer also added that the first judge’s ruling should only be “considered part of the trial process” and it is by no means the final verdict on the matter.

The co-producer of ‘A Hero’, Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Productions said in a statement that he was confident the final verdict will be in Farhadi’s favour.

The producer said that the prisoner’s story she claims was her discovery was already published in newspapers and was in the public domain before she made her documentary.

Masizadeh disputes this claim and says that she researched Mr. Shokri’s story on her own and the reports of his story were only in local news and not known nationwide.

The Producer further argues that story of the former prisoner finding gold on the street and returning it to the rightful owner is only the starting point of ‘A Hero’, with the rest of the story plot being completely created by Asgar Farhadi.

‘A Hero’ premiered in the Cannes Film Festival and won the grand jury prize. The movie earned $2.5 million when it released in theatres and currently Amazon Prime holds the streaming rights of the movie in the US.

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